Tutorial: Final Cut Pro X for Final Cut 7 users

Tutorial: Final Cut Pro X for Final Cut 7 users

Are you one of those stubborn editors still sticking to Final Cut 7? In this article I'll show you how you can edit in FCPX just like you were used to in FCP7. A FCPX quickstart for Final Cut 7 users.

Okay, so Final Cut Pro X got a lot of critique when it was first released: people claimed it was not a worthy successor to Final Cut 7, and that the name "iMovie Pro" would better suit its capabilities. A few years on, FCPX has made giant strives and is actually a much more advanced editing system than Final Cut 7 ever was.

Reasons to switch to FCPX

Let's start off by summing up a few reasons why you'd want to switch. Most reasons are very personal, so here's a few of mine:

Bottom line: FCPX saves huge amounts of time: I can start editing the moment I insert my card, I never have to wait while it renders, I can do my grading and audio-fixes all in Final Cut, and export/convert to a number of formats right from within Final Cut.

Step 1: getting your footage into FCPX

Before we start, let's take a look at how FCPX organises footage. FCPX is centered around "Events". When you've shot something, you first create a new event:

File > New > Event

That event will be stored in your library and will appear in the "Libraries"-column on the left.

The event also contains your first empty project. A project is your editing timeline ("sequence" in final Cut 7).

An event ("Boomhut") which contains your project/timeline ("Boomhut BMCC") and Clips

Most editors like to organize their footage in their own folder-structure, and for their editing system to leave that structure intact. With FCPX you can easily do that. Just organize your footage the way you want in the Finder, and just drag the folders onto your event in FCPX. Voilá, with our footage added to the event, we're ready to start editing.




is the top-level of organisation in FCPX. It contains


, which in turn contain your footage from a particular shoot. Events also contain your timelines, or


as they are called in FCPX. Within each event, you can also organize footage into subfolders.

Step 2: disable magnetic timeline

The second step in giving you back that old familiar FCP7 feeling is disabling the Magnetic Timeline, so you can place clips freely, exactly where you want them to be. It's easy:

Just press "p"

Drag a clip onto the timeline ("Project", at the bottom of your window), and place it anywhere you want. See? It can be done! What you actually just did, is change your editing tool from the select tool (which makes your clips stick together 'elasticly') to the position tool (which allows you to freely place clips anywhere).

Another useful shortcut for editing is "b" for the blade tool (allows you to make cuts). You can find all available editing tools and their shortcuts under the tools button (see image).

The tools button contains all familiar editing tools

The above shows you the basics of getting your footage into Final Cut Pro X, organizing your footage, and doing a basic edit. Apart from the naming of certain parts, not much of a difference from FCP7, is there? In the next part of this series I'll dive into editing some more.

If you have any questions or remarks, feel free to leave a comment!

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