# Frequently Asked Questions

This page is dedicated to answering the most common questions about Apple's Final Cut Pro.

You can use the Search Tool at the top right of this page to search the FAQ.

# A

# Animations - Overview

Final Cut Pro is a robust tool that allows for a variety of animations, both simple and complex. Here's an overview of the types of animations you can create in Final Cut Pro:

  1. Text and Titles: Final Cut Pro has a comprehensive set of tools for creating animated text and titles. You can animate text to fly in, fade in, spin, and much more, and control exactly when and how these animations happen.
  2. Transitions: You can create animated transitions between clips. This could be as simple as a cross dissolve, or something more complex like a 3D cube spin or page peel.
  3. Keyframe Animations: You can animate virtually any visual aspect of a video clip or effect using keyframes. Keyframes allow you to set specific values for certain parameters (like position, scale, or opacity) at specific points in time. Final Cut Pro then animates the change in these parameters over time.
  4. Effects and Filters: Final Cut Pro includes a variety of effects and filters that can be animated, like blurs, color changes, distortions, and more. see also Effects.
  5. Motion Paths: You can animate objects to move along a specific path over time.
  6. 3D Animations: Although Final Cut Pro doesn't include full 3D modeling tools, it does allow you to create some 3D animations. For example, you can animate 2D images or text in 3D space.
  7. Animations with Motion: If you need more advanced animation capabilities, you can use Apple's Motion software, which integrates seamlessly with Final Cut Pro. Motion allows for more complex animations, including particle systems, replicators, and much more.

Remember, while Final Cut Pro offers a lot of animation capabilities, it's primarily a video editing tool. If you're looking to create more complex animations or motion graphics, you might want to consider using a tool that's specifically designed for animation, like Adobe After Effects or Apple's Motion.

# Audio Editing - Do I need a separate App?

No, you can do complex editing in Final Cut Pro.

Some people have even cut and mixed entire broadcast television shows in Final Cut Pro.

# Audio Levels - How to handle?

You can learn more here.

# B

# Backups - How to be safe?

Backing up your Final Cut Pro project files is crucial to prevent losing your work. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  1. Library Backups: Final Cut Pro automatically creates backups of your libraries. These backups are stored in a folder named Final Cut Backups in your Movies folder. You can adjust how often these backups are made using CommandPost.
  2. Duplicate Libraries: To manually back up your work, you can duplicate your library in Finder and zip it. - as long as you store all Media outside the library.(see below)
  3. External Drive: You can also manually copy the library to an external hard drive or another secure location. Simply drag the library file in Finder to your backup location.
  4. Time Machine: If you're using Apple's Time Machine backup system, make sure that your Final Cut Pro library is in a location that Time Machine backs up. Time Machine backs up your entire computer at regular intervals, so this provides a kind of automatic backup.
  5. Cloud Storage: You can also use a cloud storage service like iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox for backups. Note that video files can be quite large, and you'll need enough storage space in your cloud service to accommodate them.

Remember to keep your backup drives or locations secure and check them regularly to make sure the backups are being performed correctly.

Before you perform any major edits or changes to a project, it's a good idea to create a backup. That way, if something goes wrong, you can go back to the backup version.

Also, keep in mind that Final Cut Pro libraries might only contain references to your media files if you're keeping your media external to the library, so it's important to also back up your media files.

keeping your Media outside the library:

  • go to settings > import > leave files in place. It's mandatory to check this setting from time to time.
  • go to Library Properties > Storage Locations > Modify Settings, then
  • route Media into a folder of your choice. This creates Final Cut Original, ...Optimized, and Proxy Media Folders eventually. Only the ...Original folder shouldn't be deleted in any situation to avoid media-loss.
  • leave Motion Content in Motion templates folder
  • route Cache into a folder of your choice. This folder can be deleted at any time to free up disk-space.
  • leave Backups in Final Cut Backups. That's in Movies/Final Cut Backups. If your Library file is on your desktop: route the Backups folder to external storage.

# C

# Captions & Subtitles

Depending on your workflow, you might require anyone or more of these tools:

  • Caption Burner - Caption Burner is a plugin for Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, After Effects and Motion that lets you burn captions and subtitles into your video.
  • Caption Converter - Caption Converter is an app for macOS that lets you import, export, edit and translate caption and subtitle information in the following formats: iTunes Timed Text (iTT), WebVTT (VTT), SubRip (SRT), SubViewer (SUB), Adobe Encore Script and Adobe Premiere Pro Markers (CSV).
  • Subvert - Subvert expands on Final Cut Pro X's captioning capabilities. It makes editing with captioned footage easy and powerful.

You can learn more on Apple's site.

# Codecs - What codecs are supported?

You can find every supported file format and codec on Apple's site.

# Collaboration - How to share libraries?

If you're looking for the best collaboration workflow, check out PostLab.

You should also read the Workflow section of this site.

# Color Grading - Does it shine?

Yes, Final Cut Pro has very powerful built-in colour grading tools.

There are also lots of great third party colour grading plugins.

You can also send your projects to DaVinci Resolve via FCPXML.

There's even a roundtrip template built into Resolve.

# Could Final Cut Pro run on a Hackintosh?

Yes. There are many users and hobbyist who have built a Hackintosh to run Final Cut Pro.

However, it is not officially supported and future versions of macOS will eventually drop support of Intel.

In productions and mission critical environments, Hackintosh machines are NOT RECOMMENDED.

# E

# Editing with Speed

Improving your editing speed in Final Cut Pro can be accomplished with a combination of technical skills, keyboard shortcuts, and optimizing your workflow. Here are some tips:

  1. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts: Keyboard shortcuts can save a significant amount of time in the editing process. Familiarize yourself with the most commonly used ones, like "i" for setting an in-point, "o" for an out-point, and "space" for play/pause.
  2. Use Proxy Media: When dealing with high-resolution video like 4K or 8K, editing can become sluggish. Use Final Cut Pro's proxy media feature, which allows you to create lower-resolution versions of your footage for smoother editing. When you're done, you can switch back to the full-resolution media for final output.
  3. Organize Your Media: Keep your footage and assets well-organized. Use libraries, events, and keywords to categorize and manage your footage. This will make finding and accessing the clips you need much faster.
  4. Use Presets: If you find yourself often applying the same settings or effects, save them as presets. This can be done for color grading, audio effects, and more.
  5. Optimize Your Hardware: Make sure your computer is up to the task. Keep your software up to date, ensure you have enough free storage space, and consider upgrades to your RAM or GPU if necessary.
  6. Batch Operations: Perform tasks such as transcoding, rendering, and exporting in batches, ideally during downtime, to avoid interrupting your editing flow.
  7. Learn to Use the Magnetic Timeline: The magnetic timeline is one of Final Cut Pro's unique features. It helps maintain synchronization when moving clips around, which can save you time rearranging your timeline.
  8. Color Coding: Use color coding for your clips and timelines. This can help you quickly locate related material or sequences.
  9. Use the Skimming Feature: The skimming feature allows you to quickly review your footage and makes cutting and trimming faster.
  10. Storyboard Your Videos: Before even starting with Final Cut Pro, have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. A storyboard or script can reduce the time spent experimenting with different edits.

Remember that like any skill, speed comes with practice. The more you use Final Cut Pro and become familiar with its features, the faster you will get.

# Effects - Overview

Final Cut Pro comes with a variety of built-in effects that you can apply to your video clips. These include:

  1. Video Effects: There's a broad range of video effects available in Final Cut Pro, including color corrections, distortions, blurs, stylistic effects, and more. Some popular ones include "Vintage" effects for a retro look, "Keying" effects for green screen work, and "Light" effects for flares and glows.
  2. Audio Effects: Final Cut Pro also includes a variety of audio effects. These include EQ filters, noise reduction tools, reverbs, echoes, and more.
  3. Transitions: Transitions are a type of effect that you can place between clips. Final Cut Pro includes various transition effects such as dissolves, wipes, slides, and more complex 3D transitions.
  4. Text and Generators: Final Cut Pro includes several types of text effects and motion graphics generators. These include title effects, credits, lower thirds, backgrounds, and more.
  5. Keying & Compositing: Final Cut Pro includes powerful tools for keying and compositing, which are used to remove backgrounds (such as with green screen footage) or combine multiple layers of video.
  6. Speed & Time effects: With these effects, you can slow down or speed up your clips, create freeze frames, and even reverse your footage.
  7. Color Grading: Final Cut Pro has advanced color grading tools, including color wheels, color curves, hue/saturation curves, and custom LUTs.
  8. Stabilisation & Correction: These effects help fix issues with your footage, such as shaky camera work or lens distortion.
  9. 360° Video Effects: If you're working with 360° video, Final Cut Pro has several effects specifically designed for this format.

Remember that you can further expand Final Cut Pro's capabilities with third-party plugins. These can provide additional effects, transitions, and other capabilities. As with any effect, it's important to use these tools judiciously; while they can enhance your project, overuse can be distracting to the viewer.

# Export - How to share my work?

You can learn more on Apple's site.

# F

# FCPXML - Overview

fcpxml is FCP's propietary file format for sending timelines or even entire libraries to third party apps and plugins. It opens Final Cut to the rest of the world and even to other NLEs, like daVinci Resolve.

Have a look at tools to get an impression what's possible with fcpxml.

Final Cut usually supports the current and the previous version of fcpxml. example: 10.9 and 10.10. You'd be well advised to use the previous version, because it's usually supported by a wider range of Apps.

# File Formats - What file formats are supported?

You can find every supported file format and codec on Apple's site.

# Final Cut Pro vs. Adobe Premiere Pro

Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro are both powerful, professional-grade video editing software, but they have some important differences.

Platform Availability: Final Cut Pro is available only on macOS, while Adobe Premiere Pro is available on both macOS and Windows. This could be a deciding factor if you're not using Apple hardware.

Pricing Model: Final Cut Pro offers a one-time purchase, which can be more affordable in the long run. On the other hand, Adobe Premiere Pro follows a subscription model that can be more flexible and also includes updates as long as the subscription is active, but tends to be more expensive over time.

Performance: Final Cut Pro is known for its performance optimization for Apple hardware, which can make it run more smoothly on Macs. Adobe Premiere Pro can also deliver good performance but may not be as optimized for specific hardware.

Interface and Workflow: Final Cut Pro uses a Magnetic Timeline, which offers a different editing experience by automatically moving clips to avoid gaps and collisions. Premiere Pro uses a more traditional track-based timeline, which can be more intuitive to those coming from other editing software. This aspect largely comes down to personal preference.

Integration with Other Software: Premiere Pro is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, so it integrates very well with other Adobe products like After Effects and Photoshop. Final Cut Pro also has some level of integration with other Apple software like Motion and Compressor, but the Adobe ecosystem is generally more extensive.

Learning Curve: Both programs have a steep learning curve due to their advanced capabilities, but some users find Final Cut Pro to be more user-friendly initially.

Support for Formats and Codecs: Both support a wide range of video formats and codecs, but there may be differences in support for specific formats. For example, you'll need to use a third party solution called BRAW Toolbox to use BRAW files in Final Cut Pro.

Collaboration Features: Adobe Premiere Pro has a feature called "Team Projects" for cloud-based collaboration between editors. You'll need to use a third party solution like PostLab to easily collaborate in Final Cut Pro.

It's important to note that both are professional-grade tools capable of high-level editing and post-production work. The choice between them often comes down to personal preference, specific project requirements, and the hardware/software ecosystem you're already working in. Always try to use the latest information and, if possible, try out both programs before making a decision.

# H

# High Resolutions - Can FCP handle 4K and 8K??

Yes, Apple's Final Cut Pro can handle both 4K and 8K video editing.

Final Cut Pro supports a wide range of formats and resolutions, including 4K and 8K, and it is designed to take advantage of the high-performance CPU and GPU hardware in Mac computers. This makes it a suitable choice for professional video editing, including high-definition formats.

You can find the Final Cut Pro system requirements here.

# How Many Final Cut Pro Users?

Richard Taylor has a great page with all this information here.

# K

# Key Features

Final Cut Pro is a robust video editing software with a wide range of features designed for both amateur and professional video editors. Here are some of its key features:

  1. Magnetic Timeline: This innovative feature allows you to move and trim clips without causing collisions or sync problems.
  2. Clip Connections: Final Cut Pro will automatically attach clips to maintain synchronization until you explicitly move or remove them.
  3. Roles: Unlike traditional track-based NLEs, Final Cut Pro utilises roles which can be assigned to clips in the browser or the timeline, which provides the user with greater flexibility in timeline organization and management.
  4. Multicam Editing: Final Cut Pro allows you to work with multiple camera angles and synchronizes them automatically using audio waveforms.
  5. 360-Degree VR Editing: You can import and edit 360-degree footage, and preview it in real-time with a connected VR headset.
  6. Advanced Color Grading: Final Cut Pro offers professional color grading tools, including color wheels, color curves, hue/saturation curves, and custom LUTs.
  7. HDR Support: Final Cut Pro supports HDR (High Dynamic Range) video, allowing you to work with footage that contains a higher range of brightness levels.
  8. Motion Graphics Templates: Final Cut Pro integrates with Apple's Motion software, letting you create and use dynamic motion graphics templates in your projects.
  9. Audio Editing and Sound Effects: Final Cut Pro offers advanced audio alignment and sound effects capabilities. It supports multi-channel audio editing and surround sound.
  10. Organizational Tools: Final Cut Pro provides powerful organizational tools like keyword tagging, ratings, and smart collections to keep your projects structured and efficient.
  11. Proxy Workflows: The software provides options to transcode high-resolution video to proxy media, smaller, lower-resolution files that speed up editing on less powerful systems.
  12. Effects: Final Cut Pro offers a large library of effects, transitions, and text tools.
  13. Compressor Integration: Final Cut Pro works seamlessly with Compressor, Apple's professional encoding software, allowing for custom output settings and packaging for popular digital platforms.
  14. Third-Party Plugin Support: There is a large ecosystem of third-party plugins that can add new effects, transitions, and workflows to Final Cut Pro.

Remember, the best way to familiarize yourself with these features is to dive in and start using the software. Each project will likely present new opportunities to explore different facets of Final Cut Pro's capabilities.

# Keyboard Shortcuts

You can learn more here.

Alternatively you can stumble directly into Final Cut Pro's Command Editor with COMMAND+K.

It features a very good search field and a complete list of all commands, including small descriptions for every command.

It's a built-in resource to learn more about the capabilities of Final Cut Pro.

# L

# Libraries - How to organise?

Creating and managing libraries in Final Cut Pro is a fundamental part of organizing your editing projects. Here's how to create and manage libraries:

# Creating a Library

  1. Open Final Cut Pro.
  2. Go to the File menu, then choose New > Library (or use the keyboard shortcut Option-Command-N).
  3. A save dialog will appear. Choose where to save the library, then give it a name and click Save.

# Managing Libraries:

After creating a library, it's important to keep it organized. Here's how you can manage libraries:

  1. Creating Events: Inside a library, you can create events, which are like folders for your media files. To create an event, select the library where you want the event, then go to File > New > Event (or use the keyboard shortcut OPTION+N).
  2. Importing Media: You can import media directly into an event. To do this, select the event, then go to File > Import > Media (or use the keyboard shortcut COMMAND+I).
  3. Moving and Copying Events: To move or copy events between libraries, you can simply drag and drop them in the library browser.
  4. Renaming Libraries and Events: To rename a library or event, click on its name in the library browser, then enter the new name.
  5. Deleting Libraries and Events: To delete a library, first make sure it's closed (select it, then go to File > Close Library). Then you can delete it in Finder, like any other file. To delete an event, select it, then press the DELETE key.
  6. Backing Up Libraries: To back up a library, you can simply copy it in Finder to another location, like an external hard drive. You can also use the built-in library backup feature, which automatically saves backups to your Movies folder.

Remember that managing libraries effectively can help you keep your projects organized, and make it easier to find and work with your media files. Each library contains all of the media, edits, and other work associated with a project or a group of projects, so it's important to give them clear, descriptive names that make it easy to tell what they contain.

# M

# Money - How much does it cost?

You can find the latest pricing information on the Mac App Store.

Though Final Cut Pro has everything you need to edit and share your video projects we want to point out that professional workflows may demand additional Plugins and Apps.

We recommend at least:

  • Sync-N-Link - Batch-sync Audio with Video and Metadata
  • X2Pro - AAF Audio deliveries to Pro Tools
  • PostLab - collaboration with other Editors and Assistant Editors

You can learn about these and many others on this site under Tools and Plugins.

# Motion Tracking

Yes, you can do object-based tracking in Final Cut Pro.

You can learn more here.

There's also a great tutorial by Brad West here.

# Multicam Editing

Some say Final Cut Pro has the best Multicam handling in the industry.

You can learn more here.

# P

# Performance - Stay Snappy

What is causing delay and laggy behaviour or even increased freezes?

FCP can lag with timelines longer than 30 minutes. Aside from slow drives, too less RAM or bad media management, it is the sheer amount of clips (Audio and Video) in a timeline that could hit on performance. It's hard to pin-point exactly, but it starts from around 500 assets (clips, titles, effects) in the timline.

Apple Silicon Macs do perform significantly better than Intel Macs. With M1 Pro/Max+ timelines of 40-60 minutes should be no problem.

there are several tricks and workarounds to keep long timelines without lags


RAM should increase with the lengths of your projects. Though it's possible to edit 90 minutes with 16 GB, we would recommend 32-64 GB of RAM with feature-length timelines. This reduces the risk of freezes, when FCP has to suddenly load big Events.

working in reels:

You can segment your timeline into regions of around 20-25 minutes and put them into Compound Clips. Inside the Compounds you drive the edit. "Outside" the Compounds you compose the film. For example you could try out different styles of music. With smart Role-management you can turn on/off different music types, for example. important note: before export, you always have to check the joints between the reels.

stay snappy:

With the aforementioned reels-system you could have even 3-hour-timelines. you also could temporarily put a segment of the edit into a Compound to work faster and break it apart afterwards.

stay snappier:

We are big fans of transcoding beforehand. So every video that goes in is ProRes and any Audio is transcoded to WAV. There are reports of reliable workflows with (high resolution) h264-.mov on Apple Silicon. But you have to take care that the TC runs within the container for postproduction.

We would also recommend having fast thunderbolt SSD-RAIDs or even enough internal SSD-storage for all your media (4-8 TB). This practically neagtes load-times for waveforms and thumbnails, for example while zooming in or out the TL.

beware the bug

As of June 2023 there's still' a bug, when you have long titles or effects that span over the entire timeline, such as Watermarks, TC-burnin and color adjustments. This can slow down the whole system. Try to avoid those or only apply for export. You can apply them to the "reels"-TL, without limitations.

# Professional Film Editing - Can FCP compete?

Absolutely. Final Cut Pro has been used to cut Hollywood feature films, broadcast television, fast turnaround television, television commericials, and everything in-between.

Check out our Case Studies section and our Cut on Final Cut Pro page for examples.

# S

# Stabilisation

You can learn more on Apple's site.

# System Requirements

You can learn more on Apple's site.

You can also learn about our recommendations on the Workflow page.

# T

# Third-party Plugins - Where to find?

Check out our Plugins and Workflow Extensions for a list of our favourites.

# Trial or Free version available?

Absolutely. There's a free 90 trial for each version that's released.

You can learn more and download on Apple's website.

# Tutorials & Training

You can find lots of great resources on our Training page.

# U

# Upgrade/Update Strategy

You can download the latest version of Final Cut Pro from the Mac App Store.

However, we always recommend creating a ZIP file of your previous Final Cut Pro version before updating, in case there's a bug or issue that requires you to roll back or you want to open older libraries.

Some updates also update the library file to make it compatible with new features.

In this case going back is only possible via FCPXML export. This can be tricky.

Do not update during a critical phase of a project!

# User Interface - How to customize?

Final Cut Pro offers several ways to customize the interface to better suit your workflow. Here are some of the key ways you can customize the interface:

# Workspaces

Final Cut Pro includes a number of pre-defined workspaces, which are layouts of the interface that are tailored to different types of tasks, like color grading, audio editing, and more.

You can switch between these at any time by going to Window > Workspaces. You can also save your own custom workspaces by arranging the interface how you like, then going to Window > Workspaces > Save Workspace As.

# Viewer & Timeline

You can adjust the size of the Viewer and the Timeline by dragging the border between them.

You can also adjust the size of the clips in the timeline by using the Clip Appearance button at the bottom right of the timeline.

# Browser & Inspector

The Browser and Inspector can be shown or hidden depending on your needs.

You can show or hide the Browser by pressing COMMAND+1, and the Inspector by pressing COMMAND+4.

You can also adjust the size of these panels by dragging their borders.

# Secondary Display

If you have a secondary display, you can use it to extend your workspace.

Go to Window > Show in Secondary Display to select what you want to display on the second screen.

Remember, the best layout depends on your specific needs and workflow. Feel free to experiment and find what works best for you.

# V

# VR and 360° - Editing New Dimensions

Final Cut has built-in 360° and VR editing capabilities.

You can learn more on the 360° Video page or on the official support page.

# W

# What is Apple's Final Cut Pro?

Final Cut Pro is a professional video editing software application developed by Apple. It provides non-linear, non-destructive editing of any QuickTime-compatible video format, including DV, HDV, P2 MXF (DVCProHD), XDCAM (via plug-in), 2K, 4K and 5K film formats, and can import projects directly from iMovie for iOS.

Key features of Final Cut Pro include:

  1. Magnetic Timeline: This feature lets you move and trim clips without causing collisions or sync problems, making for a more efficient editing process.
  2. Multicam Support: This allows you to automatically sync up to 64 angles of video and photos to create multicam clips.
  3. 360-Degree VR Editing: You can edit 360-degree footage and see the results in real-time with a VR headset.
  4. Advanced Color Grading: Final Cut Pro offers professional color grading tools to give you precise control over the color settings in your video.
  5. Motion Graphics and Effects: You can create stunning effects and sweeping graphics with Motion, including studio-quality 2D and 3D titles you can open and adjust in Final Cut Pro.
  6. VR Headset Playback: You can view your 360-degree video in real time with a connected VR headset.
  7. Asset Management: Clip Connections allow you to keep related clips together, making it easy to place items such as B-roll, sound effects, and music in the timeline.

Final Cut Pro is available only on macOS and it's sold as a one-time purchase rather than a subscription.

# Windows or Linux?

Final Cut Pro is an Apple designed product, therefore optimized for Mac and iPad.

It's very unlikely that it will ever come to other platforms in the future.

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