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Building a Rough Cut in Final Cut Pro X

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In this lesson you’ll build a rough cut using the source media you’ve imported. To begin, you will create a new project, and mark clips you’ve placed in Keyword Collections. Then, you’ll choose your Favorite clips and edit them into the project to create a primary storyline.

Please note that the lesson files that accompany this book are not available with this sample chapter. They are made available upon the purchase of the book.

This chapter is from the book
  • Time
  • This lesson takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.
  • Goals
  • Work with projects
  • Screen and mark clips
  • Use the append edit option
  • Arrange clips in the Timeline
  • Work with the Magnetic Timeline
  • Insert clips
  • Use drag-and-drop editing
  • Make changes to project clips
  • Connect clips to the primary storyline

Having imported your media and organized your Events, you are now ready to move into one of the most exciting parts of the editing workflow: building and crafting your story. Why “building” and not “telling?” Because a story needs a foundation, a primary thread—let’s call it a storyline—that will take you from beginning to end.

Once you craft the primary foundation or storyline, you can refine it by rearranging some clips and trimming others. You may want to add complementary B-roll visuals to create a secondary storyline, or enhance the story by adding music or narration. This is the real work of an editor, and represents the tasks you will encounter in this very important part of the editing workflow, and in this section of this book.

In this lesson you’ll build a rough cut using the source media from the Events. To begin, you will create a new project, and mark clips you’ve placed in Keyword Collections. Then, you’ll choose your Favorite clips and edit them into the project to create a primary storyline. Remember, it’s a rough cut. It will require trimming, adjusting, and finessing, but all of that will be done in due time.

Creating a New Project

Every story you tell using Final Cut Pro is contained within a project. Projects are created and cataloged in the Project Library. Here you can neatly organize and store your projects until you are ready to refine them or share them with the world.

In this exercise, you will create a new project in the Project Library for the Zero to Hero story.

  1. If the Project Library is not in view, click the Project Library button in the lower-left corner of the Timeline, or press Command-0 (zero).

    When the Project Library is active, you’ll see your internal hard disk along with any external drives connected to your computer. Any projects stored on a volume will appear under that volume’s icon.

  2. To reveal the projects on the APTS FCP X disk, click its disclosure triangle. To reveal the contents of the Lesson Projects folder, click its disclosure triangle.

    The Lesson Projects folder was copied from the DVD and contains project files that you will use throughout the book. One folder has been created for each lesson.


    You’ll create a new project for this lesson inside the Lesson 4 folder using the Zero to Hero Event on APTS FCP X.

  3. In the Event Library, select the Zero to Hero Event under APTS FCP X. In the Project Library, select the Lesson 4 folder, and click the New Project (+) button.

    A project dialog appears asking you to name the new project and the default Event that contains your source media.

  4. In the Name field, enter Zero to Hero. From the Default Event pop-up menu, choose the first Zero to Hero Event listed.

    In the Default Event pop-up menu, Final Cut Pro will display Events stored in the Final Cut Events folders present on any connected hard disk. The current option displayed in the menu simply reflects the Event that was most recently selected in your Event Library. As you edit, however, you can use clips from multiple Events in your project.

    By using the default settings, you’re allowing Final Cut Pro to create a project using video formats that match the first clip you edit, and audio settings that follow the default audio options.

  5. Click OK.

    When you create a new project, it automatically opens in the Timeline window. Notice that the name of the new project is displayed in the upper left of the window.

    You still have a few more things to organize in the Project Library. For example, to narrow your focus among the many folders, you can bring your Lesson 4 folder front and center, and close the other folders.

  6. To return to the Project Library, press Command-0 (zero). For the purposes of this lesson, drag the Lesson 4 folder onto APTS FCP X to bring it to the top level of that folder’s hierarchy. Then click the disclosure triangle for the Lesson Projects folder to hide the other lesson folders.

    You can have an unlimited number of Final Cut Pro projects, but you can work on only one at a time. Next you’ll get started building the project you just created.

  7. Open the Lesson 4 folder to reveal its contents. To open the Zero to Hero project, double-click its icon. The project opens in the Timeline.
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