Final Cut Pro X

Posted on December 2, 2012


I have been using video as a medium for showing some of my work. Specifically I have made two videos which will very probably form part of my submission for the assessment at level 3. So far I had made the videos using the Export Slideshow facility of Adobe Lightroom. This works very well but has a number of limitations. The key issues are as follows:

  1. The duration of the slides is a fixed interval for each slide and all the transitions must be exactly the same. 
  2. There is very limited capacity to use text in the slideshow. A front slide and a rear slide can be included in the show and a caption included on the slide. Other than these options no flexible use of text is possible.
  3. The media is limited to photographs (this is not a problem at the moment for me but could be in the future).
  4. The output of the video is limited to a small number of output types. These are designed around the most popular formats used on the internet.
  5. Music or sound accompaniment is limited to one song/track. It is not possible to use multiple sound sources.

Given my preference for using video for some of my work I thought it was about time that I found out some more about video. Jesse Alexander pointed me in the direction of Apple’s Final Cut Pro, as being an industry standard for high quality video work.

I have now bought Final Cut Pro X and yesterday spent a day on an introductory course to learn some more about it. It is a large piece of software with lots of capability, more than I will need. The introductory course took place in Hackney in the North East of London and was run by an organisation called Space. The scope of the course covered how to create a new project, assembling the data, using First Cut to organise the data by keywords and smart collections, creating a storyboard of the video production, overlaying music and transitions, adjusting content for colour balance, adjusting sound levels and much more. I just about managed to keep up!! The major advantages of Final Cut Pro X that I think will be of use to me (at this stage) are:

  1. It is easy to adjust the timing of different elements of content. 
  2. Different sound clips can be used and re-used within a video.
  3. Text can be introduced with some flexibility into the video.
  4. Sound levels can be adjusted up/down and tapered in various ways.
  5. Video can be output in just about all formats including the highest levels for professional reproduction.

I plan to re-edit the ‘I am an Ironman’ video using Final Cut Pro. I have already had a go at the Artists at Work video – this was before I attended the course so I may revisit this also. I will certainly examine the sound levels and text. I will also produce master copies of the videos in the highest standard available  Apple ProRes 4444.

The latest version of the Artists at Work video is on Vimeo. I have shown a version of this on the blog previously but here it is again. In this I have sorted out the abrupt ending of the music on earlier versions. Click the photograph below to play the video.

Urban Artists at Work Version 4

Urban Artists at Work Version 4