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Did you know Final Cut Pro has these features for even easier video editing?

By Cheryl Tan - 31 Mar 2024

Did you know Final Cut Pro has these features for even easier video editing?

Even though it's an older model, my Apple Macbook Pro with M2 Max still handles video editing and basically every task effortlessly.

Video editing is definitely on the rise these days, with many people starting to edit short videos on their phones for social media before getting into dedicated programs like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro and more. For those of us who just do it for fun, however, it can be a little daunting to learn all the ins and outs of the program and what it could possibly offer more than your current preferred mobile video editing tool. 

To address that, we rounded up five nifty features that Apple's Final Cut Pro (FCP) on Mac has to offer to level up your video editing easily. And of course, we show you how it's done too.

1. Auto LUT application

This is a particularly handy feature for people who want to take advantage of the new LOG recording on the iPhone 15 Pro lineup. LOG is a video format that offers a flat, desaturated colour profile. When shooting in LOG, video files have a higher dynamic range and a wider scope for colour-grading the footage in post-production. However, for hobbyists and beginners, learning colour grading can be a long process.

Colour grading is part of the post-production video editing workflow, and changes attributes like contrast, colour, saturation, white balance and more. As part of the process, hues and tones can also be added for a more stylised look if desired. 

Log options in Final Cut Pro.

With FCP, imported Log files automatically have a Lookup Table (LUT) applied so you don’t have to manually adjust the footage’s contrast, saturation, and such. LUTs differ from brand to brand because most brands have their own LOG profile that requires different tweaks. The Apple Log LUT applied for Log footage is built into FCP, so you don’t have to worry about downloading it. Aside from Apple Log, FCP can automatically apply LUTs for other cameras as well.

In the event the LUT isn’t automatically applied, simply go to the Inspector tool at the top right, change the view from Basic to Extended and you’ll then be able to select a Camera LUT option. Conversely, if you rather not have a LUT applied because you want to grade the footage yourself, you can remove the LUT option from here as well.

2. Copying edits

So maybe you tweaked the hue of a specific clip, liked it and want to apply that same hue change to all the other clips filmed in the same area. It’s a major pain to open up the Hue/Saturation curves to edit them one by one, and it might not be 100% identical since you’re dragging points on a graph. 

Copying video attributes in Final Cut Pro.

Thankfully, FCP comes to the rescue with the ability to paste attributes. And you don’t have to paste every edit you did either, as you can select which effects you want like colour wheels and curves, to edits made to the original footage’s position, crop, audio effects and more. Follow the video embed above that illustrates how this is done.

3. Match colour

Match Colour in Final Cut Pro.

What if you had some really awesome RGB lighting in one shot, and you want to replicate it in the other clips? It’s impossible to get the same lighting, but the Match Colour feature in FCP can potentially help you get maybe 50% of the way there by figuring out the tone of the clip and applying that effect to other clips. 

Not perfect, but a much less jarring difference.

In the example I used above, it’s not possible to get that bright pink colour on the rear wall for sure since it wasn’t present when I was filming, but I can get a softer pink effect on the clip, which makes for a less jarring contrast compared to the original white walls in my clips. 

4. Automatic motion tracking

Object Track in Final Cut Pro.

If you want to animate effects or graphics in videos, you'll have to set anchor points for the start and end of those animations, also known as keyframing. It can be a tedious process depending on complexity, but FCP automates that process by offering automatic motion tracking. Check out how it's done:-

Simply drag text or an effect into the preview window and hold it over the item you want to track, then hit analyse on the top left corner, and the effect or text will automatically follow the tracked item. The tracking grid can even be resized for more accurate tracking, 

Adjusting the grid for Object Track.

Of course, whatever you add this way can still be keyframed and edited for size, position, and such if you so desire. Keyframes are anchor points in a clip where animations or effects begin or end. Think of them as the starting and ending points of animated effects like cropping in or rotating the frame.

5. Smart Conform

Duplicate project in Final Cut Pro.

Modify and change it to a Vertical format video.

Last but not least, let’s talk about a super handy feature that people looking to edit videos for both horizontal and vertical viewing will definitely love, the Smart Conform tool. First, you’ll want to duplicate your project, then head over to the Modify button on the right to set the video format to Vertical. After that, simply hit OK, and your new vertical video will be created. 

Smart Conform option.

That’s not the end, however. Select all your clips, then head over to the Modify tab at the top and hit the Smart Conform button.

It might take a while, but FCP will automatically analyse the footage and pick what it thinks is the best crop for the vertical frame. Most of the time, it works nicely. If the frame is off, though, you’ll be able to adjust it easily by making sure the program is set to Transform. Then, simply click on the clip in the preview window and drag it left or right to get to your ideal framing. 

Empty frame because of large movements or position changes.

This works best with a single subject or two subjects that are close together. In the example I did above, you’ll notice that sometimes there are awkward empty spaces in the middle because the dancers are far apart. Of course, the other solution would be to use shorter clips or switch angles whenever this happens. Despite the added time required for this, it’s definitely a lot quicker to use Smart Conform rather than edit a whole new vertical video from scratch. 

With all these tricks, it was quite cool to watch a full dance video come alive from the footage captured on the iPhone. While it's nowhere near the quality that professional video editors would be able to produce, as someone who has never really done all that much video editing, I'm definitely happy with the final output. Hopefully, these cool features will help you get your videos edited quicker and easier, too!

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