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Final Cut Pro X Tutorial: how to work with Effects

Learn how to tweak your videos to perfection with FCP X’s versatile set of effects

With Final Cut Pro X, you have access to dozens of pre- installed effects to add to any of your clips. Not only that, but you can add multiple effects to a single clip – a far cry from iMovie’s limited ‘one-effect-per-clip’ mantra.

Actually, Final Cut’s focus on effects shows you how versatile this program can be when it comes to transforming the look of your clips in any way that suits your project. Even though Apple has a powerful video composition app available called Motion, you may find that you can achieve most of what you need without ever venturing away from the brilliant Final Cut Pro X.

This tutorial will show you the basics of working with effects, from previewing them to modifying them. We’ll even take a glance at the program’s ability to alter an effect’s value over time – a clever process known in Final Cut Pro X as keyframing.

1: The Effects Browser

Open one of your projects and go to Window>Media Browser>Effects, or use the Cmd+5 keyboard shortcut (this is the only media browser to have a shortcut).

2: Effect navigation

The browser is divided into video and audio effects and further sub-divided by category. Select a category to see just those or choose All to see them all.

3: Preview

Click on a clip in the Timeline to select it, then click on an effect in the Browser. The main preview section will show you what your clip will look like with it applied.

4: Add another

Drag the effect onto your clip to apply it properly. Now select another effect and see a preview with both effects applied. Drag it to your clip to add it as well.

5: The Inspector

The effects you’ve added alter the clip based on their default values. To customise them to create a more unique visual, go to Window>Go to Inspector.

6: Parameters

The Effects’ parameters will appear at the top of the Inspector section. Modify them by dragging the sliders or choosing different options from the pop-up menus.

7: Hide and reveal

To see your clip without a particular effect, you can temporarily hide it from view by clicking on its square blue button. To reveal it, click on the button again.

8: Reset

If you’ve made too many changes to an effect and would like to revert it back to its original setting, you can do so by clicking on its curved arrow button.

9: Delete

You can’t just drag an effect out of the Inspector to remove it from a clip, but you can select it and go to Edit>Delete (or hit the Delete key).

Click Image to Enlarge: