In this lesson, you will get a short introduction to editing videos with Final Cut Pro.
This video is going to be a short introduction to my video editing software of choice, which is Final Cut Pro 10. Final Cut Pro is an Apple program, so you’ll need an Apple computer to run it. Adobe Premiere is very comparable, and it runs on both Apple and Windows computers. If you’re using Windows and would like to get into editing video, I’d recommend purchasing Adobe Premiere. When it comes to editing aerial footage, many times I’m combining footage from multiple sources and multiple cameras, and Final Cut Pro does a great job of handling these different types of files and makes it seamless to transcode them into a single timeline.
To stay organized, I like to create a project folder, and then inside Final Cut Pro 10, I like to create a new library, and that library will be dedicated to the project that I’m working on. Inside that library, I will create an event, and usually the event is related to a specific shoot within that project. You can then create a project, so this is like a timeline and then start editing. Importing your drone footage is a simple as dragging it on to the timeline. Okay, so I’m going to import a aerial clip into Final Cut Pro, and I’m just going to show you a few things that you can do with it. So I’m just going to drag them on to the timeline like this.
When you do that, immediately Final Cut Pro is going to start managing your assets. That video file right now is being imported, and it’s being imported into a location where you’ve saved your master library file. You don’t have to wait for it to complete importing, you can start editing right away. You can see as we script through this footage here, we can see a pretty quick snappy version of the footage. A space bar will play and stop, and once you have this footage on the timeline, you can do some pretty basic things with it, like cut it at a certain place or trim off the ends. If you scroll over to an end of the clip, you can see this little handle appears, and you can drag this to shorten a clip or lengthen it depending on what you want to do with the footage.
Cuts are simple as selecting the blade tool, and that’s under here, there is the razor blade tool, or the short cut is just the B key. So you press the B key on the keyboard, you have the razor. I’m going to go ahead and do some basic edits. So I’m just going to cut this here and then switch back to the arrow key, and I do that by pressing A on the keyboard. Then I can select the segment and delete it. Because Final Cut Pro uses what’s called the magnetic timeline, when I delete something here, I’ll undo that really quick. When I delete a clip that’s in front of other clips on this main timeline, the entire timeline shifts over. It takes a bit of getting used to. It’s a little bit different than Adobe premiere Pro, but I find that it really helps to speed up my editing of this magnetic timeline.
Real quick another thing that people get frustrated with is not being able to move this clip over. If you just have the arrow key selected, you can’t really move that clip over to the right and give yourself more space unless you choose the position tool. That’s under here as well, position, where you see the hot key is just P on the keyboard. Press P on the keyboard, you get a position tool, and now I can move this over, and we have some black space here to work with. So still basic edit, I’m going to see where a good portion of this clip here is. I’m going to trim off a little bit more. Then zoom into here so, and then I want to find a new angle that we can transition to.
We’ll scroll through the footage till we find something, I remember that I shot an orbit. Yeah, right here. Let’s use this segment right here. We’re orbiting around this house. I’m going to blade that and delete all the stuff in the middle. You can see how that quickly snapped over, and I don’t have to reposition it manually back over to where I’m editing, and that’s what saves a lot of time. This clip, it’s good, but I want it to end about right there. I’m going to blade that. I’m just going to delete the rest of this. This is good, but it’s rotating the wrong way. I would rather have the clip start like this, and then I want to transition and be rotating the other way starting from here and moving this way.
To do that, we’re going to do a simple time remapping. I’ll select that clip, and over here into this little drop-down, there is a reverse clip. Now, there’s also a lot of other things you can do here. You can set a custom speed, but this is the retiming drop-down, and I’m just going to choose reverse clip, and automatically, you can see here that the clip has been reversed. A lot of times with aerial video, if you have any cars or people in it, you can reverse the clip, and no one’s the wiser. Great, so we’ve got two clips combined now with a simple cut.
If you look over here, maybe I want these two to dissolve together, cross is always a fairly common transition. If you look here on the top, there’s a few different tabs for this browser here. This is the effects tab, all sorts of different effects. You can make the footage look older, or aged, or lots of different effects in this library. Now, this section allows you to import photos directly from your iPhoto library. This ties into the music that might be in your system through iTunes or other music files. This is the transition pallet. Under here, you can see we have all transitions selected, but if you just want it to look it dissolves, you could filter those down. Right here’s the cross dissolve. It’s also the first one in the list as it is the most common.
To apply this transition to these clips, I’m just going to drag it over, and it just snaps into place just like that. Now, the short-cut key command plus or command minus is going to zoom in on the timeline. This can be useful if you’re navigating the timeline and need to see things in more detail. I’ve zoomed in on this transition, and it looks good. I can extend the transition or shorten it just by dragging the edges of it. If we push play, we can see that transition, so that looks pretty nice. You could make this even longer if you wanted. It really just depends on what you’re doing and how you’re telling your story through editing.
Maybe you want to add a title to this little clip. You do that here in the titling section, that’s the next tab over. Here there is a variety of titles. You can actually scroll over here, and it will preview the titles for you. I’m just going to do a basic title, so I’m going to select this and drag it on. You can set the duration of the title. I want it to be shorter. Then if you double-click on the title bar, it’ll let you edit the text, and you can edit the text on the screen here or over here in this box. I’m just going to put the name of this location, which is Swan Valley, Idaho.
Then up here, there are some quick styles. You can, of course, choose your own font and change the size. I’m just going to choose a quick style from the 2D styles drop-down. I’m just going to use the condensed, it’s one of my favorites. We can put that and see where it fits, that looks the nicest, maybe down here. If you play this back, it looks pretty nice. I want to see what looks like up here, though, in the sky. I think I like that better, so I’ll stick with that. I’m going to have this actually fade in a little bit after the video starts, and then you can actually apply transitions to title clips as well. So let me put cross dissolve on this.
If you drag it in the middle of the clip, it’s going to put up automatically in both ends of the clip, so you don’t have to drag it twice, which is a nice time-saving option. And then I’m going to add another cross dissolve at the beginning of this video. We don’t need this black. It’s going to be the beginning of the video, so I’ll just delete that. That snaps over to the beginning of the timeline. If we scrub to the beginning, hit play, you can see what we have so far.
So it’s a little bit jumpy. This orange bar here, you can see, just indicates that this hasn’t rendered yet. We have some text or video that needs to render. You can preview it, but it will be a little bit smoother after it’s had a chance to render. I’m going to let that render. One more thing I wanted to show you here real quick. Each layer that you stack on top, it’s kind of like in Photoshop where you can change blending modes. Anytime you have a clip selected, you can go over here to this panel, and there’s typically a way to adjust various properties of this effect. There’s a transform tab here where you can scale the layer or the image, the crop tool.
The one I wanted to talk to you about is the compositing tool. This can be really useful as a blend mode here. You may be familiar with blend modes if you’re familiar with Photoshop. But we can change this to overlay, and you get a little bit different effect here. You can see as I move this around how it interacts with the footage. You can also change in the same place the opacity of any layer. If you have a layer stacked on another and you want the top one to be somewhat transparent, you can change that opacity there.
Okay, one more thing I want to show you. This is the color correction module. We can select the clip that we want to apply some color correction to. If you’re shooting with a camera like the GoPro cameras or the DJI Drone cameras that have the D-Log color setting, this is just a way of shooting fairly flat. The reason that we shoot flat is so that we have more control in post-production in the editing process, to add in more color or to add more sharpness or contrast. If you have those things already set pretty high when you’re shooting, it’s much harder to remove them in post. But if you start shooting flat, it’s always easier to then add the contrast or add the color saturation as you wish in post-production.
With the clip selected, I’m going to go to the effects tab here, and I’m going to see the very first effect here is the color correction. I can actually just double-click on it, and that’ll apply it to the clip. We can see here it now pops up as the color correction effect on that clip, and we can go to the color board by selecting that. This is a very powerful color correction tool kit. You have this first bigger slider will control the global, so the shadows, the highlights, and the mid tones, all those colors at once. So you can really skew the image here. You can see how that’s colorizing the entire image. I’m just going to undo that. Or you can adjust just the mid tones, shadows, and highlights independently. You can kind of see what that looks like.
We can warm the image up by moving this one over into the reds and oranges and see what that looks like. In the saturation tab, we can add a little bit more saturation, usually I like to add in quite a bit more saturation again if shooting in the D-Log profile, which is pretty flat. To add some more contrast, we can go to the exposure tab, and we can bring the blacks down a little bit. You can see how that’s adding some more contrast. You can bring the highlights up a little bit. I’m going to back to color. I don’t really like that so warm, so I’m going to reduce that just a touch. And now, if you go back to this, we can toggle on and off this color correction effect, and you can see the difference that it made. Just warming up a little bit, adding a little bit more contrast.
Again, this is subjective. You really just…how you want to communicate, how you want your footage to look. That will dictate the kind of controls that you set. I’m just going to finish this out by putting a cross dissolve on the end. So we can fade out the black. There we have it. That’s just a short finished piece, just a short introduction into Final Cut Pro 10. There are just a multitude of things you can do with Final Cut Pro. Too much to cover in this short lesson, but I hope this has been a good introduction for you, and I will see you in the next video.