The Craft of the Cut - The Final Cut Pro XEditor's Handbook
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More About This Title The Craft of the Cut - The Final Cut Pro XEditor's Handbook


The art of professional video editing

Although technology is rapidly evolving, it is still complicated to edit video. This unique book not only teaches you the art of professional editing, it also gives you authentic professional experience. You'll be guided through a typical industry production workflow; you'll have access to raw footage, including alternate takes of each scene from a professional short film; and you'll make your own decisions. By the book's end, you'll have completed your own version of a film. It's the perfect primer for aspiring editors who want to ascend to industry-level positions.

  • Immerses you in the actual experience of editing a film, from video rushes to the shooting script and continuity notes
  • Provides actual media, including alternate takes, and you make all the decisions
  • Walks you through the post-production of a professional short film; by the book's end, you will have acquired the skills to complete your own version of the film
  • Shows you how to use Final Cut Pro X as part of the production process

The Craft of the Cut goes deep inside the world of professional video editing and equips you with skills for professional-level editing.

The Craft of the Cut project and media files will work with all the versions of Final Cut Pro X (10.0 and above) but may need updating depending on the version of Final Cut Pro X you are using.  For further instructions on how to update these files for your version of Final Cut Pro X please download the READ ME FIRST (UPDATED).pdf.  Ebook readers can access the READ ME FIRST (UPDATED).pdf by using the link provided in the front matter of the ebook and hardcopy readers can access the READ ME FIRST (UPDATED).pdf using the link provided on the main page of Appendix B ‘Whats on the DVD’.


Marios Chirtou and Mark Riley are London-based filmmakers with more than 20 years of experience in the broadcast TV industry. Their movies and music videos have been screened at numerous film festivals around the world and broadcast on BBC, ITV, and MTV. They designed The Craft of the Cut for aspiring editors to develop their skills using the short film Pranks.


Foreword  xix

Introduction  1

Who This Book Is For   1

What This Book Offers   2

How to Use Th is Book   3

Part 1: Preparing to Edit

CHAPTER 1 Familiarizing Yourself with the Film   7

Reading the Script    9

Story and structure   9

The characters   11

Working with Reports and Logs    12

The continuity shot list   13

The continuity script    16

Your Role as Editor    17

CHAPTER 2 Final Cut Pro X Essentials   19

Getting Up and Running    20

Locating your fi les on the Mac    20

Considering media storage     21

Copying the media to your hard drive      22

Exploring the Interface   23

The Event Library   25

The Event Browser   25

The Project Library and Timeline   26

The Viewer     27

The Toolbar     28

The Inspector    29

Working with Keyboard Commands   30

Essential keyboard commands   30

The Command Editor    31

CHAPTER 3 Importing Media      35

Setting Import Preferences     35

Organizing     36

Transcoding     37

Video    38

Audio    39

Importing the Rushes   40

Creating new Events    40

Importing files    42

Keeping an eye on background tasks    44

Understanding how Events are organized     45

Grouping Events   46

Importing Media from Other Sources  47

File-based cameras   47

DSLRs      49

Tape-based cameras   50

iMovie Projects    52

CHAPTER 4 Organizing and Preparing Media     53

Viewing Media in the Event Browser   53

Working in Filmstrip View     54

Working in List View    56

Skimming clips    58

Playing selections   59

Marking In and Out points    61

Evaluating the Rushes    62

Developing a strategy    62

Selecting Favorites   63

Rejecting clips    65

Removing ratings   65

Naming clips     65

Filtering clips    67

Using Collections to Organize Your Footage     69

Working with automatic collections  69

Assigning keywords    71

Deleting keywords   72

Working with Keyword Collections  72

Finding your footage    73

Creating Smart Collections     74

Organizing Collections into folders  75

Working with Metadata    75

Working with metadata in the Inspector      75

Customizing metadata views    76

Customizing metadata properties   78

Assigning Roles    80

Part 2: The Edit

CHAPTER 5 The Assembly Edit     85

Understanding Projects and Timelines  85

Creating new Projects    86

Duplicating Projects    89

Understanding Storylines     91

Compiling the Assembly Edit     91

Appending clips    93

Performing overwrite edits    94

Performing insert edits   95

Working in the Magnetic Timeline   96

Navigating in the Timeline     99

Changing the clip appearance  100

Using the skimmer and playhead 101

Keyboard navigation in the Timeline     101

Finding clips with the Timeline Index     102

Using markers and to-do’s   104

Using placeholders   107

CHAPTER 6 Editing the Rough Cut    109

Trimming Clips   110

Performing a Ripple edit    111

Performing a Roll edit  113

Performing a Slip edit  114

Performing a Slide edit    115

Using the Precision Editor   116

Manipulating Media in the Timeline 118

Cutting clips with the Blade tool  118

Performing a three-point edit  119

Replacing clips   120

Auditioning clips  121

Mind the Gap   124

Working with the Position tool  125

Making the Connection   126

Connecting clips to the Primary Storyline    127

Working with Connected Clips  129

CHAPTER 7 Completing the Cut     131

Adding Cutaways   132

Secondary Storylines   132

Manipulating clips in a Secondary Storyline   133

Working with Secondary Storylines   134

Breaking apart clip items    136

Adding audio clips to the Timeline 136

Compound Clips   137

Working with Compound Clips in the Timeline  138

Working with Compound Clips in the Event Browser  143

Adding Transitions  145

Adding simple dissolves    146

Changing transition durations 147

Selecting transitions in the Transition Browser  148

Manipulating transitions in the Inspector    149

CHAPTER 8 Editing Audio      153

Accessing the Music and Sound Browser     154

Working with Audio  154

Using the audio meters    157

Controlling audio volume    159

Expanding and detaching audio  160

Syncing double-system sound  162

Creating audio fades   163

Making Audio Enhancements   165

Using equalization   166

Fixing audio problems  169

Part 3: The Craft of the Edit

CHAPTER 9 Setting Up the Story    175

Th e First Act    176

Evaluating the footage    178

Exploring the edit   178

Scene 2    179

Scene 3    189

CHAPTER 10 Cutting Dialogue     199

Dialogue Scene One  200

Evaluating the footage    200

Exploring the edit   202

Dialogue Scene Two  210

Evaluating the footage    210

Exploring the edit   211

CHAPTER 11 Editing Action      223

Th e Staircase Sequence   224

Evaluating the footage    224

Exploring the edit   225

CHAPTER 12 Building the Climax     245

Th e Final Act    246

Evaluating the footage    246

Exploring the edit   247

Part 4: After the Edit

CHAPTER 13 Building the Soundtrack    265

Replacing Dialogue with the ADR Files   266

Cleaning Up the Audio   268

Adding Ambience and FX 273

Incorporating the Music Cues   274

Constructing Your Own Sound Design   276

Creating a Surround Mix  278

CHAPTER 14 Working with Effects    281

Exploring the Built-In Eff ects   282

Transforming images  283

Trimming and cropping images  284

Creating the Ken Burns eff ect  286

Distorting images   287

Animating with keyframes   287

Working with the Animation Editor   289

Creating Effects for the Movie   290

Flipping Shots   291

Creating a camera flash effect  292

Creating freeze frames    293

Retiming Clips   295

CHAPTER 15 Applying the Finishing Touches    299

Color Correction and Grading   300

Fixing color balance issues   300

Color matching between shots  301

Manually Color-Correcting Shots  302

Working with scopes   302

The Waveform Monitor   303

The Vectorscope   303

The Histogram   305

Working with the Color Board  305

Using color masks   308

Using shape masks   310

Adding Titles and Credits    313

Working with titles   313

Adjusting titles in the Inspector  314

The Title pane  314

The Text pane  315

Creating the opening credits   315

CHAPTER 16 Sharing and Exporting Your Movie     319

Working with the Share Monitor  320

Sharing Movies   321

Sharing to the Media Browser and Apple devices  321

Creating DVD and Blu-ray discs  323

DVD     323

Blu-ray    324

Publishing to the Web  325

Exporting Movies   327

Exporting with Compressor    329

Understanding the Compressor workfl ow    330

Creating chapter markers for DVD and Blu-ray  331

Exporting to XML   333

Part 5: Appendixes


Resources    337

Red Giant     337

CrumplePop    337

Noise Industries FX Factory    338

Intelligent Assistance   338

X2Pro Audio Convert   338


What’s on the DVD?    339

System Requirements   340

What’s on the DVD  340

Using the DVD   341

Troubleshooting   342

Customer Care    343

Index  345