Apple Pro Training Series: Advanced Editing and ... Mastering the art of video editing in Final Cut

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Text of Apple Pro Training Series: Advanced Editing and ... Mastering the art of video editing in Final Cut

  • Michael Wohl

    Advanced Editing

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  • Lesson Files Lessons > Lesson_01 > 01_Project_Start.fcp

    Media Media > Lesson_01_Media

    Time This lesson takes approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes to complete.

    Goals Apply basic editing techniques to real-world projects

    Learn to select the best footage

    Fine-tune edit points using ripple and roll

    Use an insert or a cutaway to cover a bad edit

    Create split edits to smooth transitions

    Use Ripple Delete to clean up rough edits

    Use Replace edits with In and Out points

    Use Gang Sync mode to simplify repetitive edits


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  • 9

    Welcome. This book starts off with applied editing techniques because

    they are the foundation of any advanced-level work you’ll do in Final

    Cut Pro. Many of the other topics covered in the book—such as

    advanced effects, color correction, adding soundtracks, titling, and

    media management—assume a certain level of editing skill as a


    Mastering the art of video editing in Final Cut Pro involves more than

    learning what buttons to press and how each tool works. A great deal of

    the craft of editing requires understanding editing techniques and know-

    ing when to use the various powerful tools that Final Cut Pro provides.

    This lesson focuses on applying standard editing tools such as Ripple,

    Roll, Replace, and others to real-world situations. Further, you will tackle

    common editing challenges such as screen direction errors, sync errors,

    overlapping dialogue tracks, and interview sequences.

    Lesson 1

    Applied Editing

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  • Basic Dialogue Editing In the following exercises, you will create a simple dialogue sequence from

    scratch. You’ll use different tools as the real-world situation requires.

    1 Open Lessons > Lesson_01 > 01_Project_Start.fcp.

    2 Double-click the Scene 2 Clips bin.

    This opens the bin in its own window. This bin contains all of the source

    footage for the scene.

    The shots have been arranged so that multiple takes of the same shot are

    stacked vertically. There are five primary shots, plus two shots stacked on

    the right that contain inserts and additional coverage.

    3 Drag the bin (by its tab) back into the Browser window to conserve your Desktop real estate.

    10 Applied Editing

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  • This scene was shot in a very traditional method, providing you with adequate

    coverage to choose from. The entire scene was covered in nearly every shot,

    giving you myriad editing choices for assembling the scene.

    Familiarizing Yourself with the Footage Before you begin to edit a scene, it’s important to assess the footage you have

    to work with.

    1 Double-click the clip WS_Master_2_18_1 to open it into the Viewer.

    This is a wide shot covering the entire scene.

    2 Play the clip in the Viewer.

    Keladry (with blond hair on the left) and Re’annon (with dark hair on

    the right) hang clothes from a basket while they cook up a plan to run

    away. Play the scene several times through, to familiarize yourself with the

    dialogue and action, playing close attention to the interaction with the


    Although this shot is useful to acquaint you with the dialogue in the scene,

    for the majority of the shot, the girls are facing away from the camera.

    3 Double-click and play MS Keladry_2_20_2.

    This shot shows the entire scene, but it focuses only on Keladry. There are

    three versions (or takes) of this shot. Each one has a different performance

    and may have different problems or benefits. The director’s preference is

    listed in one of the Comment columns, so let’s go find it.

    4 In a gray area of the Browser window, Ctrl-click to access the contextual menu for the bin and choose View as List.

    Basic Dialogue Editing 11

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  • 5 Scroll the window until the Master Comment 1 column is visible.

    Here you can view the director’s comments about the shots. These com-

    ments were entered from the camera log book when the footage was logged.

    6 Ctrl-click again and choose View As Medium Icons.

    7 Double-click the clip MS Re’annon_2_22_1 and play it in the Viewer.

    This shot is a reverse of the previous shot, so you will be able to cut back

    and forth between the two shots. Unfortunately, Re’annon is facing away

    from the camera for most of the shot, making it a bad take.

    8 Review the next take, MS Re’annon_02_22_2.

    This time the performance has improved, but the lighting has changed, and

    there is a shadow in front of Re’annon’s face, making this shot unusable,

    too. Fortunately the crew noticed this and set up a large scrim to soften

    the sun for the remainder of the takes. It is up to you to review all of the

    clips to find the best take of each shot.

    12 Applied Editing

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  • Assembling the Scene The best way to begin assembling a scene like this one is to edit the master

    shot in first and then overwrite the close-up shots individually until the scene

    is assembled. You should focus on building the overall structure of the scene

    and then go back and fine-tune each of the edits.

    1 Double-click WS Master_2-18_1.

    2 Set an In point just before the two girls appear on the left side of the frame and set an Out point just after they exit at the end of the scene.

    3 In the Timeline, you should see the Empty Scene 2 sequence already open. If not, double-click the Empty Scene 2 sequence from the Scene 2 Sequences

    bin to open the Canvas and Timeline.

    4 Edit the clip into the sequence.

    5 Play the sequence and set an In point just before Re’annon says, “I know, it’s the same at my house,” (approximately 11 to 12 seconds into the shot).

    Basic Dialogue Editing 13

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  • 6 Open any one of the MS Re’annon shots (your choice, but you might want to open List view again and select the take the director tagged as Best in the

    Master Comment 1 column). Set an In point just before Re’annon says

    the same line. Set an Out point after she says, “…for stealing Jack’s toys.”

    7 Overwrite this clip (the medium shot of Re’annon) into the sequence by dragging from the Viewer to the Canvas.

    8 Play back the sequence.

    New medium shot of Re’annon

    14 Applied Editing

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  • If the actors’ performances are consistent across the shots and takes, each time

    you add a shot, the edit from this medium over-the-shoulder shot back to the

    master shot should be smooth. If the medium shot was performed faster or

    more slowly than the master, you may need to fine-tune the edit later.

    9 Open MS Keladry_2_20.3 in the Viewer and find the beginning of Keladry’s line, “I hate it here!” Set your In point just before the line. Set an Out point

    after Keladry says, “That’s it!”

    10 Overwrite the clip (MS Keladry_20_30.3) into the sequence directly after the second clip.



    Basic Dialogue Editing 15

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  • Now that you’ve reached the emotional height of the scene (when the girls

    get the idea that will drive the rest of the film), you will want to draw the

    viewer further into the scene. This would be an excellent time to move

    from the medium over-the-shoulder shots to close-ups.

    11 Open CU Re’annon_2_23_1 into the Viewer. Find the moment where Re’annon responds to Keladry’s, “That’s it!” with, “What, get rid of…?”

    Set your In point there and set the Out point after Re’annon says, “That’s

    a magnificent idea.”

    12 Overwrite that clip (CU Re’annon_2_23_1) into the sequence right after your last edit, and play back the whole sequence.

    13 Mark In and Out points around the section of the sequence when Keladry says, “No, what if we got rid of ourselves instead?”

    16 Applied Editing

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  • 14 Open CU Keladry_2_21_1. Set an In point just before she says “No, what if we…”

    15 Overwrite that clip into the sequence.

    Now the sequence progresses from Re’annon’s close-up to Keladry’s close-

    up and then back to Re’annon.

    16 Play back the sequence.

    Depending on how well you marked your clips, some of your edits may feel

    abrupt. The same audio may play twice, or there may be a delay before a reac-

    tion, creating an unnatural effect.

    Choosing exactly when to make your edits and which shots to cut to is an art

    that you will master over time. In general, you should only cut when there is

    some new information that could not be revealed in the previous shot. In

    dialogue sequences, it is often more important to see someone’s reaction than

    to see the speaker’s moving lips. There are countless ways to edit the same

    sequence, and there is