One of the best ways to increase productivity in edit is to customize your workspace to fit your editing set up and your style. 

The default setup in FCP7 has much to be desired. A lot of features are hidden. It feels cramped and the canvas window is to small to get a feel of how the piece will look full screen.

Most users will just shrink the timeline to increase the canvas window and call it good.

There is nothing wrong with that, but there are still too many features hidden.

If you go to the Window menu at the top. under Arrange you have options to choose from.

None of these options felt right to me. So I decided to rearrange the windows to what felt most natural.

Now I can’t emphasize enough how much two monitors come in handy when editing… and at around $150 for a decent 22″ monitor, it’s money well spent! 

Before going into my custom setup, I figure I should show you what I’m working with. You’re specs may vary but you can customize your edit space to what suits your needs best.

With this computer I moved the canvas window over to the right monitor so that I can get it as big as possible.

I also replaced it’s original space with the “Video Scopes” window. This helps me determine exposure while color correcting and applying filters.

You can find this under Window/Tool Bench and then add it with Tools/Video Scopes.

I also like to customize my filters and keyboard layout. When you find yourself using the same filters over and over again to fit a particular clients style, it become time consuming to go through all of the folders/menus to find it. I put all of my commonly used effects in the Favorites folder.

 When you drag and drop the filters or transitions into the Favorites folder it adds copy to the end. I choose to rename each one to organize weather it was a filter (ex: F1) or a transition (T1). I even included some of the render options Final Cut has that frequently get lost in the folders. These help when you are creating simple graphics or overlays to footage inside Final Cut Pro.

WARNING: If you share projects with other editors, your renamed effects and transitions WILL show up and perform properly in their edit. BUT, they will not be able to copy and paste from the transitions that you applied.

This really isn’t a big deal because they can apply transitions the same way they always have on every other edit they do. I just thought you should know about that little quark.

In part 2 of this post I’ll go more in depth with the filter customization and show some of my custom keyboard shortcuts. So visit often for more final cut tips and to get updates on the projects I’m working on. I do most of my work in FCP7 but FCPX actually has a lot of features I would love to have in 7. So I’ll be diving into FCPX a little more soon to provide customization tips for that as well.