Final Cut Pro

What is Final Cut Pro?

Final Cut Pro is a powerful video editing software that is made only for the Mac. It is used primarily to edit, process and convert videos in a number of formats.

Layout Overview


  1. Open Final Cut Pro on your Mac desktop.




2. The first panel on the left stores all of the media files.

  • A Library holds all of your Events, Projects, and Media.

  • An Event holds Projects and the Media you want to work with.

  • A Project is the edited work.


3. Above the Library and Events are three icons: 1) Media Icon, 2) Music & Sound

Effects Icon, and 3) Titles and Backgrounds Icon.

4. Above the Media, Music, and Titles icons are Import Media and Show

Background Tasks buttons.

5. The Project panel shows you what project you are actively working on including the clips/media associated with it.



6. The Preview window allows you to view your edited footage.


7. Just to the right of the Preview window is information and settings adjustment for video (i.e., video, color, audio, and info Inspectors).



8. Just above the Video, Color, Audio, and Info Inspectors are icons for customizing the panel layout. The Share button will export the edited video.



8. The panel on the bottom of the screen is the Video Timeline where one edits clips/media.



Note: Just to the right of the Video Timeline, several controls allow one to edit the appearance and function of the timeline as well as add effects and transitions.

When getting started in Final Cut Pro, one of the first steps is importing and capturing media files into Events.
(Events hold your video, audio files, and photos within Final Cut Pro)


When you first open Final Cut it will auto-create an Event for you (it will be named the date you opened the software.) If you would like to rename the Event, left click on it, press Enter on your keyboard, and start typing in the new name. 

How to Import Media

To import media click the down arrow on the top left of your screen or click the Import Media button located in the middle of your screen.






No matter which option you choose it will open the same Import Footage window.









On the left side, one has the option to import the footage from a camera, built-in webcam, USB device, hard drive, or the desktop.






The Preview window will show a list of footage items or photos of your chosen device, USB, or hard drive. Click on the files you wish to import.












On the panel just to the right of the Preview Window is the  Import footage settingsFinal Cut will have its default setting selected and most of it you will not need to change, just make sure to match the footage you are importing to the correct Event.

















Click Import Selected and the Import window will close and the footage/clips will populate into the Event.

Creating a New Project

  • To create a new project, go to File, New and select Project.

  • A pop-up window appears. Name the Project and adjust settings as need. (Make sure your project is in the proper Event)






  • After clicking “OK”, you will get a blank project at the bottom of the window to now work in.



Now that you have created a new project and imported your media, the next step is to edit your video. In this section, you will learn how to move footage, audio, and photos into the project timeline.

Working with the Project Timeline

After creating a new project,  you will need to move the footage, audio, and/or photos into the project timeline in order to edit.

  • Select the full video clip or just a piece of it and drag the ends of the yellow outline surrounding the video clip onto the timeline. One can control how much or how little of the clip to use

Click on the clip and drag it down to the project timeline.

  • Please Note: Final Cut comes with royalty free music and sounds that you can use in your video project.

At the top left of the window, click on the Music & Sound Effects Icon. Select the Sound Effects tab to show the royalty free sound options.

Above the Search box, a drop-down box with a folder entitled Effects appears. Select the music here. 

Here you can search for music or sounds based on themes or type.

Once you have selected a folder you can listen to the different audio tracks. 

Once you have found a track you like, click and drag it into your project timeline. Audio tracks will sit under your video footage and photos.

Now that you have added your video footage, photos, and audio into the project timeline you will now learn about some of the different editing tools.

Editing Tools

Above the project timeline, you will see a cursor icon with a down arrow. Clicking on the down arrow will open a list of editing tools. 

In this section, we will only be focusing on the Blade tool and the Select tool.

  • Select tool: allows you to select and move items in the project timeline.
  • Blade tool: allows you to cut clips.

Moving clips

To move a video clip or photo, click on the footage and it will have a yellow box around it.

Then you will click and drag the footage to where you want it in the project timeline.

Cutting Clips

To cut a video clip or photo, make sure you have selected the blade tool by clicking the drop-down arrow next to the cursor icon.

Find the spot in your footage where you would like to split the clip and click. You will know that you have split the clip by the dotted lines that appear. Now you can decide to cut more parts, switch back to the cursor to move the pieces around or delete what you don’t need. 

This section will show you how to edit and detach audio on your video clip and how to record audio into your project.


At the ends of your audio clip, you can choose to fade in or out its sound. If you have your cursor to hover over the audio portion of your clip you will see dots appear on each end. 

Once you put your cursor over the dot it will turn into a double arrow and from there you can drag the dot to create an audio fade.

Adjusting  Audio levels 

 In the audio portion of your video clip, you will see a thin line that runs the length of it. If you put your cursor over the line it will turn into an up/down arrows. Using the arrows you can raise and lower the volume on the clip.

For more precise sound editing, Option + Left Click the audio line to create points.  With these points, you can control exactly where the audio is raised or lowered in the video.

Detaching Audio from Clip

You can detach the audio from a video clip to move it elsewhere in your project or just delete it. Right clip on the video clip and choose “Detach Audio” and it will appear beneath the clip and from there you can move it or delete it.

Recording Audio

You can record a voiceover into your project to narrate over video clips and photos. At the top of your screen click on “Window” and select “Record Voiceover”.

The record voiceover screen will open and from there you change your mic (if you are not using a built-in one) and can see your audio levels before you start recording. Make sure to click the place in your project where you would like the recording to start before recording. When you are ready, click the red button in the voiceover window and a countdown will begin.


When you are done click the stop button and your voiceover will appear beneath the video clip.

This section will show you how to put titles and transitions in your video project 


Titles are a great way to introduce topics and people or have ending credits. They can be placed at the beginning, end, and on top of your video clips and photos. The titles icon can be found at the top right of the window.

Clicking on the titles icon will open a large list of titles you can choose from. Also, you can see a preview of how the title looks by clicking on it and pressing the space bar to play its animation.

Once you have decided on the title that you want to use, click and drag it to where you want it in your video project. You can also adjust the length of the title clicking on the end and drag to expand or shorten it.

Double click on the title to edit the text. If you would like more editing options, click the “Text Inspector” icon at the top left of the window (make sure the title is selected in your project or else you won’t see the Text Inspector icon). In the Text Inspector, you can change things like font, size, and color of your text.


Transitions are used to help create flow between video clips and photos. The “Transitions Bowser” can be found on the middle left side of the window.                      Clicking on the “Transitions Brower” will open a large list of transitions you can choose from. Also, you can see a preview of how the transition looks by clicking on it and pressing the space bar to play its animation.

Once you have decided on the transition that you want to use, click and drag it to where you want it in your video project. 

This section will show you how to export your project out of Final Cut and save it as a video file. 


Exporting your video project takes is out of Final Cut and saves it as a video file for you to share and upload in other places.

To export your project, click “File” at the top right of the screen and scroll down to “Share”. 

When you click on “Share” it will give you a list of exporting/sharing options. The Master File option will export your video in the highest quality but its file size will be very large.  The Apple Devices 720p or 1080p  will export your video in good quality and will come in a smaller file size.

Once you have clicked on the exporting/sharing option you want, a window will pop up showing information about your video, like its file size, type, and runtime. In this window, you can also change the name of your video and add information about it.

In the Settings tab shows how the video is being exported out of Final Cut. In this tab, you will click on “Library” which is next to “Add to Playlist” and a drop-down menu will appear. In the menu, click on QuickTime Player if it is not an option click on “Other…” and find it under Applications. This step is necessary to make sure that your video will save as a file instead of being put in a library 

After you make all your changes, click on “Next…” at the bottom of the window and choose to save the video to your desktop.


Want to know more?

Click the icon above to go to Frequently Asked Questions for Final Cut Pro. There you'll find more advances tutorials and troubleshooting.