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Controlling Final Cut Pro X without a keyboard

christopher hills fcpx

Christopher Hills is a young editor living in Australia, he's also an Apple Certified Pro Final Cut Pro X Level One. A great achievement, but quite outstanding when you find out he controls his Mac with just a head switch.

Chris has Cerebral Palsy which manifests itself as many unwanted body and limb movements. Not the ideal thing when trying to be precise with a keyboard. The only part of his body he can control reliably is his head and that's what he uses to control FCPX.

By using a head switch and a special piece of software, he controls the cursor on the Mac with clicks to drive FCPX. He's pretty quick at it too, we have seen a few editors who are slower with a qwerty keyboard!

We were intrigued by how Chris finds working this way. We have to admit to thinking that switches such as Chris's could only be used for word processing, emails or surfing. Wrong. They can also be used to control programs that need to have input at a specific points in time, FCPX is a good example. We got in touch and he very kindly replied:

 

''My first non-linear editor was Sony Vegas Movie Studio which I used for a course that I did in high school. Then I switched to a MacBook Pro because I found that the Accessibility support was a lot better. That’s when I started using iMovie 09, which I very quickly grew out of. So, the next logical step was to FCPX.
 
The Magnetic Timeline is a big help for me and saves me a lot of time, especially when I’m rearranging Clips. One thing I find slightly annoying is with the Video Animation pane. I wish that the FCPX timeline would automatically scroll up when I open it as it takes me a while to scroll the timeline up manually. It’s interesting how when Video Animation is closed, the Timeline automatically scrolls down. Why can’t it automatically scroll up when it opens? 
 
I’ve recently started aiming towards getting certified in Motion 5 and I’m just about to buy Mark Spencer’s book to help me to get ready for the exam. As I said in the presentation video, I’m about to start my own video editing business and in the future I’d really like to create short films/documentaries, along the way, sharing my experiences using a head switch with technology, including FCPX.
 
Would be glad to answer any more questions you might have.'

 

Take a look at Chris's presentation from the Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference on the Gold Coast that was held in May. A good watch for a few reasons. First of all to find out more about Chris, accessible technology and how he uses FCPX. Secondly, it makes us realise how dependent we are on keyboards, but that doesn't stop anyone who can't use one from performing complex tasks on a computer.

He also manages to get some jokes in at his Dad's expense!

You can follow Chris on Twitter or subscribe to his YouTube Channel.

 

 

 

 


Written by
Top Blogger Thought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

FCP.co

Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!

 

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