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If you are an editor on any system, the non-linears or even tape, there are certain comments or phrases from clients that will strike terror in you immediately. Luckily we don't have the rhetorical, "Do you mind if I smoke?" anymore, but there are plenty more to ruin what would have been a lovely calm edit...

Ok, here we go with the top ten, start the Led Zeppelin track:


10 Have you seen...?
The latest advert/TVseries/film that features a certain effect. The client will have been impressed with a look or effect that they have seen on the TV the night before. Never mind that the commercial was storyboarded, shot on greenscreen, matchmoved, composited and colour corrected in Flame; you will have to recreate that effect in FCP after having to smile whilst the client plays the example back to you off YouTube.


9 I've got all the footage we'll need here on these DVD's
They look so proud when they pull the disks out of the cases. You then have to go into a five minute speech about compression that they don't understand. It takes you a few hours to rip the bits out of 6 disks with the right codec and then the client complains at lunchtime that you haven't done much.


8 We need to get the stuff off YouTube
Worse than the above. You have another chat with the client about compression which they still don't understand. You then look like an idiot because YouTube have changed something so you have to search Google for the best way to download their videos. At this point the client mentions his/her son has a skateboarding channel on YouTube that you must take a look at.


7 I have all the music here on my iPod
Where is a disk when you want one? You then have another conversation with the client about compression followed by a conversation about copyright. After a few minutes trying to work out how to get the track off the iPod, you come to the conclusion that to get home quicker, 99 cents for a track on your iTunes account is worth it.


6 Why does the footage look so dark?
It's dark because you shot it on a handycam without any extra lighting, that's why. Whilst we are talking about it, if you'd have used a tripod and done a white balance those would have helped too.


5 Can you remove the echo or distortion?
When the 'unfortunately not' answer is delivered, normally you get a "Why not?" straight back followed by "Nothing on TV sounds that echoey," enter into a conversation about radio mics and ADR at your peril.


4 What are all those numbers on the screen?
You realise that your client has no idea about the existence of timecode. This of course will mean that they haven't logged anything. You may as well phone the wife now and tell her you're going to be late.


3 Cutaway? What's that?
An hour long speech from the CEO and you have to boil it down to 5 minutes. Unfortunately that is all you have, an hour long speech, one angle, no cutaways, no reframes. You suggest text bullet points, fade up and down from black, do a 120% blowup, however the client in their wisdom goes for ugly option four, the quick mix. 


2 My son has FCP on his laptop
There is nothing more encouraging to know that this is your last job with them and their offspring has already been lined up to edit the next production. Of course the client will have learnt from all the above failures so the new video is going to look and sound a lot better anyway. The client mentions the son's skateboarding channel on Youtube again and as you dodged it before you have to watch it this time. It is annoyingly quite good and has a view count a daytime TV programme could only dream of.


1 Haven't you got the new version of FCP? My son has!
Time to go home.


Seriously, all of the above apart from the last one have happened to me in my editing career. Please feel free to add any more in the comments. In the interests of balance, maybe I should do the same with "Top ten things you don't want your editor to say."

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