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Learn Final Cut Pro

A Comprehensive Guide to Start Learning Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro is a tool professional and amateur filmmakers use to edit video clips, cut and combine video files, and otherwise add or remove elements from film. Final Cut Pro is a versatile video editing tool, useful for both elaborate editing projects and personal video productions.

Final Cut Pro is Apple’s first-party video editing tool, used to edit everyone from film clips taken on an iPhone to feature film. The program's versatility makes it an ideal choice for anyone who wants to learn how to edit videos, either professionally or in their creative output. If you’ve always wanted to learn Final Cut Pro but can’t figure out how to get started, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn more about the various ways to learn Final Cut Pro, free resources to take advantage of, and the types of careers that commonly use Final Cut Pro.

What is Final Cut Pro?

Final Cut Pro is Apple’s first-party, non-linear video editing software. Final Cut Pro is a tool professional and amateur filmmakers use to edit video clips, cut and combine video files, and otherwise add or remove elements from film. Final Cut Pro is a versatile video editing tool, useful for both elaborate editing projects and personal video productions. New features of Final Cut Pro allow users to import and edit videos taken on iPhone 13s in stunning cinematic detail, making Final Cut Pro an ideal program to learn for amateur artists looking to break into the world of video editing. However, the program retains all of the essential features that make Final Cut Pro comparable to other professional video editing software, such as Adobe Premiere Pro.

Final Cut Pro users can automatically synchronize shots from multiple cameras, chroma key out green screen effects, add animated 3D titles to their work, and insert or import closed captioning directly into a file. These features have contributed to the rise in popularity of Final Cut Pro, making it an ideal program for new video editors, particularly those interested in working on elaborate personal projects to learn. While it has not reached the market saturation of Adobe Premiere Pro, partly due to its macOS exclusivity, students won’t be making a mistake if they opt to learn Final Cut Pro for their video editing needs.

Read more about what Final Cut Pro is and why you should learn it. 

What Can You Do with Final Cut Pro?

Final Cut Pro lets users edit, compile, manipulate, and otherwise cut video files from virtually any macOS device. With Final Cut Pro, users can quickly and efficiently make minor edits to video files, making the program ideal for anyone who wants to shoot their own footage (including on devices like an iPhone 13) and immediately begin working on their edits. Final Cut Pro has advanced editing capabilities for users who want to create more professional video productions, such as multi-camera editing functionality, chroma-key removal tools, and built-in 3D animation modeling capabilities.

Final Cut Pro is also an excellent skill to learn for creatives who want to work on editing their own content. Since it is such an accessible tool, you’ll be able to quickly pick up the basics of Final Cut Pro, letting creatives work on basic editing tasks without needing months of video editing training. As the landscape of digital content creation becomes more and more crowded, creatives looking to have their voices heard know that their output needs to look as professional as possible. No matter what kind of video project you aspire to create, learning how to quickly and effectively edit those projects will be invaluable for online content creators.

Careers that Use Final Cut Pro

Almost no video project, regardless of its content, can go live without going through several rounds of editing. To get a video to look professional, editors will tirelessly work to ensure that each cut, addition, or manipulation is deliberate. Owing to this, any industry that produces video content, whether TV and film, advertising, persuasive or instructional videos, education, or online entertainment, just to name a few, will want to employ skilled video editors who have a mastery of programs such as Final Cut Pro. Some of these positions include:

Video Editors: Video Editors are professionals tasked with ensuring that all of the video content that directors, artists, and other creatives produce is compiled and assembled into a finished product. They will use programs like Final Cut Pro to make the necessary edits and changes to a video file in preparation for its completion. Video Editors will often work closely with storyboard artists, writers, and producers to ensure that the final edited video project is in-line with the goals and objectives of their team. Video editors will be responsible for maintaining continuity and creating meaning through how the film is cut. Even if they aren’t working on elaborate video editing projects, they will still need to understand the fundamental theories and principles behind video editing.

Video Managers: On larger video projects, teams of creatives will collaborate to bring a project to fruition. These teams will include editors, directors, storyboard artists, and producers, all of whom will have a specialized role to fill in completing the project. Video managers oversee these teams and ensure that a finished video project meets the team's goals and specifications. This will require them to work directly with clients who organize the video production. In addition to video editing skills, Video Managers will need to learn other creative skills, such as motion graphics and digital storytelling, to work with diverse teams of creatives. Plus, they will need people skills since they will also manage the human element of a video project.

Motion Graphics Designer: Another common career path for trained Video Editors is the field of motion graphics design. Motion Graphics Designers will build the digital and computer-generated assets that Video Editors later edit into video files using programs like Final Cut Pro. Motion Graphics Designers will often be responsible for creating visually memorable effects that make modern video productions vibrant and life-like. In most contexts, even though they use many of the same tools, the difference between the responsibilities of a Motion Graphics Designer and a Video Editor lies in the kinds of digital alterations made to a video file. Motion Graphics Designers tend to emphasize visually-impressive or noticeable computer graphic alterations to a video file, while Video Editors are more concerned with tiny, frequently hard-to-notice changes.

Why Learn Final Cut Pro?

Final Cut Pro is an incredibly accessible video editing application, making it ideal for creatives looking for a way to break into the world of video content production and editing. The program allows individuals to easily and quickly compile, cut, and synchronize video and audio files, including video files captured using an iPhone 13’s cinematic camera. Learning to use Final Cut Pro will give creatives the tools to produce professional quality videos without needing a professional-grade editing rig. Optimized to run on lightweight tools like MacBooks, Final Cut Pro will let you start editing your videos almost instantly. Still, the program doesn’t skimp on the elaborate features, as Final Cut Pro is steadily gaining footing in the professional film editing industry.

Learning tools like Final Cut Pro can also set students up for success in the in-demand field of video editing. Any individual or company looking to produce video content will want to ensure that their final product meets specific professional standards. Video Editors are a vital part of making that happen. Video Editors commonly work in the film and television industries, but they also work in advertising, education, and politics. In addition, the world of digital content creation has massively expanded in the last few years, giving content creators and editors far more opportunities to stake a place for themselves in the market, thanks to platforms like YouTube and Twitch. Learning to edit videos using Final Cut Pro will ensure that your content isn’t passed over for looking like it was produced by an amateur.

Read more about why you should learn Final Cut Pro

How to Learn Final Cut Pro

Many different options are available to students who want to learn how to use Final Cut Pro. They can enroll in live instruction courses to receive guided training, control the pace of their lessons with on-demand courses, or experiment with Final Cut Pro using free video training tutorials. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, so students must decide for themselves which option is best for them. To help students make this decision, Noble Desktop provides users with the Classes Near Me search tool, which they can use to find all of the Final Cut Pro classes they can attend.

Most students find that live instruction is the best way to learn a new skill. These classes pair students with experienced instructors who can guide them through the challenging early stages of learning a tool like Final Cut Pro. These courses, available in person and online, are ideal for students who want an immersive, guided experience in their Final Cut Pro education. These courses are also best suited for students learning Final Cut Pro for professional purposes. The drawback to these courses is that they tend to be the most expensive and time-consuming options. Both will require students to stick to a live classroom meeting schedule, and an in-person class will have a commute time. Online students won’t have to commute, but they won’t have access to a training center's computer labs and will miss out on one of the most significant advantages of in-person classes.

Students who can’t attend a live classroom session or want more flexibility in their training may want to consider enrolling in an on-demand Final Cut Pro course. These classes vary in style and cost, but they all have the advantage of letting students learn at their own pace. Some students with family or work obligations will need to space out their training and learn Final Cut Pro when they can. Some students will want to quickly pick up some of the program's basic skills and not wait for a seat to open up in a live course. On-demand classes give these students the freedom to learn Final Cut Pro skills when best for them, in the manner they choose. The drawback to these classes is that learning professional video editing skills is as much about learning techniques as learning the tools. This means that without a live instructor to help guide them, students could be learning how to use Final Cut Pro without learning how and why they should make certain cuts and edits.

Finally, some students may consider taking advantage of free online tutorials and training seminars. These tutorials, such as Noble’s Getting Started in Video Editing course and the compilation of video tutorials on the Video Editing Playlist on their official YouTube page, are great places for students to start learning the basics of editing videos using Final Cut Pro. These free tutorials are useful because they carry a minimal risk for students and can be paused and returned as a student’s availability changes. If you aren’t sure that film editing is the right path for you, video tutorials are a good place to explore the programs and see if more training is the right answer. The drawback to these courses is that they will be less complete than a paid training course, so students who discover that they want to learn about Final Cut Pro will need to enroll in more immersive training programs.

Read the full guide on how to learn Final Cut Pro.

Free Introductory Final Cut Pro Course Online 

Some students may want to learn how to use a program like Final Cut Pro, but they are still hesitant about paying to enroll in a video editing training course. For these students, free online training seminars are a great way to explore the possibilities Final Cut Pro training offers without immediately committing to an expensive training program. These free training resources will give students the freedom to experiment with Final Cut Pro and give them a valuable background in the basics of the program should they choose to continue with their Final Cut Pro training.

Noble Desktop understands that students may hesitate to jump head-first into professional skills training courses. To help ease them into online skills training, they offer a wide range of free video tutorials and seminars to help students begin to understand the kinds of lessons and projects they will work on in a professional learning environment. Students interested in learning the basics of Final Cut Pro should visit Noble’s free seminars page to view their Getting Started in Video Editing seminar. This free course will give students a detailed overview of video editing projects' basic techniques and tools. Once they’ve taken advantage of these seminars, students can visit the Video Editing and Motion Graphics playlist on Noble’s official YouTube page to view more videos covering these tools and techniques.

Students can find additional free tutorials through providers like Udemy and Coursera. Apple also offers free resources, templates, and training videos for new Final Cut Pro users.

Read about more free Final Cut Pro videos and online tutorials.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

Final Cut Pro is designed to be an accessible, user-friendly video editing program that amateur video editors can pick up and begin experimenting with quickly. Final Cut Pro is ideal for beginners and experienced video editors since the program accommodates a diverse user base. Even though it is user-friendly, Final Cut Pro is still a deep and complex program, meaning that those looking to become expert video editors will likely need more training and practice time.

There are no technical prerequisite skills to learning Final Cut Pro. However, users will want to be comfortable using computers for complicated tasks, particularly having multiple files, folders, and applications open simultaneously and navigating multiple interfaces. In addition, since Final Cut Pro is exclusive to macOS machines, students will want to ensure that they have access to a computer that meets the system requirements to run Final Cut Pro.

Final Cut Pro has an up-front cost to purchase a license to the program. At the time of writing, a license to Final Cut Pro costs $299.99, though up to six family members can access the application through linked Apple accounts. Apple offers a free trial version of the complete program, but no free version is available for long-term use.

Read about how difficult it is to learn Final Cut Pro.

How Does Learning Final Cut Pro Compare to Other Applications?

Final Cut Pro is most directly comparable with the other major video-editing software designed with a public audience in mind, Adobe Premiere Pro. Both programs give creatives the tools they will need to edit videos and work on elaborate creative projects. Their features are comparable, and your preference is likely to come down to whether you are more comfortable working with Apple products (such as having an iPhone to shoot cinematic video files) or Adobe products (such as having experience with other Creative Cloud applications that can enhance your video editing work). Premiere Pro is slightly more common in professional video editing, but it is not so ubiquitous as to make it a mistake to learn Final Cut Pro.

The most significant logistical difference between Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro is that Final Cut Pro is only available on macOS devices, meaning that users who don’t have access to an Apple machine will likely need to default to Premiere Pro. Final Cut Pro also has an up-front cost (of about $300), whereas Premiere Pro requires users to pay a monthly subscription fee (between $20 and $60 a month, depending on the packages and services a user opts to license). Final Cut Pro will have higher initial and potentially lower long-term costs.

Premiere Pro can also be licensed as part of a larger Adobe Creative Cloud package, which will give users access to programs like Adobe After Effects (for 3D animation), Illustrator (for vector graphics drawing), and a slew of other programs. This can be ideal for users who want to use many different software applications for their creative work, but it can also be expensive and overwhelming.

Students interested in learning more about Adobe Premiere Pro should consult Noble’s Learn page for that program.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn Final Cut Pro

Students looking to learn how to use Final Cut Pro have a lot of options available to choose from. Picking the correct training course can be difficult for students, especially those new to programs like Final Cut Pro. While there is no “one size fits all” answer, as a general rule, students with professional aspirations will want to learn how to use Final Cut Pro through guided, live instruction. In contrast, students who want to improve their video editing skills without starting a new career will be more likely to want to take advantage of lighter, self-paced instruction options.

Students hoping to build a career using their Final Cut Pro training will want to enroll in a career-focused certificate program, like the Video Editing Certificate program offered through Noble Desktop. These classes may appear time-consuming and expensive, but they are designed to help students build long-term earning potential by opening up new career doors in video editing. These courses focus on professionalization and skills development, which will pay dividends in the long term but will require students to commit to that long-term to reap the benefits.

Students who aren’t ready to shift to a new career but still want to learn the finer points of using a program like Final Cut Pro can enroll in a skills bootcamp, such as Noble’s Final Cut Pro Bootcamp. Courses like these will give students hands-on experience working with Final Cut Pro, but they will focus more on technical skills and tools than professionalization and career skills. These courses are ideal for students who want to edit their projects professionally and efficiently but aren’t prepared to turn video editing into a career.

Students interested in learning video editing but still aren’t sure that the field is right for them may want to consider taking advantage of free tutorials. These tutorials, like Noble’s Getting Started in Video Editing seminar, provide students with high-level overviews of the field, its tools, and its philosophies. Students taking these courses will get comfortable with the basic functions of Final Cut Pro and get a bird’s eye view of the kind of work that professional editors are tasked with. Still, they won’t get bogged down in incredibly detailed lessons. These courses are perfect for students just looking to experiment with Final Cut Pro because they don’t come with a significant commitment. Students who continue their training will be able to use these skills, ensuring that this training doesn’t go to waste. 

Learn Final Cut Pro with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Students looking to learn how to edit videos using Final Cut Pro have many options available through Noble Desktop. These courses, offered at Noble’s Manhattan campus or through live online instruction, offer students the opportunity to learn the skills they need to start a career in video editing. Students will receive hands-on experience working with Final Cut Pro in classes taught by experienced professionals with years of video editing experience. Even online, class sizes are kept small, ensuring that students won’t be competing with each other to get the attention of their instructor, who can provide them with real-time feedback and assistance. Plus, all of Noble’s courses come with the option to retake the class within a year of a student’s initial enrollment, giving students even more time to work closely with their instructors and receive direct Final Cut Pro instruction. 

For students looking to learn the ins and outs of Final Cut Pro, Noble offers a Final Cut Pro Bootcamp. This course will teach students how to use the basic and advanced features of Final Cut Pro, ensuring that students leave with a complete understanding of what the program is capable of. Students will learn the fundamental principles of film editing, such as how to clip video files, combine those clips, and how to insert transitions between clips. Then, they will work with Final Cut Pro’s more advanced video editing features and learn skills such as chroma-key replacement, multi-camera editing, color correction, and altering footage speed. These lessons will train students to begin editing their videos or compiling a demo reel for a professional editing portfolio. Students taking this course online must ensure they have access to a copy of Final Cut Pro and a macOS device that can run Final Cut Pro.

Students looking for a more career-focused training program to help them break into the world of video editing should consider Noble’s Video Editing Certificate program. This course is built with student professionalization in mind. Rather than learning basic video editing skills, students will learn all major film editing software applications, including Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, and After Effects. These training courses will ensure that students are comfortable with every aspect of video editing and ready to work on nearly any project. In addition, since these are career-focused courses, students will receive professionalization training, including one-on-one career mentorship sessions, professional demo reel development seminars, and hands-on training with real-world editing projects. This course is an immersive experience designed to take students from amateur to professional video editors.

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