As most editors know, customizing your NLE keyboard settings can improve efficiency in how you use that tool. Final Cut Pro X already gives you a large number of existing commands mapped to the keyboard, but, as with any NLE, they are not all in places that work best for every editor. Therefore, it’s preferable to customize the toolset for what will work best for you.
The choices among the basic keys plus the modifier keys are extensive, but interestingly the “F” or function keys are not already mapped. This leaves you fertile ground to add your own commands without changing the standard map. Of course, the number of function keys you have depends on your keyboard. The Apple extended keyboard (the one with the number keypad) has 19 function keys. The smaller Bluetooth keyboards only have 12.
In my case, I’ve decided to map a few useful tools to some of the F-keys, as well as the shifted-function positions. Most of these are interface-related, but not entirely. FCPX doesn’t let you create and save custom workspace layouts like FCP7 or Adobe Premiere Pro CC, however, there are a lot of interface panels that can be displayed or hidden depending on the task at hand. By mapping these tools to the function keys, you get nearly the same effect as swapping workspaces, because it reconfigures your screen layout at the click of a button. Unfortunately you still can’t move modules from where Apple has chosen to have them appear.
I work with dual screens more often than not in a fixed edit bay. This lets me get the most out of the various FCPX windows and modules. If you own both an Apple laptop and an iPad, the Duet Display app also enables you to pair the two devices into a dual display arrangement. This eliminates the need to drag along an external screen for location editing gigs. Therefore, you can still get the maximum benefit of these layouts.
Here are the commands I’ve currently mapped. These work for me and, of course, might change in the future as I tweak my workflow. You’ll note that a number of these commands already have existing keyboard locations, so mapping these to a function key is redundant. Quite true, but I find that placing these concisely into the F-key row makes switching between them easier and you’ll be more likely to use them as a result.
The basic F-key row (no modifier key):
F1 – Show Events on Second Display
F2 – Show/Hide Viewer on Second Display
F3 – Show/Hide Event Viewer
F4 – Show/Hide Inspector
F5 – Show/Hide Effects Browser
F6 – Show/Hide Timeline Index
F7 – Show/Hide Video Scopes
F8 – Replace from Start*
F9 – Replace from End*
*These last two selections are edit commands.
The F-key row plus the Shift modifier:
Shift-F1 – Clip Appearance: Waveforms Only
Shift-F2 – Clip Appearance: Large Waveforms
Shift-F3 – Clip Appearance: Waveforms and Filmstrips
Shift-F4 – Clip Appearance: Large Filmstrips
Shift-F5 – Clip Appearance: Filmstrips Only
Shift-F6 – Clip Appearance: Clip Labels Only
As you can see, I use the shifted function keys to switch between the various timeline appearance settings that are available from the lower right pop-up menu. It’s nice that once you adjust the size of the filmstrips or waveforms using the slider, that setting stays until changed. Therefore, you can go between a large waveform view and the thin clip label (aka “chiclet”) view, simply by switching between these function keystrokes.
Customized keyboard maps can be saved and recalled for easy access. You can also create more than one customized keyboard preset.
©2016 Oliver Peters