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6 Must-Have FCPX Effects Presets for Video Editors

Joe Frederick

Use these effects presets to save time in FCPX. Create an effect once, add it with a click forever! 

FCPX allows editors to create their own video and audio effects presets. This facet of the software is a real time-saver, because once you’ve created your effect (or a combination of effects), using it again takes only a simple click.

Before we look at our list of six must-have effects presets, let’s look at the easy nuts and bolts of working with them.


Getting Started With Effects Presets

Saving an effect preset is straightforward. Simply create the effect on a particular clip, click File, then navigate to Save Video Effects Preset or Save Audio Effects Preset.

A new window will appear, giving you the option to select which effects you want to save in this preset. It also gives you the option to select a category to save the preset under.

I suggest creating your own category, as well as giving it a title that starts with an underscore (so it appears first in the effects panel). Again, once a preset is created, all you have to do to apply it is select a clip and double click the effect. (You can drag and drop the effect onto a shot, too.)


6 Must-Have FCPX Effects Presets

With all of that out of the way, here are six time-saving, efficiency-boosting effects presets I created. All of these presets can be modified to better suit any clip you choose, though you may find they work successfully without any modification.


1. Sharpen 1.5

Adding a degree of sharpness to a video clip reinforces any lines or edges in the image, causing it to look more defined. However, the default value for Sharpen in FCPX is 2.5. This is far too high for many of the cameras I work with, and it can result in an over sharpened look. Using a value of 1.5 simply produces a far more flattering result. You might even want to create variations of this effect — Sharpen 0.5, Sharpen 1, etc.


2. Vignette

There’s no need to laboriously recreate a vignette every time you want to use one. Instead, create a vignette on a shot, click Save Video Preset, and save it with an appropriate name. Don’t forget, you can create variations of this effect — harsh vignette, light vignette, etc.

It’s worth noting that your vignette needs to be specific to the resolution of the footage you’re using. A vignette created for 4k footage won’t work correctly for a 1080p clip; the effect will land outside the image. So, consider creating a few variations based on resolution as well.


3. Zoom In

It seems strange that FCPX doesn’t have this preset built in. Fortunately, it’s super-simple to create — just add a scale keyframe at the beginning and end of a shot. For the second keyframe, make sure your value is greater than the value of the first. I suggest using 100% and 110%.

Once you have saved this preset, you can add it to any clip you want with just a click. Once applied, all you need to do is open the clip’s video animation settings and drag the second keyframe to the end of the clip. As with the previous presets, consider creating a few variations — gentle zoom, big zoom, zoom out, etc.


4. Specific Camera Basic Grade

I’ve been editing a lot of Cannon C300 footage recently, so I created a C300 Basic Grade Preset. All you have to do is create a fairly neutral grade on the clip of your choice, and then save it as an effect preset.

One of the fantastic things about FCPX is the ability to preview saved grades — simply select a clip and hover your mouse over the effect. This technique alone has rapidly increased my grading efficiency.


5. Gain 5

Creating audios presets can be transformative to your editing. The one I use most frequently is Gain 5 (gain effect with gain value at 5).

If I’m working with audio that’s been recorded too quietly, I can quickly add Gain 5 to fix it. After that, I can use the Raise/ Lower Volume keyboard shortcut to adjust the volume to where I want it. Before creating this preset,  I would have to add the gain effect and type in various values until I reached my desired volume.


6. Voice EQ

Here’s another effect that I (thankfully) no longer have to recreate over and over. These presets for male and female voice EQ are wildly helpful when working with dialogue. Check out this tutorial for some solid vocal EQ insight. 


Using these presets in FCPX has dramatically increased my editing productivity. As I said before, you may need to make some quick modifications to make them suit your needs. Just take them for a spin to see which ones can help your workflow most.

Here are a few more resources created to help you get more from FCPX: