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Are you waiting for your camera team to return with extra footage to fill a story gap, or are you motivated by the characters in Delicious Peace to write a fictional story. Final Cut Pro can't really help with that, can it? Well, with the generated item in Final Cut Pro X called Placeholders, you can literally hold the place for incoming footage or storyboard a script idea. Sounds promising, doesn't it? Let's take a look at how it works. In the Project Library let's create a new project inside Chapter 06, let's call this 06-01_Storyboards.
Because it's an empty project, we are going to want to edit a dummy clip, if you will, just to set the project settings. Next we are going to want to open our Generators browser, and this is where different items that Final Cut X generates on its own appears. We are going to want to look at the Elements category of the generated items. Notice there's an item called Placeholder. To add that to the project, simply double-click it. Now let's zoom into the timeline a little bit, we don't need our starter clip anymore so we can delete that, now we just have this Placeholder clip.
Notice that we can skim through and nothing moves, it's a static image. But it does represent something, so if you needed to communicate visually with a team or your Director of Photography, your DP, about what you wanted to shoot, this one will be a great way to do it. So we can make changes though to this particular shot, select it and then go to your Inspector. And in the Inspector window click the Generator tab. In the Generator tab there are certain options. There is a lot of information that's vying for attention up here in the interface, so I am going to close the Event Library, and now we can have a little bit more room for the images we want to focus on.
So, if we again click on the clip that's in the project and the Generator tab, we see that we have some options regarding framing. We can change whether we're looking at the people in the frame as a Close-up or a Long Shot, Medium Shot; let's go with the Medium Long to get started. You also have a choice about the number of people in the shot. And two people is a good option. Do you want two men talking? If you were looking to replace one or more of the coffee growing clips, there were times when men were working together; there are other times when women were working together.
With this project we'll do one woman and one man. Right now, we are seeing them against a pastoral background. We could also throw them right in the middle of downtown, or put them in an urban scene. Just put in limbo if you're not sure, if you don't want to commit, or put them in the mountains. Again, for this little project let's put them in a distant city. We can also decide what the weather is going to be like and a little bit of the time of day with a sunrise or a sunset.
Let's make it a cloudy day; that'll add some nice clouds into the sky. Well, we have them definitely outside against the background of the distant city with some clouds, but we can very easily tuck them away inside by clicking the Interior box. And this shows us the choices that we made about the background and the weather, but it clearly puts them inside. Now notice that a box appears if we want to add notes to this, maybe camera direction or possible script note, we simply click the box.
Now I'm going to select this text by double-clicking, and have a little fun with a slightly suspenseful script. What'd you do with the money? Now if we want to indicate that the person who is speaking is the man, we can drag the text box to position it on his side of the screen. You can also make changes to text by clicking the Text tab in the Inspector window. You can change the size, you can also change the alignment, notice right now it seems to be justified left and right but when I click the Left Margin justify, it aligns the text to the left.
Now this may be a great clip to re- create if we wanted to allow the woman to speak, and we have a choice, we can either go and start from scratch with a brand new Placeholder clip, or we can copy this clip, and I'll just go to Edit and Copy, and then we can paste it, and we have some things already set. For example, we have the fact that there's two people, and we have the type of location, the distant city, we have the clouds in the sky and we even have the same text.
So what we can do now is just go in and double-click on the text. Another way you can change the text though, is in the Text tab. So I can come up here and select this and type what the woman might say. Don't worry, it's safe. Now, as I did before, if I want to indicate that the woman is talking, or perhaps if you want to create a camera direction for that particular person to zoom into this person for example, you can just simply position or resize the text box.
Let's add another Placeholder clip. So again, since we've already copied one I can simply put my playhead where I want to paste it, and press Command+V to paste. And if we're going to use this copy/paste approach, I can go ahead and close my Generated items browser. Now I want to make changes to this. So I am going to go ahead and select the Placeholder clip, the third one, and this time I am going to change my framing, and I am going to make this a Medium Shot, I am going to make it one person, and it's going to be just the man. So now we are going to focus and zoom in a little bit on the man and we are going to give the man a different line.
And again you can add that line directly on the viewer or in the Text tab. And the man is a little frustrated by the woman's response, Now wait just a minute. And we need one more response from the woman, so again in order to preserve some of the choices we've already made, I am going to just simply copy one of the preceding clips and make changes to it. This will be one person; it'll be just the woman, and let's zoom in close to her so that we have a little variety of framing.
But notice all the other choices are exactly as we want them. In her text box let's write her comment. So if we wanted to then play this, or at least cut from one to the next using our downward arrow, we can get a sense of how this flows visually and whether we like the feel of it, and whether we might want to share this idea with whoever's going to be going out to shoot the additional material you need to continue with your story.
Storyboarding is a great way to ensure that you and your team are on the same page; that you're capturing ideas and expressing those ideas visually. With the additional features in Final Cut Pro's placeholder, you can literally start developing your ideas before your pen hits the page.
- Identifying story elements
- Finding the essence of a story
- Importing folders and stills as keyword collections
- Using keywords to make clips accessible
- Prepping clips for editing
- Developing story diversity
- Sculpting the story within the timeline
- Fine-tuning edits
- Organizing separate story segments into independent storylines
- Recording a narration track
- Adding sound effects
- Applying effects to enhance story elements
- Adding freeze frames