It might not be the Minority Report 'air GUI' but you can control a lot of the features within Final Cut Pro X with just your voice. Could you do a complete edit without having to touch the keyboard?

If you've used FCP for a while, the chances are you've turned on the VoiceOver tool in Universal Access by mistake and had Fred or Victoria read out an instruction to you. The speech integration in OSX goers further than that, it's a two way trip.

control_fcpx_speech4A few years ago we looked at controlling FCP with the built in speech recognition features found in the OS. If you want to activate it, go to the Speech panel in System Preferences and toggle speakable items on. You should see that round icon with a microphone float on top of your windows as above.

With the FCP7/Snow Leopard combination, control seemed to be a bit limited, access being restricted to the menu items only. The dropdown menu that contains the custom commands for applications would empty once FCP became the front window.

So with a fresh install of Lion, we decided to have another look, this time with FCPX.




Imagine our delight when a long list of available commands appeared in the front window section. You can actually navigate through FCPX quite easily using the instructions. You might have noticed that it is probably easier to use a keyboard shortcut than to speak out "Append the selected clip to the primary or selected storyline."

What this does show is that an external app or OS is in control using direct commands within FCPX, not just surfing the menu structure. This brings a whole new level of operability to FCPX as automation will be possible from third party applications.

A simple example would be that dedicated control surfaces could be programmed for commands. More complicated uses could be the automated editing of material such as versioning promos or idents. With the close integration of Motion5, automatic text insertion or replacement could be possible. 

There will be many, many uses.

"Could you do a complete edit without having to touch the keyboard?"  The answer is probably yes, but are you sure you would want to? Also to get the commands accepted, you have to hold the ESC key down to activate the recognition. This stops the machine completely re-editing your masterpiece when the wife phones you mid edit to remind you to pickup some milk on the way home.


An alternative is to use a user definable keyword to preface instructions, so yes you've guessed: "Hal, Play full screen" is possible right now!

I think the conclusion of the story is that this is another indicator of a lot more being hidden under the hood of FCPX that we haven't seen yet. 

© Peter Wiggins 2011

Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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