fcp.co logo transparent
fcp clapperboard

The unofficial graphic enhanced manual for FCPX


***Updated with link to hard copy version***

What a brilliant idea from Edgar Rothermich, build a manual for Final Cut Pro X that is light on text and heavy on the graphics. We like this a lot because as Edgar correctly states with the phrase 'A picture is worth a thousand words.'

Now available on Amazon in hard copy for $14.99

Such a simple idea but a great concept. There is nothing more we hate than sitting down with a huge instruction book and wading through it. Edgar has put together this 'graphically enhanced manual' for FCPX to make the swotting up on software less of a chore. It looks like he has done a rather good job of it too.

Maybe the most amazing thing is that the 62 page manual Final Cut Pro X- How it Works is available to download for just $1.99, a printed version from Amazon is coming out at the end of August for $14.99. A second advanced manual will be available soon.

We think this is a bit of a no-brainer purchase for anybody who wants to learn FCPX or indeed editors like us who always look for new tips and tricks from other sources.

I'm sure Edgar won't mind us reprinting the story behind the manual with a few screenshots.

"During my senior year at the University of Arts I was teaching technical courses as a tutor at the sound engineering department and after graduation I continued my courses as a faculty member. I found out that I could teach my students the technical concepts much better if I used illustrations and gave them visual representations of some difficult topics.

When I started to work for Christopher Franke I was confronted with his arsenal of synthesizers and computer programs and a large stack of manuals I had to work through. It became even more clear how important it was to have a good manual that explains the basic concepts before delving into the fine details. The poorly written manuals always started with “go to that menu, press that button and then do ...”

Often an application or an electronic device has features that are not even explained in the manual. You have to figure out the functionality by trial and  error. The biggest shortcoming of most manuals is that they’re too text-heavy. "A picture’s worth a thousand  words" is my motto. Based on my experiences and sometimes frustrations I always create my own personal manuals for programs and devices that I use the most. Sometimes they’re just notes of important information or summaries to quickly review at a later time and sometimes more elaborate papers.

In 2004 I was confronted with the same situation: Learning a new program with its big manual. After nearly 20 years of using Cubase to compose and record my music, I decided to finally switch to Logic. In the process of learning that new app I once again created my personal manuals. But when I realized how many other Logic users faced the same struggle to understand the app I decided to start making those manuals available on my website as Graphically Enhanced Manuals (GEM)."




Many thanks to Jon Chappell for the tip from LAFCPUG

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!


Log in to comment