Three Little-Known Effects in Apple Final Cut Pro

Posted on by Larry

Over the last few weeks, I’ve explored a variety of effects in Apple Final Cut Pro. This week, though, I want to showcase three different effects you may not have played with.

In this tutorial, I’ll illustrate what these can do and ways to improve each effect by customizing settings.

The source image for these first two effects comes from Leigh Reeves. It’s the Yarra River, in Melbourne, Australia, just after sunset.

Yarra River image courtesy of Leigh Reeves.

Let’s see what we can do with this.


Here’s the same shot with Effects > Tiling > Perspective Tile applied. Notice how this can quickly become an animated background – especially if the movement inside the clip is slow.

The default settings aren’t bad, but they will look better if you use the small white dot at the end of the rotation arm (red arrow) to rotate the image to change the perspective. This emphasizes the “flying back into the distance” effect.

With the effect selected in the Video Inspector, drag the white circle in the middle of the Viewer to change the position of the image to create something that looks good to you.

Finally, modify the Top Left numbers slightly to stretch the image to make it fly back faster.


Effects > Blur > Focus adds a gradually increasing blur to an image. This reinforces the tile going back into the distance.

With the effect selected in the Video Inspector, drag the white circle in the middle of the Viewer (red arrow) into whichever lower corner seems to be the best place to start the perspective. For me, that’s the lower-left corner.

Next, gently tweak the Center > X & Y numbers (using decimals smaller than ±1) so the in-focus area matches the position of the white circle.

Finally, tweak Emphasis, Width and Height to reinforce the illusion of focus flying back with the image.

NOTE: Another way to use the Focus blur is on a background behind a chroma-keyed foreground. The Focus blur provides a more believable look.


Effects > Distortion > Water Pane turns any scene tragic. It inserts the illusion of the subject looking through a window pane with rain drops falling on it.

In this example, I decreased the size of the Vignette and the amount of Vignette Falloff. I also darkened the Vignette.

To help sell the illusion, the default settings for this effect also:

This is very easy to add and totally changes the mood of any scene. It works best when the actor does not make eye contact with the camera.


Effects are always fun to play with – and now you have something else to distract you during these last days of summer.

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