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Simple Guide to FCP X: How To Add Effects in 3 Steps

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Jun 11, 2024• Proven solutions

There are two broad categories of effects in Final Cut Pro X: Inspector effects and Effects Browser effects.

I've written previously about how to use Inspector effects to create a picture-in-picture effect, among many other effects available to us in Final Cut Pro. In this article, I want to show you how to apply an effect to a clip, modify that effect, temporarily turn that effect on or off, or delete it entirely.

This is a basic tutorial about Apple Final Cut Pro X, professional video editing software. However, if video editing is new to you, consider Wondershare Filmora for Mac. This is a powerful but easy-to-use tool for users just starting out. Download the free trial version below.

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How to Apply Effects to Video in Final Cut Pro X

Find and apply an effect

Here is our clip - a fearsome polar bear.

add effects in fcp

To apply an effect, first select the clip in the Timeline.

add effects in fcp

Then, click this icon in the Toolbar to open the Effects Browser (or type Cmd + 5).

add effects in fcp

The Browser, like all the effects browsers, lists categories of effects on the left, a search box at the bottom to use for searching for the names of effects, and effects for each category on the right.

add effects in fcp

Here, for example, I've selected the Blur category, with my cursor near the Gaussian blur effect. (Gaussian blur is the best effect to use when you want a clip to look blurry.)

To apply an effect, do one of two things:

  • Drag the effect from the Browser onto the clip you want to change.
  • If the clip, or clips, are selected, double-click the effect in the Browser to apply it.

Modify an effect

To modify an effect, click this icon in the Toolbar to open the Inspector (or type Cmd + 4).

add effects in fcp

Click the Video tab in the Inspector. Effects from the Effects Browser are always listed at the top of the Inspector.

add effects in fcp

Grab a slider and drag it to see what happens. For example, to make an image blurrier, drag the Amount slider to the right. To lessen the effect, drag it to the left.

add effects in fcp

Disable and delete an effect

To temporarily disable an effect, without deleting it, click the blue box so that it turns gray.

add effects in fcp

To enable an effect, click the gray box so it turns blue again.

To delete an effect, click the name of the effect - in this example: Gaussian - and press the big Delete key.

add effects in fcp

The effect will be deleted from the selected clip.

Extra credit

You can apply, modify, even delete the same effect to multiple clips by first selecting all the clips you want to change in the Timeline then adding, changing the settings, or deleting an effect in the Inspector.


The process of applying effects is the same for all effects you apply from the Effects Browser. In future articles I'll show you how to use this technique to create a wide variety of different effects in Final Cut Pro X.

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Benjamin Arango
Benjamin Arango is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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