Controlling Final Cut with your iPhone

FCP Control- Control Final Cut with your iPhoneAlmost a year ago, Scott Simmons from The Editblog wrote a blog with suggestions for video apps for the iPhone. One caught my attention, and I’ve been working on it off and on ever since. And now, with a new update from Snatch, we’re a bit closer.

To get this working, you’ll need to buy ($5.99) and install Snatch (link to iTunes store). Then, you’ll need to download the Snatch Server on your computer here. Snatch uses bonjour, making it pretty simple to set up and use (and can also be used without bounjour). It has cursor control, scrolling, an app switcher and a keyboard with customizable screen. The latest release made it possible to easily share screens. So once you have it set up, you can install a screen I quick threw together just for you ;-). You can download FCP Control 1.0 here (right click, and save as).

On your iPhone, launch Snatch, and go to the “Keys” tab, and hit “Edit”, and then “Load Screen,” making sure that you are connected to your computer. On your computer, navigate to where you saved fcpcontrol1-0.remote and select it. You’ll be prompted to overwrite the current screen. Say yes, and Wa-la! You can easily control Final Cut now.

I’ve decided that playback is probably the most useful thing, so you won’t be able to do any actual editing. Features I’ve included are:

  • Go to previous marker
  • Add a marker
  • Go to next marker
  • Play in to out
  • Play to out
  • Go to in
  • Set in point
  • Set out point
  • Go to out point
  • Rewind
  • Reverse
  • Pause
  • Play
  • Fast forward
  • Toggle play/pause

The buttons simply send a keystroke to the computer, which will act as shortcuts in Final Cut, so you’ll have to have the keyboard set up to the default. If you don’t, you can simply change the keystrokes on this screen to whatever you wish.

If anyone is a GUI designer, let me know- I’d love to make this look a bit less, well, utilitarian.

Hope you get good use out of this, and let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

Posted in FCP Control
15 comments on “Controlling Final Cut with your iPhone
  1. Scott Simmons says:

    Very cool. I will try this soon.

  2. Cail Young says:

    Any way you could leverage the touchscreen to provide jog-shuttle control?

  3. James says:

    Thanks, Scott!

    @Cail- Ooo… good question. Final Cut doesn’t have a way of receiving smooth inputs like what would be required for jogging and shuttling. The best way I’ve (and what I’m doing here) is simply ending the shortcuts. So what you’d have to do is send the left and right arrow, and j, k, and l, pretty cleverly to get the right effect. It wouldn’t be possible to pull off inside of Snatch currently, so there’d have to be a dedicated iPhone app for that. If someone pulls it off, I will be very happy, though.

  4. ron says:

    Its cool but can’t see ever using it it

  5. Shane Ross says:

    Yeah, I agree with Ron. Neat concept, but what is the point?

  6. James says:

    Shane and Ron-
    I definitely see what you mean. It’s not something that you can use all the time. It won’t replace your keyboard. I’ve used it when I want to be away from my desk, but still control it- watch from the client monitor behind me, etc.
    So yeah, the uses are limited, but I’ve found it occasionally useful.

  7. Alister says:

    Nice one bloke. This is spot on. Perfect for when you have been sitting close to the screen for the last 27 or so hours, and need to sit back from the desk and pretend to be the client. (Useful for when you are getting too close to the project). This would at least allow you to sit back on the couch, and look at the client screen whilst still maintaining the basic tools for playback and marking points of interest / concern.

  8. ez says:

    Just thinking about the jog/shuttle thing. I bought (but rarely use) a Shuttle Pro which has variable shuttle. Looking at the back end of it, it just uses the keyboard shortcuts for those – the lesser known Ctrl-F2 to F6 for back and Ctrl-F7 to 11 for forward shuttling. Maybe try that? It’s uses may be pretty specific, add teaching to the suggestions already mentioned here, but still pretty cool.

  9. James says:

    @ez – I just did a little test with those shortcut keys, and it kind of works.
    A couple of problems-
    The graphical user interface wouldn’t reflect where your finger is. So the wheels wouldn’t actually turn.
    Also, Snatch operates by sending the shortcut when you lift your finger, so it really wouldn’t operate like a jog shuttle. You’d have to tap the speed, then release.

    Good thought, though. I was really hoping it would work out.

  10. Alan Hatchett says:

    I think this might be useful for multicam editing. If you setup buttons that visually match the number of screens you have, whether 4 or 9 or 16, and then you tap the square on the iphone that corresponds to the angle you want to cut to. I always slip up and forgot which number on the keypad goes to which angle and have to fix it. If I had buttons on the iphone that were in the same place as the clips in Final Cut’s viewer, it would be easier.

  11. James says:

    Excellent idea. I’ve actually done this, and it is quite handy. Question is- should I make it audio AND video cuts, or just audio? I guess I could do different versions. I’ll see if I can get a chance to work on this.

  12. jules says:

    Nice idea, I blogged about you so hope I send you some useful traffic.

  13. Peter Stewart says:

    I think it’s a neat idea, a client brought it to my attention today when he spotted an article in Broadcast magazine.

    If you’ve got the facility it’s great for getting away from your monitor and timeline. Just today I was watching a couple of programmes for final approval through with said client… how many times did we find ourselves glancing at the timeline when we should have been paying attention to the show!

    I’m all for things that encourage us to step away from the timeline and watch what we’re cutting.

    If you’re still stuck for someone to help with UI design, I’m up for it.

  14. Mark Brown says:

    Hi Guys

    You’ll be pleased to know Editors Keys ( The worlds most popular editing keyboard set company, is about to release a dedicated iPhone App, which will allow full Final Cut control of:

    -Editing Shortcuts
    -Video Jog Shuttle
    -iPhone Video Preview

    And other options.

    The controller will also work with Avid, Vegas, Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic and others!

    Let me know if you would like more details.

  15. charles Lim says:

    they should really make one for color correction

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