One of the advantages of shooting video in 4K is that it allows you to zoom and pan within a 1080p project frame while still maintaining 1080p video quality. It’s great for doing faux-panning, or zooming in Final Cut Pro X to highlight specific parts of the frame without reducing video quality. As you might imagine, using such a technique is particularly beneficial for hands-on video tutorials when referencing specific items in frame.

I recently created a custom set of areas to make it quicker to zoom with greater consistency throughout a project. If you’re someone who shoots video in 4K, but delivers in a lesser resolution, then you might considering creating your own custom set of areas as well. Watch our hands-on tutorial inside for the details.

If you import 4K footage inside a 1080p project, you can zoom in 200% while still maintaining 1080p quality. With this in mind, 200% is the base zoom level that I used for all zooms in this tutorial.

I divided the 4K frame into nine different sections: upper-left, upper-mid, upper right, middle-left, etc. I mapped each section to a number 1-9, with 1 being the upper-left frame, and 9 being the lower right frame. This allows me to easily visualize where the zoom will occur when applying the effect.

Video walkthrough

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For a 16:9 video, an upper left 200% zoom should feature an x axis value of 960px and a Y axis value of -540px. The rest of the values are below. This will differ if you decide to use an aspect ratio other than 16:9.

  • 1: x=960, y=-540
  • 2: x=0, y=-540
  • 3: x=-960, y=-540
  • 4: x=960, y=0
  • 5: x=0, y=0
  • 6: x=-960, y=0
  • 7: x=960, y=540
  • 8: x=0, y=540
  • 9: -960,y=540

Nine area effects 

Creating the presets are as simple as setting the values and using the Save as preset button at the bottom of the Inspector. Save each preset based on the number assigned, which keeps each zoom effect in proper order based on location. You should also consider creating a special category for your presets. This will allow you to quickly access your effects without any other items cluttering the view.

Inspector values for a bottom-right zoom effect

As you go about referencing different items in the frame, you can quickly draw attention to specific areas by applying one of the nine area presets. Just be sure to apply cuts to the area you wish to highlight so that the frame resumes its default view after the desired highlight is over.

Watch our hands-on video tutorial above for an easy-to-follow explanation of the entire process, along with a quick step-by-step walkthrough. You can also download my area effects presets here.

Do you shoot video in 4K? If so, do you deliver the final product at native resolution, or do you deliver at a lesser resolution to take advantage of the extra leeway for executing artificial pans and zooms? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts, questions and suggestions.

See our previous Final Cut Pro tutorials for more know-how:

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About the Author

Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.