The Basics: Clips, Sequences, and Projects
The key components of Final Cut Pro are clips, sequences, and projects.
is an individual section of a video, audio, or graphics file. All video, audio, and
graphics that you import into Final Cut Pro appear as clips. A clip can be the smallest
individual part of an edited program, analogous to a shot in a movie, or it can be an entire
program. How much or how little you capture in a clip is up to you.
is a series of clips edited together to create a program. Sequences can be up to
four hours long and contain as many clips as you need to tell your story. A sequence can
contain your entire edited program or be limited to a single scene. Final Cut Pro gives you
the flexibility to organize your edit however you like, with as many sequences as you need.
contains all the clips, sequences, and files that relate to a particular program or
programs. You can have more than one project open at a time—for example, if you’re
working on various programs at one time.
About Nonlinear and Nondestructive Editing
In the past, editing material and changing a project was a time-consuming process. With
video editors had to edit everything onto a tape sequentially, one shot after
another, from the beginning to the end. If you wanted to change a series of shots in the
middle of your edit, you had to reedit everything forward.
Along with the ubiquitous use of computers in video post-production, nonlinear,
nondestructive video-editing programs such as Final Cut Pro give you an amazing amount of
flexibility to edit and reedit your programs. Final Cut Pro is like a word processor for video,
letting you rearrange, copy, delete, and reformat the video clips that make up a video
program with ease.
The ability to edit non-sequentially is referred to as
. It’s possible because
Final Cut Pro captures the video clips you use as QuickTime files, directly to your hard disk.
Once all your source material is captured, you can freely assemble your sequence using
Final Cut Pro’s extensive tool set in any order you want. Because Final Cut Pro can access
your video files in any order, you can edit and make changes to your sequence at any point in
your program. If you want, you can even start from the end of your program and work your
way back to the beginning. At any time, you can easily cut, paste, add, and delete material
from any part of your sequence.
means that you can edit and make changes to a clip in Final Cut Pro
without affecting the originally captured media file stored on your hard disk. Clips within a
Final Cut Pro project are pointers to your captured source files, not the actual source files
Nearly all tools and functions in Final Cut Pro are nondestructive, and have no effect on the
media files you captured to disk. For example, if you edit a clip into a sequence and cut it
short, the segment you edited out is not gone forever. It can be edited back in at any time
because the source media file on disk has not been touched. Even if you delete an entire clip
inside of a project, it is still on your hard disk, stored in the folder to which you captured it,
until you drag it to the Trash in the Finder.
The three major exceptions to this are changing a clip’s timecode and reel number, and
certain operations performed with the Media Manager. Whenever you change the timecode
and reel number “item properties” for a clip, the change is saved to the original clip on your
hard disk. When you use certain destructive functions of the Media Manager, they can delete
footage from your hard disk.
The Video Creation Process in Final Cut Pro
The post-production process in Final Cut Pro involves four main steps: acquisition, editorial,
effects, and distribution.
Step 1: Acquisition
Acquisition refers not only to capturing video clips for use in your project, but also to
accumulating all the media you need to complete your project. Final Cut Pro allows you to
capture video and audio from a wide variety of sources, if you have the appropriate
hardware. You can also import a variety of QuickTime, audio, and graphics file formats. Once
they are imported, you can organize these clips in the Browser in a variety of ways using bins
One of the main steps of acquisition in Final Cut Pro is logging. In this process, you go
through all of your source tapes and identify the clips you may want to use in your project
before actually capturing them. To log your tapes, you need to use a camcorder or deck with
device control. (For more information on device control for video capture, see “Video
Capture Using Device Control” on page 209.) Logging gives you the opportunity to become
more familiar with your source material and to annotate clips that you may find useful.
Step 2: Editorial
This process involves taking the video you’ve captured, along with any audio or graphics you
imported, and turning these raw materials into an edited sequence of clips. Most editors start
with a rough cut, where they assemble all the clips for their program very quickly to provide
the general structure of their edit. Once that’s finished, they work on fine-tuning, adding the
polish and pizzazz desired for the final product. Editing in transitions such as wipes and
dissolves and adding music, voiceover, and sound effects are also a part of this process.
Step 3: Effects
With the timing of your edit largely completed, you can then add effects such as titles,
superimpositions, and filters. You can also add keyframes and motion effects for rotating,
resizing, and moving video and images. Final Cut Pro has a wide variety of video and audio
effects with parameters that can change over time.
Step 4: Distribution
The last step is deciding how you want to distribute your final product. Will you output your
program back to videotape? Do you want to send a high-resolution digital file to another
editing facility? Or do you want to compress your program for the web or CD-ROM?
Final Cut Pro lets you do all of these and more.
Before editing in Final Cut Pro, you must acquire all of the material you want to edit by
capturing or importing it.
m Logging is the process of identifying which shots on tape you want to capture to your disk
for use in editing.
m Capturing means getting source media from your camcorder or deck onto your
computer’s hard disk.
m Importing refers to copying files onto your computer’s hard disk, then importing the files
into a project in Final Cut Pro.
You can capture and import material into a project at any time. You may capture or import a
group of clips, start editing, and then add more clips incrementally to your project until you
have everything you need.
What’s a Codec?
Although you can capture uncompressed video into Final Cut Pro using the right video
capture card, often the level of quality that uncompressed video provides is
unnecessary. Especially when editing the first version of a program (referred to as an
offline edit), editors generally capture their clips as compressed QuickTime files using
one of a variety of codecs. Capturing your video clips in this way takes up less hard
disk space, allowing you to capture more clips to edit with.
Codec stands for COmpression DECompression. Codecs are extensions that work with
QuickTime to allow Final Cut Pro to capture, play back, and output different formats of
digital video using various levels of compression. QuickTime comes with numerous
codecs, such as DV-NTSC, DV-PAL, Motion JPEG A and B, and Photo JPEG. Other
manufacturers’ capture cards may come with their own QuickTime codecs and drivers
that must be installed for the card to work properly.
The codec you choose for capture depends on the format of video you shot and the
video capture interface you’re using. Several codecs are commonly used for fullresolution
m Apple DV-NTSC and DV-PAL: The Apple DV codec is used to capture video digitally
from FireWire devices such as camcorders, decks, or analog-to-DV converter boxes.
The Apple DV codec imports DV as YUV-encoded video, and Final Cut Pro
processes it that way as well, so that what you output has the same color and
brightness levels as what you captured. The Apple DV codec has a fixed data rate of
m DVCPRO 50: This codec is used to capture video digitally from FireWire-enabled
DVCPRO 50–compatible camcorders and decks. Similar to the DV codecs, DVCPRO
50 is imported as YUV encoded video, but with less compression for a higher
quality picture. DVCPRO 50 has a fixed data rate of 7 MB/sec.
m Motion JPEG: There are two Apple M-JPEG codecs, M-JPEG A and M-JPEG B. These
are variable data rate codecs, similar to ones used by third-party video capture
cards. Motion JPEG is a “lossy codec,” meaning that you’ll get “artifacts” in your
final video. The severity of these artifacts depends on the data rate you choose.
Several capture and playback cards use Motion JPEG A or B for capture and export.
Check with the manufacturer of the capture card to find out which codec to use.
m OfflineRT using PhotoJPEG: The Photo JPEG codec is a highly compressed codec
that is suitable for offline quality edits.Capturing OfflineRT clips using the Photo
JPEG codec is an excellent way to capture a large number of clips that take up very
little hard disk drive space.
m Third-party codecs: There are several manufacturers of video capture cards; most
of them use variations of the Motion JPEG codec.
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Strategies for Logging and Capturing Video
There are three ways to capture video in Final Cut Pro. You can
m manually capture individual clips one by one with or without device control
m log clips using device control, then batch capture them individually or all at once
m capture the entire contents of a DV–format source tape, then use the DV Start/Stop
Detection command to break it into individual clips automatically
Your capture method depends on whether your video equipment has device control. Device
control lets you control your video equipment using Final Cut Pro’s transport controls
(including play, fast forward, reverse, and stop). If your equipment doesn’t support device
control, you must use the controls on the equipment to play your tapes manually. For more
information, see the documentation that came with your equipment.
Manual Video Capture Without Device Control
If you don’t have a video source with device control, such as a DV-format camcorder with
FireWire or a high-end video deck, then you must capture video manually. Provided you use
the right video capture interface, you can capture video from any source—VHS, 8 mm
videotape, or even live video from a camera—giving you a great deal of flexibility.
However, once you manually capture a clip, you can never recapture exactly the same clip
with the same In and Out points. If you need to recapture your clips for any reason, such as
to capture them at a higher resolution or to recreate an old project that you want to update,
you must reedit your program using slightly different footage.
If you manually capture clips, make sure you
m capture clips at the same resolution you plan to output
Since you can’t recapture your clips with the same In and Out points, you should capture
them at a high resolution using the data rate at which you want to output your project.
This way, you won’t have to recapture later.
m back up all of your source clips
If you back up your clips, your source material is always available for reediting. Because
video clips require a lot of disk space, you need to use a high-capacity backup format,
such as streaming tape (like Data DAT, Mammoth, DLT, AIT, and VXA), CD-ROM, or
To capture clips manually, you press the Play button on your video device, then click the
Capture Now button in the Log and Capture window. When your entire clip has been
captured, press Esc to stop capture. For detailed instructions, see “Using Capture Now
Without Device Control” on page 349.
Acquisition Strategies 209
Video Capture Using Device Control
The best and most efficient way to capture video is using device control. Whether you log
your clips first or simply capture them one by one, using device control to capture your
video clips with timecode gives you the most control over your video. The reel numbers and
timecode stored with your clips in Final Cut Pro record exactly which sections of the source
tapes clips are from, so you’ll always be able to recapture your clips.
Being able to recapture your clips whenever you need to frees you from having to back up
source clips, which take up a lot of disk space. As long as you have your Final Cut Pro project
file and your original source tapes, you’ll be able to recapture exactly the same clips.
For information on capturing clips using device control, see “Capturing Video and Audio” on
Methods of Device Control
There are two methods of device control: FireWire and serial. When properly set up and
calibrated, both are equally accurate.
m FireWire device control (also called IEEE 1394 or i.LINK)
Nearly every FireWire-capable camcorder and deck has device control, and some
consumer models are quite inexpensive, so anyone can work like a professional. Since
device control is transmitted using the same cable as the audio and video signals, FireWire
is extremely convenient.
m Serial device control (LTC or VITC via RS-232 or RS-422)
Serial device control uses industry-standard SMPTE timecode to control camcorders and
decks using a serial interface. Because of differences in camcorders and decks, serial
device control must be calibrated to achieve perfect frame accuracy. Camcorders and
decks that use serial device control are generally more expensive than those with FireWire
device control (although some equipment has both).
Note: There are other device control formats, such as VISCA and LANC. These are
consumer-level device control protocols and aren’t suitable for extensive editing and
For more information on DV and serial device control formats and how to connect them, see
“Using Serial Device Control” on page 49.
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When you capture using device control, you can log your footage beforehand. When you log
a tape, you watch your footage and select the starting and ending timecode numbers of each
section of tape that you want to use. You can then use this information to capture all of your
selections from tape at one time in a “batch capture.”
Capturing Automatically or Logging by Hand?
Final Cut Pro’s timecode break–detection features let you easily and cleanly capture the
entire contents of source tapes without inadvertently introducing timecode errors. You can
save a lot of time, especially when capturing DV clips, using the DV Start/Stop Detection
command to create markers at the boundaries of each shot, then turning each clip’s markers
in the Browser into subclips by choosing Modify>Make Subclips. For more information, see
Volume II, Chapter 7, “Using Markers and Subclips.” For more information about the “On
timecode break” option in the General tab of the User Preferences window, see “The
Importance of Avoiding Timecode Breaks” on page 332.
Can I Use iMovie to Capture DV Clips Automatically?
iMovie and Final Cut Pro capture DV-format video in different ways. When iMovie
captures DV clips, one at a time or by automatically capturing an entire tape and
breaking each shot into its own clip, all video and audio is saved to disk as DV Stream
files. When Final Cut Pro captures DV clips, they are saved as QuickTime video files
using the DV-NTSC or DV-PAL codec.
Final Cut Pro can recognize both DV Stream and QuickTime files, but the information
in these files is stored differently. DV Stream files encode the audio and video of a clip
together as one data stream, the way it’s stored on DV-format tape. In QuickTime files,
video and audio are separate tracks inside a single QuickTime movie file.
DV Stream files that are edited into a Final Cut Pro sequence must be rendered before
their audio plays back properly. QuickTime files require no rendering.
Also, video files captured using iMovie don’t have timecode. This makes it impossible
to recapture exactly the same clip twice, which may disrupt your workflow. If you must
use a clip captured using iMovie, it’s best to back it up when archiving your project, in
case you need it for future revisions.
Final Cut Pro can import projects created with iMovie 3 and later. For more
information, see “Opening an iMovie 3 Project in Final Cut Pro” on page 226.
Acquisition Strategies 211
There will still be times when logging your material by hand will be a better choice. For
example, if you have limited disk space, you may be forced to be more selective about which
clips you want to capture. If you know that there are only a few clips on a given reel that you
want to capture, it may also be faster to log a particular tape by hand.
Logging your material by hand also gives you the opportunity to view, name, and annotate
your clips individually, prior to capturing them. Even if you capture and sort the entire
contents of a source tape automatically, eventually you’ll still have to watch them all, naming
and annotating them one by one. Ultimately, there is no right way to do this, just what’s
fastest for you.
There are two ways you can log your clips: using the Log and Capture window in
Final Cut Pro or creating a batch capture list in a third-party application and importing it into
Final Cut Pro.
Using the Log and Capture Window in Final Cut Pro
Logging your tapes in Final Cut Pro is easy. If you’re set up properly for video capture, you
can use the transport controls (or the keyboard equivalents) in the Log and Capture window
to play your footage, tape by tape. Mark the In and Out points of a clip you want to capture,
then click the Log button. The specified clip is stored in your logging bin as an offline clip.
An offline clip represents material that hasn’t been captured yet. Offline clips are treated like
any other clip, but they have a red diagonal slash.
The log bin is the bin you specify all logged clips to be stored in. By default, your project is
the log bin, but you can create a specific bin within your project for storing captured clips.
For more information, see “Using Bins to Organize Your Clips” on page 248. For information
on logging, see “Logging Your Media” on page 331.
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Creating and Importing a Batch Capture List
You can also log your tapes using nothing more than a camcorder or deck with a timecode
display and a spreadsheet program or word processor. Enter a reel number, Media Start, Media
End, and clip name for each clip you want to log. Save this “batch capture list” as a text file, then
import it into Final Cut Pro. The result is a set of offline clips stored in your logging bin.
A batch capture list is frequently useful. Often, there is a written or electronic log of all the
shots on all the source tapes created during the shoot. This log may include information
about which clips the director liked, as well as notes about the various shots. All you need to
do is reformat this list for use in Final Cut Pro. You can also have a client or assistant editor
log your tapes in advance so you can focus your time and energy on working with good takes
For more information on importing batch capture lists, see “Importing a Batch List” on
Importing QuickTime Files
You can import material that’s already been captured or created as a QuickTime movie.
Examples of QuickTime movies you can import are
m footage captured from another computer
m stock footage from a CD-ROM or DVD collection
m 3D animation clips
m a special effect or composited clip from another editor or facility
You can import any QuickTime video clip as long as the codec it was compressed with is
installed on your computer. Since codecs are system software, you can install ones you don’t
have. For more information on importing QuickTime files, see “About Importing QuickTime
Files” on page 371.
Popular Codecs for Video File Exchange
You can use several video codecs in Final Cut Pro: Uncompressed, Animation, Apple M-JPEG,
JPEG, and third-party codecs. Although you can use clips compressed with different codecs
in your sequence, the only clips that play properly without rendering are those compressed
using the codec specified in your sequence preset (see “About Sequence Presets” on
page 119). Also, it’s more convenient to edit a clip that uses the same codec straight into
Note: Final Cut Pro supports both RGB and YUV (YCrCb) color spaces, depending on the
video codec used. When using the YUV color space, Final Cut Pro supports either 8- or 10-bit
This isn’t really a codec, but a way of storing QuickTime movies with no compression at all.
Since applying compression generally results in video artifacts, no compression guarantees
the highest quality. Unfortunately, it also guarantees enormous file sizes. Uncompressed
movies can consume up to 32 MB/sec. of video. They will not play back in real time on most
systems, making them useful primarily for file exchange.
Uncompressed movies can have an alpha channel. Alpha channels define levels of
transparency in your movie and are useful if you’re delivering an effects shot for use in
someone else’s composition. For more information on alpha channels, see Volume III,
Chapter 1, “Basic Compositing.”
Acquisition Strategies 215
The Animation codec was developed for computer-generated imagery, which often has large
areas of uniform color and little, if any, noise. It is a lossless codec, which means it doesn’t
degrade quality or add artifacts to your video when it applies compression. For more
information, see “More About Video Compression” on page 410.
Video footage, which generally has more grain, noise, and variations of texture and color
than animated material, may not be compressed as much with the Animation codec as with
other methods. Because some lossless compression is better than none, this codec is used
more frequently than Uncompressed.
Note: Animation movies will not play back in real time on most systems. Animation movies
can also have an alpha channel.
The DVCPRO 50 codec is used to capture video digitally from FireWire-enabled DVCPRO
50–compatible camcorders and decks. Although it’s similar to the DV codec in that DVCPRO
50 is imported as YUV encoded video, it produces considerably higher quality video since it
uses less compression (DVCPRO 50 uses a 3.3:1 compression ratio, versus DV’s 5:1
compression ratio). DVCPRO 50 also uses 4:2:2 color sampling for high color fidelity, as
opposed to DV’s 4:1:1 color sample rate. DVCPRO 50 has a fixed data rate of 7 MB/sec.
There are two Apple M-JPEG codecs, M-JPEG A and M-JPEG B. These are variable data rate
codecs similar to the ones used by video capture cards. If you need to deliver more heavily
compressed material to keep files small, consider these codecs. M-JPEG is a lossy codec and
will result in artifacts in your final video. The severity of these artifacts depends on the data
rate you choose.
Several capture and playback cards on the market can play back either M-JPEG A or M-JPEG B
in real time without rerendering the material, or, at most, doing minimal rerendering. This
makes file interchange very fast. Before you use either M-JPEG A or B, consult the
manufacturer of the capture card you’re using to find out which one you should use.
Note: Apple M-JPEG movies cannot have alpha channels.
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JPEG is similar to M-JPEG, except that the compression artifacts can be less severe at similar
data rates. JPEG movies may play back in real time on your system, depending on your
system’s speed and the data rate of the movie.
Note: JPEG movies cannot have alpha channels.
There are several manufacturers of video-editing solutions, most of whom use different
variations of the M-JPEG codec. Many make software-only QuickTime codecs that you can
install in your System Folder, enabling you to play back movies with little or no rerendering.
For more information, contact the manufacturer of the editing system.
Note: Most third-party codecs cannot have alpha channels.
Importing Image Files and Sequences
You can import a variety of still-image formats into Final Cut Pro. These may include freezeframes
you’ve exported as stills, title graphics from other applications, and images from stock
libraries. You can also import numbered image sequences and multilayered Photoshop files.
Popular Image Formats You Can Import
m PICT: A common image format used on Mac OS computers. PICT files can use any of the
standard QuickTime codecs for compression in color or grayscale.
m TIFF: Common on Mac OS and Windows computers. TIFF files allow color depths from
dithered black-and-white to millions of colors and one form of compression.
m TGA: The Targa file format. An uncompressed file format that stores images with millions
of colors. Targa files are supported by nearly every platform and media application.
m Photo JPEG: An extremely popular file format because it can create highly compressed
yet good-looking graphics files. You can choose grayscale or color as well as the amount of
All of these file formats except Photo J-PEG can contain an alpha channel.
For more information on importing graphics files, see “About Importing Still Images” on
Acquisition Strategies 217
Importing Numbered Image Sequences
You can export a numbered image sequence from another application to one of the file
formats listed above, then import the sequence into Final Cut Pro. A numbered image
sequence is an edited sequence exported as a series of numbered image files stored in a
folder. Each image file contains one frame of your video.
Final Cut Pro imports all of the files associated with a numbered image sequence individually.
If you register QuickTime Player with the QuickTime Pro license included with Final Cut Pro,
you can convert an image sequence to a standard QuickTime movie. For more information,
see the documentation that came with QuickTime Pro.
Importing Multilayered Photoshop Files
Final Cut Pro lets you import multilayered Photoshop files. Any version of Photoshop files
can be imported, but only Photoshop 3.0 features are supported for import. Supported
features include opacity, composite modes, layer order, and layer name.
When you import a multilayered Photoshop file, Final Cut Pro creates a sequence with all the
layers of your Photoshop file composited together using a frame size identical to the
imported file’s frame size.
If you’re working on a motion graphics sequence, you can lay out all the graphic elements
you want to animate in Photoshop as separate layers of painted and scanned graphics. After
you import the file, all of your graphics are in place so you can quickly and easily animate and
add motion effects in Final Cut Pro.
For more information on importing and using Photoshop files, see “About Importing Layered
Photoshop Files” on page 384.
Capturing and Importing Audio
You can capture audio clips, as well as video clips, using the Log and Capture window. You
can capture several types of audio:
m DV audio using a connected FireWire device
m Built-in audio using your computer’s sound input port
m Audio from a third-party audio or video capture card installed in your computer
Note: Final Cut Pro can capture audio from most audio input devices that are supported by
the Sound Manager (for more information, see Mac Help).
You can capture audio through the sound input port on your computer and using device
control. You can also import audio files recorded at an audio-editing facility or from an audio CD.
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Capturing Audio Using Device Control
There may be times when you want to capture your audio from a device-controllable audio
deck. Professional DAT (digital audio tape) decks used for field or studio recording can
record standard drop frame timecode along with high-quality audio. Some DAT decks also
support standard serial device control. These decks may be controllable using one of
Final Cut Pro’s standard device control protocols via a USB-to-serial adapter. This is mainly
useful when capturing audio that was acquired via dual system recording, with video and
audio recorded simultaneously to two different devices.
If you’re planning on capturing sync-sound audio using device control, make sure that your
audio deck is genlocked with a video capture interface connected to your computer. For
more information on connecting a device-controllable audio deck to your computer, see
“Synchronizing a Device-Controllable Audio Deck With an External Video Interface” on
page 62. For more information on capturing synchronized audio, see “Creating a Preset to
Capture Audio Only” on page 361.
If you want to use timecode to capture source audio that has no timecode, another option is
to dub all of your audio onto DV-format tape. Make sure your DV-format camcorder or deck
is set to 16-bit audio mode so you record at the highest possible quality. Once audio is
recorded, you can import your DV audio clips using FireWire and DV device control, the
same way you’d import DV video clips. For more information, see “Capturing Video and
Audio” on page 348.
Importing Prerecorded Audio
If you’re having audio recorded at a professional recording facility, such as voiceovers, dialog
replacement, or effects, you can usually request that your source material be formatted as
digital files and placed on CD instead of on tape. This way you won’t have to capture audio in
Final Cut Pro. You can just copy the audio files you want to use to your hard disk, then
import them into Final Cut Pro.
Final Cut Pro supports the most popular audio formats, so you can use digital audio files
from other digital audio-editing applications. Two commonly used audio file formats are
m AIFF: Audio Interchange File Format is a cross-platform file format supported by a wide
variety of video and audio digital editing applications. AIFF files can use a variety of
compressors to reduce their file size, though this will reduce the quality. AIFF audio can
be either 8-bit or 16-bit and uses sample rates from 8 to 48 kHz.
m WAVE: This is the primary audio file format used by Windows-compatible computers.
WAVE files can be either 8- or 16-bit and use sample rates from 8 to 48 kHz.
These formats are also used for stock sound effects in CD collections. For more information
on importing audio files into Final Cut Pro, see “About Importing Audio Files” on page 386.
Importing Audio Tracks From CD
Mac OS X recognizes tracks on audio CDs as .cdda files, which can be copied directly form a
mounted audio CD to your hard disk drive. Final Cut Pro can then import these .cdda files
for use in your edited sequences without further conversion. For more information, see
“Importing Audio CD Tracks” on page 387.
Organizing Your Material
Capturing and importing media is the focus of the acquisition process. Before you do this,
however, you may want to plan and organize your project using the Browser. This window is
the central storage area where you organize and manage media in your project and finished
program. You can sort and search for clips various ways and you can display items as lists or
icons and thumbnails of clips. For more information, see Chapter 9, “Using the Browser
and Managing Projects and Clips,” on page 221.
Before you begin working on projects or capturing material, you can change your
preferences to suit how you want to work with Final Cut Pro. For more information, see
Chapter 6, “Viewing and Setting Preferences,” on page 151.
If you try to open and work with projects created with an earlier version of Final Cut Pro,
you’ll be prompted to update your projects. For more information, see the next section,
“Opening Projects Created With Final Cut Express and Earlier Versions of Final Cut Pro.”
About Naming Disks and Folders
If you have multiple hard disks and partitions, or volumes, that have similar names,
they may cause problems during the capture process. Each hard disk should have a
name that doesn’t contain the entire name of another disk or partition.
m Bad names: “Media” and “Media 1”
m Good names: “Zeus” and “Apollo”
If you name disks and folders with double-byte characters (double-byte character sets
are needed for languages with many characters, such as Japanese), Final Cut Pro may
not be able to export or import EDLs (Edit Decision Lists). To make sure you can
export and import EDLs properly, don’t use double-byte characters in the names of
disks and folders you use for import or export.
Columns and Icons in the Browser
The Browser is the central storage area where you organize the source material for your
project and the finished product. The Browser can contain multiple projects, each with its
own tab. It also contains all the effects—video and audio transitions and filters and
generators—in a separate tab that you can drag and drop into your sequences. Within each
project, or tab, you can have bins, similar to folders, where you organize your media.
About Browser Columns
In list view (the default), the Browser’s scrollable columns provide information about your
files. You can sort and search for items within the Browser. You can also view the Browser
using small, medium, or large icons. For more information on switching views, see
“Customizing the Browser Display” on page 253.
The Browser can display up to 41 columns of information. You can customize the display to
view only the columns you want, as well as rearrange columns and change their width. The
Name column always appears at the far left.
Information in the Browser columns is based on one of the following:
m the item properties of a clip
m the device control and capture settings that were enabled when your clips were captured
(device control preset and capture preset)
m the sequence settings of an individual sequence (sequence preset)
You can change properties in some columns directly in the Browser by Control-clicking
within the column, then choosing an option from the shortcut menu. For more information,
see “Viewing and Changing the Properties of a Clip” on page 271. You can also modify these
properties in the Item Properties window for a clip (see “Viewing and Changing Clip
Properties in the Item Properties Window” on page 273).
Other properties, such as the frame size or video rate, were determined by the capture
preset you used to capture the clip (see “About Capture Presets” on page 128).
has its own tab
in the Browser.
These are audio
and video clips.
This is a sequence.
228 Chapter 9
Tip: If an item in the Browser has a name or contains information longer than the available
size of the field or column, you can view the longer entry. Move the pointer over the item
and a tooltip appears with the full text of the entry.
There are two sets of columns that you can display, standard and logging. Both sets can be
modified. If you prefer, you can also customize the columns.
m Standard: This set display shows default columns and is typically used when editing. For
more information, see “Working With Standard or Logging Columns” on page 263.
m Logging: This column display shows only logging information for clips and media and is
useful when logging media. For more information, see “Working With Standard or
Logging Columns” on page 263.
m Custom column arrangements: You can specify your own display of columns, based on
your preferred arrangement of columns. For more information, see “Saving and Using
Custom Column Layouts” on page 263.
Browser columns and information provided
Name of the media file (from the Name field in the Logging tab of the Log and Capture window).
The name is typically entered when logging, but you can also add or change it in the Browser or
Item Properties window. Changing the name of a clip doesn’t change that clip’s source file on your
Shows the type of alpha channel present—None/Ignore, Straight, Black, or White.
Graphics or animation files created outside Final Cut Pro may have an alpha channel. Different
kinds of channels display different results, depending on whether transparency is used.
Final Cut Pro discerns the correct type when you capture or import your media.
A checkmark in this column indicates the media is anamorphic. You can also set this property to
force a clip to be widescreen.
For clips, this property is based on the capture preset; for sequences, it’s based on the sequence
preset. For imported DV clips, Final Cut Pro automatically detects whether the clip was captured
This property can be set or changed in the Browser or Item Properties window. For more
information on anamorphic video, see Volume III, Appendix B, “Working with Anamorphic Media.”
Audio format, including the bit size and type of sound (stereo or mono).
Using the Browser and Managing Projects and Clips 229
Audio sample rate. If you captured a DV clip with the Sync Adjust Movies feature enabled, the true
sample rate of the clip will be calculated and indicated here.
Indicates whether or not a clip has audio.
Aux TC 1-2
Aux 1 and Aux 2 are additional timecode tracks that can be edited for any clip in the Browser. These
fields can be useful for numerically synchronizing clips captured from multiple sources.
For example, when synchronizing audio clips captured from DAT with video clips captured from
Digital Betacam, the source timecode of each clip reflects timecode that was captured on each tape.
You can also set the Aux 1 timecode of your audio clips to reflect the source timecode of their
corresponding video clips, offset to match the sync point.
Changes made to the Aux TC 1 and 2 tracks are written to the source media on disk.
Displays the capture state of a clip in the Batch Capture queue: Not Yet, OK (captured already),
Queued, or Aborted.
Displays additional comment information. You can change this property in the Browser or Item
Shows the composite mode of the clip, such as Normal, Add, or Travel Matte. This controls how the
colors in a clip combine with the colors in clips in underlying video layers, or how the clip visually
interacts with the clip on the track immediately below it. For more information on composite
modes, see Volume III, Chapter 1, “Basic Compositing.”
Displays the codec used by a clip. For clips, this property is based on the clip; for sequences, it’s
based on the codec specified in the sequence preset.
Different codecs have different ways of compressing video and audio clips to save bandwidth. Video
clips in a sequence must use the codec specified in the sequence preset if you want them to play
Rate of data flow per second; a clip’s data rate is set when it’s captured.
Often, a clip’s data rate determines its visual quality. For example, the data rate of clips captured
using M-JPEG can vary. with higher data rates providing higher quality. Other codecs may use
different data rates, with different resulting quality.
Browser columns and information provided
230 Chapter 9
Displays descriptive text about a clip (from the Description field in the Logging tab of the Log and
Capture window). This is typically entered when logging, but you can also add to it or change it in
the Browser or Item Properties window.
Shows the duration between a clip’s In and Out points.
Intended for telecined clips being used in a program that will matched back to a film negative.
When a clip is marked film safe, it will be trimmed on 4 or 5 frame boundaries according to the
timecode when acted upon by media manager operations, to insure that full frames are preserved.
Displays the video frame size in pixels. For clips, this property is based on the size of the clip’s
frame; for sequences, it’s based on the sequence preset.
Identifies clips that are marked Good (indicating shots you want to use) in the Logging tab of the
Log and Capture window. Clips are typically marked Good during logging, but you can also mark a
clip in the Browser or Item Properties window.
Timecode of the In point of a clip. The In point specifies the beginning of a section of a clip or
sequence used in editing.
Timecode of the Out point for a clip. The Out point specifies the end of a section of a clip or
sequence used in editing.
Label and Label 2
You can assign label names to items to help organize and manage your media—None, Good Take,
Best Take, Alternate Shots, Interviews, B Roll. Each label has an associated color, so clips and
sequences with labels are easily identifiable in the Browser.
The label names appear in the Label columns and each item’s icon is colored appropriately. Label
names can be changed in the Labels tab of the User Preferences window; colors cannot be changed.
Indicates the date and time an item was modified, or the last time a sequence was edited. This
information is similar to the creation date of the file, or what you see when you select an item in the
Finder, then choose File>Get Info.
Shows the total length of a clip’s source media on disk. The length is different from the duration of
a clip, which reflects the number of frames between the In and Out points of a clip (and can be
Displays text from the Log Note field in the Logging tab of the Log and Capture window. This is
typically entered when logging, but you can also add to it or change it in the Browser or Item
This column is checked if a clip is a master clip.
Master Comment 1-4
Displays comment information (notes you’ve added for an item after it’s been logged).
You can add or change this property in the Browser or Item Properties window. You can rename the
Master Comment columns in the Project Properties window.
The timecode on the source tape for the In point (when capture began). This timecode value
represents the first frame of a clip, regardless of where the In point is set in Final Cut Pro.
The timecode on the source tape for the Out point (when capture ended). This timecode value
represents the very last frame of a clip, regardless of where the Out point is set in Final Cut Pro.
A checkmark indicates a clip is offline, meaning it hasn’t been captured yet or the source media on
disk is missing or has been moved.
Displays the pixel type of the source media—non-square for NTSC and PAL video or square for
multimedia and high definition video. This property is determined by the capture preset and your
third-party capture card (if one is installed).
Identifies a clip’s reel number (specified in the Logging tab of the Log and Capture window). This is
typically entered when logging, but you can also change it in the Browser or Item Properties
Changing the reel number of a clip also changes the reel number of its source file on disk.
Browser columns and information provided
232 Chapter 9
This property can be set to Yes or No. Selecting Yes places a checkmark in the column, indicating
the alpha channel is set to the reverse of the current setting. Reverse Alpha compensates for
graphics and video files imported from other applications that display the solid and transparent
areas of an alpha channel as the reverse of how Final Cut Pro displays them.
Identifies a clip’s scene (specified in the Logging tab of the Log and Capture window). You can
enter this when logging or in the Browser or Item Properties window.
Identifies a clip’s shot or take, which is entered in the Logging tab of the Log and Capture window.
It can also be added or changed in the Browser or Item Properties window.
Shows the file’s size on the hard disk in megabytes (MB).
Shows the directory path of the source media file on disk. For example:
Capture Disk/Capture Scratch/Interview Clip.mov
Timecode currently displayed in the Viewer and used for EDL export; can be the source or auxiliary
Displays the first frame of the clip. You can drag to “scrub,” or move through, a thumbnail icon for a
The total number of video and audio tracks in a clip or sequence.
Type of item—clip, subclip, merge clip, sequence, bin, or effect.
Shows the frame rate in frames per second (fps). For clips, this property is based on the frame rate
of the file on disk, which is determined by the capture preset. For sequences, it’s based on the
sequence preset and can be changed.
About Icons in the Browser
Icons appear next to the name of each item in the Browser and represent the item’s file type.
Icon Name Description
Bin Similar to folders, bins are used to organize clips, sequences, and
even other bins.
Locked bin A locked bin contains all effects except those in the Favorites bin
that you cannot move to another bin or delete (such as those that
were installed with Final Cut Pro).
Bin opened in
its own window
A bin that’s been opened as a separate window from its project.
Sequence An edited series of clips and edit information.
Clip A media file. A clip can be an individual section of a video or
graphics file, other imported content, or a merged clip (a clip
created by merging an audio and a video clip).
Audio clip A media clip composed of audio samples; can be any kind of audio
clip, including QuickTime, AIFF, or Wave.
Offline clip A placeholder clip that references media not yet captured or source
media that’s missing from your hard disk.
Video transition Transition effect; applied to a video track between any two
overlapping video clips.
Audio transition Transition effect; applied to an audio track between any two
overlapping audio clips.
Video filter Effects filter applied to a video clip.
Audio filter Effects filter applied to an audio clip.
Video generator Effects utility that generates color mattes, gradients, tones, and text.
234 Chapter 9
Working With Projects
To start working, you must create a new project in the Browser. You can have multiple
projects open in Final Cut Pro, each with its own tab in the Browser.
How you use and organize your projects depends on what you’re working on, as well as your
work style. Typically, you create a new project for each program you work on. For example, if
you’re working on a documentary and a training piece for different clients that use
completely different media, it makes sense to create two separate projects.
On the other hand, if you’re cutting two different programs using the same media, it makes
sense to keep everything together in one project file and create multiple sequences for your
different edits. For example, you may use the same material to edit together a thirty-second
version and a two-minute version of the same public service announcement video. Your
footage would be in one project, but you’d create two sequences, one for each version.
Performance issues may also come into the picture. If the performance of your computer
slows when using Final Cut Pro with a large number of clips and render files in your current
project, you may want to divide your project into two or more smaller projects using the
Media Manager. (For more information, see VVolume II, Chapter 16, “Using the Media
Manager.”) Reducing the size of the project can save time and help you keep better track of
Outputting to Tape
There are three ways to output your video clip or edited sequence to tape in Final Cut Pro—
playing back from the Timeline while you record, printing to videotape, and editing directly
Playback from the Timeline
With all your transitions and effects rendered in the Timeline, the easiest way to output your
sequence is to press the Record button on your connected camcorder or deck, then play
your clip or edited sequence in the Timeline. Make sure that you enable external video
before playing back. For more information, see “Recording From the Timeline” on page 416.
Printing to videotape
A more controlled but flexible way to output your clip or edited sequence is to use the Print
to Video command. This method automatically renders everything that needs to be rendered
before outputting. It also allows you to add elements, such as black, color bars, tone, a slate,
and a black trailer, along with your video. You can also loop playback of your video to tape
multiple times. For more information, see Chapter 15, “Editing to Tape,” on page 423.
Editing to tape
If you’re using a device-controllable camcorder or deck, you can use the Edit to Tape
command to perform precise insert and assemble edits onto a timecode striped tape. This
method uses the standard rules of three-point editing, so you can pick either a start or an
end point on your destination tape, then place your clip or sequence forward or backward
from that point.
This method is useful for editing a project in sections, then editing all the sections together
onto one tape. It can also be used to reedit a section of a program already on tape without
outputting the entire program again. Editing to tape also allows you to add the same black,
color bars, and slate elements that the Print to Video command does.
Note: Insert edits work only on video devices that support them. For more information, see
the documentation that came with your video device.
For more information, see Chapter 15, “Editing to Tape,” on page 423.
Choosing an Output Method for Final Distribution 409
Outputting QuickTime Files
To output QuickTime movies for file exchange or multimedia use, you can export your video
clip or edited sequence as a Final Cut Pro movie or as a QuickTime movie. If you have several
clips and sequences, you can also export them all at one time. This is called a batch export.
Exporting a Final Cut Pro movie
The Export QuickTime Movie command creates a QuickTime movie of your selected clip or
sequence, based on the sequence settings currently selected. Use this command if you want
to create a full-resolution version of a selected clip or sequence. You can output this type of
movie as a self-contained version of your sequence or a reference movie.
m Self-contained movie: If you choose the Make Movie Self-Contained option, the entire
edited sequence will be rendered, if necessary, and copied into a completely selfcontained
QuickTime file. This is ideal if you want to send the QuickTime movie to
someone else without sending all the source clips as well.
m Reference movie: A reference movie contains pointers to the source QuickTime files that
it uses. Since it doesn’t contain any actual video (except for the parts of your edited
sequence that still need to be rendered), it takes very little disk space and is fast to create.
To any other application, a reference movie looks and acts exactly like a self-contained
QuickTime movie. This makes it ideal for use with third-party compression applications
that are installed on the same workstation as your project.
Exporting a QuickTime movie
The Export QuickTime Movie command allows you to create variously compressed versions
of your selected clip or sequence using one of a variety of codecs and settings. This option
lets you specify what you want to export—a QuickTime movie, a DV Stream file, or a
numbered image sequence. If you want to create a highly compressed QuickTime movie, you
can choose from a list of settings or make your own settings using the Options button.
Doing a batch export
You can use the Batch Export command to export multiple clips or sequences as QuickTime
movies. This is particularly useful if the clips or sequences are long and will take a while to
export. You can set up a batch export, give each clip or sequence the QuickTime settings you
want it to have, and let Final Cut Pro do all the work while you take a break and go out to see
someone else’s movie.
For detailed information about these options, see Chapter 16, “QuickTime Export of Video,
Images, and Sound,” on page 447.
410 Chapter 13
More About Video Compression
Video compression is used by nearly every computer-based editing system. Many systems can
edit uncompressed digital video, but because of storage space requirements and equipment
expenses, the vast majority of desktop editing systems use compression.
Compression also allows video to find its way into many lower-bandwidth applications. For
example, web-based video and CD-ROM video would be impossible without sophisticated
forms of video compression that dramatically reduce file sizes while maintaining acceptable
levels of quality.
The technology behind video compression is the codec. Codecs are extensions used by
QuickTime to create and play back different formats of digital video. A codec mathematically
describes how a video signal can be squeezed down into less space.
Uncompressed video can be as much as 32 MB per second (including an alpha channel,
which is not normally used for regular video playback). However, video compressed with the
M-JPEG codec, at a ratio of approximately 2:1 (considered to be exceptionally high quality), is
as little as 10 MB per second, depending on the capture card being used. Offline quality
M-JPEG video can be as little as 1 MB per second and web video, compressed using MPEG-4,
is often 300K per second or smaller.
Note: The expression of megabytes (MB) or kilobytes (K) per second or per frame is
referred to as the video clip’s data rate. Knowing the data rate and codec of a QuickTime
movie gives you some idea of how much it has been compressed.
Codecs are either lossless or lossy. Lossless codecs reduce the file size of a video clip without
affecting the image quality. Lossy codecs reduce the file size of a video clip by discarding
actual bits of information from the video clip, reducing image quality by an extent that
depends on the data rate of the clip and the codec used.
Codecs use different mathematical models of video compression. Different codecs may have
different perceived visual quality at the same data rate. The two primary ways to compress
video are using spatial compression and temporal compression. Most codecs use variations
of both of these compression methods in combination.
m Spatial compression
This type of compression compresses every frame in the video clip by a given rate. The
most obvious sign of spatial compression is either a fringing around the edges of highcontrast
objects with subtle compression, or a blockiness to the picture when more
extreme compression is applied. You can adjust spatial compression using the Quality
slider in the QuickTime Compression Settings dialog.
14 Recording to Videotape
When you’re ready to send your clip or edited sequence to videotape, you have two
options: You can record directly from the Timeline or you can use the Print to Video
m Record from the Timeline: The easiest way to output to tape is to play the sequence in
the Timeline as you record it on your connected video equipment. If you want to show
black before and after your program, you can edit it into the Timeline using the Slug
generator. You can also just move all your edited clips over to the right to leave an
appropriate amount of blank space before the beginning of your sequence. For more
information, see Volume III, Chapter 3, “Working With Video Filters and Generators.”
m Print to Video: The Print to Video command lets you send an entire edited sequence or
clip to videotape with more control of its elements. You can also output a section of a
sequence or clip by defining it with In and Out points. You can include elements on the
tape such as color bars and tone, a countdown, a slate, and a black trailer, along with your
sequence or clip. You can also loop your footage if you want to output your program
multiple times on the same tape.
Tip: You can use the Print to Video command even if your video equipment does not
have device control.
If you need to output your clip or sequence to tape more precisely using device control, you
can edit directly onto videotape. For more information, see Chapter 15, “Editing to Tape,” on
414 Chapter 14
Setting Up to Record to Videotape
Before you can record from the Timeline or use the Print to Video command, make sure that
your target video device is connected properly and your software settings are correct.
Step 1: Connect your video equipment and set it to VCR mode
Make sure your video equipment is connected to your computer and turned on. For more
information, see Chapter 3, “Setting Up Your System,” on page 53.
Make sure your camcorder or deck is set to VCR (sometimes labeled VTR) mode.
Final Cut Pro cannot record to video equipment that is in Camera mode. If your video device
has multiple inputs (for example TV, Line 1, and Line 2), make sure the input that’s
connected to your computer is the one that is selected.
Step 2: Make sure Final Cut Pro is set to output video
Make sure that your Easy Setup is set to output external video to your video configuration.
If you’re using a customized Easy Setup, make sure that you choose the correct settings in
the External Video Settings tab of the Audio/Video Settings window. The two pop-up menus
let you send video out of the appropriate video interface, whether it’s the FireWire port or an
approved third-party capture card.
m View During Playback Using: Choose how you want to view video when playing
sequences and clips from the Viewer or Timeline.
m View During Print to Video Using: Choose a different video capture interface from the
one you’re viewing the Timeline with when using the Print to Video and Edit to Tape
commands. Choose “Same as Playback” if you always want to output using the same
For more information on configuring custom external video settings, see “Specifying External
Video and Audio Settings” on page 140.
Make sure the external video
settings in your Easy Setup
are appropriate for your
Recording to Videotape 415
It’s a good idea to turn on “Abort ETT/PTV on dropped frames” in the General tab of the User
Preferences window. When this option is selected and a dropped frame occurs during an Edit
to Tape or Print to Video operation, Final Cut Pro immediately stops the operation. At this
point, you can choose to redo the operation.
Dropped frames are usually due to incorrectly configured hardware or incorrect preferences
settings. It’s a good idea to turn on “Report dropped frames during playback” in the General
tab of the User Preferences window. Final Cut Pro then warns you of any dropped frames as
they happen so you can correct the problem. For more information, see Chapter 6, “Viewing
and Setting Preferences,” on page 151.
Step 3: Cue the videotape
Cue the videotape to the point where you want to start recording. If you’re outputting to a
tape that has previously recorded material on it, make sure that the write-protection tab is in
the write, or unlocked, position. Double-check to be sure you don’t copy over a tape that has
source media for your program or anything else you don’t want to lose.
If you’re using a consumer mini-DV device and you fast-forward past prerecorded material
(so there’s some blank tape between it and what you’ll output), the DV timecode resets to
Step 4: Select the appropriate RT playback and rendering settings
Make sure that all rendering options in the Real-Time (RT) pop-up menu in the Timeline and
in the Render Control tab of the Sequence Settings window are set appropriately. When you
output your program to video, you can choose whether to render the effects that won’t
output at full quality in real time, or output them at the reduced quality you’ve selected in
order to avoid rendering. For more information, see Volume III, Chapter 7, “About Real-Time
Note: Final Cut Pro will always warn you before outputting video to tape at reduced quality
when you use the Print to Video and Edit to Tape commands.
Step 5: Test your playback
Make sure everything is working properly before you start recording. Move the playhead to
the desired position in the Timeline, then press the Space bar to play back your clip or
sequence. If you have an external monitor connected to your video device, the clip or
sequence will play on it, as well as on your computer’s monitor.
416 Chapter 14
Recording From the Timeline
Once your equipment is set up and Final Cut Pro is configured for recording to videotape,
you’re ready to record. The simplest way to output your video to tape is to press Record on
your camcorder or deck and play back your sequence in the Timeline. This method will only
record what’s in the Timeline.
If you want to have black, color bars, or tone before your program starts and black after it
ends, edit these into the Timeline using the Generator pop-up menu. For more information
on using generators, see Volume III, Chapter 3, “Working With Video Filters and Generators.”
To record directly from the Timeline:
1 If necessary, render any unrendered effects by doing one of the following:
m Choose Sequence>Render All>Both.
m Choose Sequence>Render Selection>Both.
m Press Command-R.
For more information on additional rendering options, see Volume III, Chapter 8,
Note: All audio that requires rendering is automatically rendered with a render quality of
High, regardless of the render quality setting. Unrendered audio sections are output as a
series of beeps.
You can also choose to output unrendered real-time effects at lower quality, saving time by
avoiding rendering. Options for choosing the quality of real-time effects playback, rendering,
and output can be set in the Real-Time Effects (RT) pop-up menu in the Timeline and in the
Render Control tab of the Sequence Settings window. For more information about these
options, see Volume III, Chapter 7, “About Real-Time Effects.”
Note: If the Base Layer When Needs Render option is not selected in the Real-Time Effects (RT)
pop-up menu in the Timeline, all unrendered effects appear as blue “Unrendered” graphics.
Choose options in the
Generator pop-up menu in
the Viewer to add elements
before or after your program.
Recording to Videotape 417
2 In the Timeline, move the playhead where you want to start recording in your sequence.
The first frame will be recorded immediately after you press Record on your camcorder or
deck. To avoid an awkward freeze frame at the beginning of your sequence, you may want to
move the playhead to an initial frame of black. If there’s no black where you want to begin
your recording, you can edit in a black color matte temporarily. For more information, see
Volume III, Chapter 3, “Working With Video Filters and Generators.”
3 If you want to loop your sequence, choose View>Loop Playback so there’s a checkmark
next to it.
When looping is enabled, your sequence will loop endlessly without stopping. There may be
a slight pause after each loop. If you need a smooth loop, use the Print to Video command
with looping enabled instead (see “Printing to Video” on page 418).
4 Press Record on your camcorder or deck to start recording, then wait a few seconds.
This allows your camcorder or deck to reach a smooth recording speed. Otherwise, you
could end up with unwanted video artifacts at the beginning of your tape.
5 Choose Mark>Play, then choose an option from the submenu to control how your sequence
m In to Out: Plays back the sequence from the In point to the Out point. If you haven’t set
an In or Out point, the sequence plays from the beginning to the end.
m To Out: Plays from the current position of the playhead on the Timeline to either the
defined Out point or the end of the sequence.
m Around: Plays a specified amount of time before and after the position of the playhead,
based on the pre-roll and post-roll settings in the Device Control Presets tab in the Audio/
Video Settings window. To change these settings, see “Working With Presets” on page 111
and “About Device Control Preset Settings” on page 136.
Move the playhead where you
want to start recording.
418 Chapter 14
m Every Frame: Plays back every frame of the sequence, whether or not rendering is
required. If there are transitions or effects in your sequence that haven’t been rendered,
your sequence will not play back in real time, but every frame will be recorded on tape.
m Forward: Plays from the current position of the playhead forward to the end of the
sequence in the Timeline.
m Reverse: Plays from the current position of the playhead back to the beginning of the
sequence in the Timeline.
6 Press the Stop button on your camcorder or deck when the sequence is finished playing in
Printing to Video
The Print to Video command is a much more sophisticated way to send your clip or
sequence to tape. The Print to Video command allows you to include elements in your
program such as color bars and tone, a countdown, a slate, and a black trailer. These
elements are then created and recorded to video, along with your sequence or clip, without
being included in the Timeline. You can also loop your footage as many times as you want, if
you want to output your program multiple times on the same tape.
Using the Print to Video command requires the same steps to set up as recording from the
Timeline (see “Setting Up to Record to Videotape” on page 414). The currently selected
render quality is used to render any added elements, as well as to render any transitions,
filters, or effects in your edited sequence. For more information on render quality settings,
see Volume III, Chapter 8, “Rendering.”
You can set up your device control preset so that Final Cut Pro automatically puts your DV
camcorder or deck in Record mode before printing to video. For more information, see
“About Device Control Preset Settings” on page 136. (This option works only with DV
camcorders or decks; it does not work with serial device control.)
Important The last frame in your sequence will be held as a freeze frame when playback
stops. This may be awkward if this frame is not black. To avoid this, use the Slug generator to
place one second of black at the end of your sequence. For more information, see Volume III,
Chapter 3, “Working With Video Filters and Generators.”
Recording to Videotape 419
Printing a Sequence or Clip to Video
To print to videotape:
1 Select the desired sequence or clip in the Browser, or open your sequence and make the
Canvas or Timeline active.
To output part of a sequence or clip to video, open it, then set In and Out points to designate
the part you want to record to videotape. For more information, see Volume II, Chapter 1,
“Working With Clips and the Viewer.”
2 Choose File>Print to Video.
3 Select elements you want to print along with your sequence or clip.
Mark In and Out
points, if desired.
Enter options to add a
trailer at the end of the
clip or sequence.
In this section, select
the media you want
to print and choose
In this section, select all
of the options you want
to add before the clip or
420 Chapter 14
All selected elements are sent to tape in the order listed. Make sure elements you don’t need
are not selected. Some of these items may require rendering before you can start recording.
For a complete explanation of the options available, see “About Print to Video Settings” on
The Duration Calculator displays the total duration of the program you are outputting,
including all of the selected elements and their durations. Make sure there is sufficient time
on your tape before proceeding.
4 When you’re finished setting options, click OK.
Transitions and effects that require rendering, along with any added elements, are rendered
automatically prior to output. You can also choose to output unrendered real-time effects at
lower quality saving time by avoiding rendering. Options for choosing the quality of rendered
effects when using the Print to Video command can be set in the Render Control tab of the
Sequence Settings window. For more information on setting options in the Render Control
tab, see Volume III, Chapter 7, “About Real-Time Effects.”
Note: All audio that requires rendering is automatically rendered with a render quality of
High, regardless of the render quality setting.
5 When a message tells you start recording, press Record on your camcorder or deck. Wait a
few seconds for your video device to reach a smooth recording speed, then click OK to begin
Note: If you enabled the Automatic Record and PTV setting in your Device Control preset,
Final Cut Pro automatically puts your DV camcorder or deck into Record mode after the
specified number of seconds. For more information about this setting, see “About Device
Control Preset Settings” on page 136.
6 When playback is finished, press the Stop button on your camcorder or deck.
Note: The last frame of your clip or edited sequence is held as a freeze frame until you stop
your recording device.
This shows the total duration
of the media you’re printing
to tape, including all of the
Recording to Videotape 421
About Print to Video Settings
The elements available when using Print to Video have very specific uses to your client, tape
duplication facility, or broadcaster. It’s important to understand the correct use of these
elements to avoid confusion.
Note: All element durations are specified in whole seconds.
m Color Bars: Adds color bars and a 1 kilohertz (kHz) reference tone, preset to
–12 decibels (dB). Color bars at the beginning of your tape allow the recipients to
calibrate their equipment to match the color levels and values that your system used
when outputting your program. The reference tone lets the recipients adjust their
playback audio to prevent an audio signal that’s too soft or too loud.
If you’re using DV to output to tape, you may not need these elements. If you’re using a
third-party capture card and you add color bars, your system must be accurately calibrated
for color. Otherwise, your color bars may be off. If your tape has inaccurate color bars, the
recipient may do an automatic adjustment without checking the rest of the program, and
your resulting video will look different from what you intended. For more information on
color calibration and how to use color bars, see Volume III, Appendix D, “Video
Calibration Using Color Bars.”
Make sure that your audio tracks are mixed properly, so the levels are not too soft or too
loud relative to the 1 kHz reference tone. Audio that’s significantly louder than your
reference tone may sound distorted when your tape is duplicated. For more information
on creating a proper mix, see Volume II, Chapter 13, “Audio Mixing.”
m Black: Adds the specified number of seconds of black between the color bars and slate,
or at the beginning of the clip or sequence if you aren’t adding color bars.
m Slate: Allows you to add a slate with information about your program. You select the slate
source in a pop-up menu. The slate can be the clip or sequence name, text you type in a
field, or a specified text, PICT, or QuickTime file on disk. A slate should contain
information such as
m the title of your program
m relevant production credits indicating ownership of the content (such as the producer,
director, editor, and post-production facility)
m total run time (TRT) of your program
m the starting timecode if it’s not hour 01. This is useful if you’re using a high-end video
deck to do an insert edit of your program onto a tape with pre-striped timecode. In
this case, also indicate whether drop frame (DF) or non-drop frame (NDF) timecode is
m the date on which the tape is output
422 Chapter 14
m Black: Adds the specified number of seconds of black between the slate and countdown.
m Countdown: Adds a countdown before your sequence or clip. You can use the 10-second
built-in SMPTE standard countdown or a custom one from a file you select. Countdowns
are generally used when delivering a tape to a television or cable station for broadcast. If
the tape is for archival purposes or delivery to a tape duplication facility, a countdown is
not usually necessary.
Note: If you choose a custom QuickTime file as your countdown, it’s duration will not be
changed to conform to SMPTE specifications and its duration will be left as is.
Media options and elements
m Print: Lets you print the entire clip or sequence or just the part specified by the In and
m Loop: Prints the sequence or clip to tape a specified number of times.
m Black: Adds the specified number of seconds of black frames to the end of your clip or
sequence after each loop.
m Trailer: Adds a black trailer at the end of your sequence or clip or at the end of the last
loop of your clip or sequence. It’s good practice to put a 30-second black trailer at the end
of your tape so viewers don’t hear loud static as soon as your program ends.
About Standard Element Timing
If you’re outputting your clip or sequence for delivery to a post-production house,
tape duplication facility, or television station, there are accepted conventions for how
leader elements are placed on tape. Here is one common way to lay out elements,
although some facilities have different standards. When in doubt, ask ahead for what is
m 60 seconds of color bars and tone
m 10 seconds of black
m 10 seconds of your slate
m 10 seconds of countdown if this is for broadcast (use a standard SMPTE
countdown), or 10 seconds of black if it’s for duplication
Getting Started With Editing
After you’ve captured some or all of the clips that will go into your finished program, it’s time
to begin editing. You’ll do most of your editing in the Viewer, Canvas, and Timeline. There
are also other tools and windows in Final Cut Pro to perform a variety of detailed editorial
tasks, manage files, and specify preferences and settings for how you work.
Final Cut Pro is extremely flexible. One way of editing (which some editors may find faster
and more streamlined) is to keep your hands on the keyboard as much as possible. Another
method of editing (which some find more intuitive) is to use the mouse and Final Cut Pro’s
visual controls. Final Cut Pro accommodates both kinds of users. And, no matter which
editing style you prefer, you’ll probably find yourself doing a little of both.
Final Cut Pro’s visual controls (including menu commands, buttons, and shortcut menu
commands) are mentioned throughout the manual. Keyboard shortcuts are shown
side-by-side with the editorial function they perform in the tooltips in the interface. For more
information, see Volume I, Chapter 4, “The Final Cut Pro Interface.” For a complete list of
Final Cut Pro’s keyboard shortcuts, see Volume I, Chapter 7, “Customizing Keyboard
Shortcuts and Button Bars.”
Once you’ve assembled an edited sequence, you can trim your edits and modify your
sequence in several ways:
m using visual controls in the interface
m directly manipulating your clips using the mouse in the Timeline
m using keyboard shortcuts to open clips into the Viewer or Trim Edit window for
How to Edit Using Final Cut Pro’s Interface
You’ll do most of your editing in three main windows: the Viewer, Canvas, and Timeline.
Since you organize and “store” your clips in the Browser, you’ll use that window for editing,
as well. (For a fast, basic overview of how to edit with Final Cut Pro, it’s a good idea to go
through the tutorials, which are in a separate book.)
A typical editing operation follows these steps:
Step 1: Select a clip in the Browser to add to your sequence (A)
Step 2: Open the clip into the Viewer (B)
Step 3: In the Viewer, set In and Out points for the clip to specify what
you want to use in your sequence (B)
Step 4: Edit the marked clip into an open sequence in the Canvas (C)
or the Timeline (D)
Getting Started With Editing 11
Being Prepared: Logging Your Clips in Advance
Depending on how you choose to log and capture your clips, the first part of your editorial
process may already be completed. Selecting specific clips to use is the most basic level of
editing. If you’ve done this already, your job is now much easier.
It’s a good idea to go through your material prior to editing, watching and annotating all of
the shots you plan to use in your edit, to familiarize yourself with the footage. The person
who initially logged your footage may have included notes about which were the preferred
takes, along with the shot and scene number information. Perhaps you compiled a
preliminary shot order in the notes for each clip. If not, you can add this type of information
later to any clip by entering it into the relevant column in the Browser.
For more information on logging your clips in preparation for capture, see Volume I, Chapter 9,
“Logging and Capturing Media.” For more information on adding notes to and changing the
information of clips in the Browser, see Volume I, Chapter 9, “Using the Browser and Managing
Projects and Clips.”
Editors use a variety of strategies to meet the challenge of turning several hours of raw
footage into a finished program. Editors tend to work in two different ways. Final Cut Pro’s
diverse feature set accommodates both of these working styles.
m Creating an edit in two stages, from rough cut to fine cut
Some editors like to do a quick edit of all the shots they may want to use in a program in
order to get a sense of how the shots play together. They can quickly rearrange their
shots, deleting some and adding others.
When they’re satisfied that they’ve got the right material, they go through each edit, clip
to clip, finding the exact moment at which to cut from each shot, line of dialogue, or
visual to the next. Eventually, the fine cut is finished and the project is completed.
m Creating a more polished edit from the first shot
Other editors like to start polishing their edit from the very first clip they edit into their
sequence. They edit and trim all their shots as they work, from the first clip to the last.
Often, the type of project you’re working on determines your method of editing. The way
you start working on a documentary is often quite different from the way you start on a more
tightly scripted project, such as a comedic feature.
There are no hard and fast rules for editing. Different editors have different working styles
and, given the same source material, no two editors will cut the same finished program.
Here’s an example of how you might approach a typical project:
Step 1: Log your footage
Logging your footage in advance, while time-consuming, is a good idea. For example,
because there is often a large amount of footage shot in the field for documentaries,
transcripts are often made of all interview footage. By poring over these transcripts, you can
see which video clips you may want to use and can then log these clips for capture with an
idea of how you want to piece them together.
If you’re editing a more scripted piece, looking through all the takes will give you an idea of
what you have to work with before you actually start cutting. If you’ve already seen all the
footage that’s available, you can make decisions based on the best take in your footage,
rather than the best take that you captured in Final Cut Pro.
Adding notes to your clips as you log them can help you keep everything in order as you
work. It’s a good idea to keep a log of all material you shoot in the field, so that you can keep
track of all of your shots and use the log as a starting point for the notes in your logged clips.
For more information on how to add notes to the clips you’re logging, see Volume I, Chapter
10, “Logging and Capturing Media.”
Step 2: Create a rough cut
Once you’ve logged and captured the clips you want to start with, it can be helpful to do a
rough cut. Piece together the clips you want to use in the order you want them to appear in
your sequence (in the Timeline). Once your clips are laid out, you can play them back and
see how they work together.
If you numbered your shots or used another ordering scheme when you logged them, you
can work this way:
1 Create a new sequence in the Browser and open it in the Timeline.
2 Sort your captured clips by the relevant column in the Browser (such as the Name, Log Note,
Scene, or Shot/Take column).
3 Select the desired clips.
4 Drag these clips to your open sequence in the Canvas or Timeline to quickly assemble your
To learn how to make simple edits to your sequence from the Viewer, see Chapter 23, “Basic
Editing,” on page 167.
Getting Started With Editing 13
Step 3: Polish your edit
As you fine-tune your rough cut into a more polished sequence, you can reorder and finely edit
the clips in your sequence (see Chapter 27, “Advanced Editing and Trimming Techniques,” on
page 335). You can also add variety to your program in the form of transitions, such as dissolves
and wipes (see Chapter 26, “Adding and Editing Transition Effects,” on page 295).
Step 4: Mix your audio
Once the bulk of your program is edited and you know how the images appear, you can
begin working more extensively on your audio. This involves
m cleaning up the dialog
m adding sound effects and music
m mixing the levels of all the different clips together to create a harmonious sound track
For more information, see Part II, “Audio Editing and Mixing” on page 413.
Step 5: Work on effects and color correction
Unless you’re working on a broadcast, design-oriented piece, it’s a good idea to save
extensive effects and graphics work in your program for last. Setting up effects tends to be
more time-consuming than the rest of your project. It’s good to focus on basic edits before
getting distracted with effects that may make up a very small part of your program in the end.
Once you have a sense of how your program is working and the pace of your picture and
audio, it becomes easier to find ways to enhance your program with graphics and animation.
For more information on visual effects, see Volume III, Preface, “Overview of Effects.”
C H A P T E R 1
19 Working With Clips and the Viewer
A clip is the basic unit of media that you use to create sequences in Final Cut Pro. Clips can
be movies, still images, generators, and audio files. You can also use sequences as you would
clips, and put them inside of other sequences.
To view a clip, you select it in the Browser, then open it into the Viewer. The Video tab of the
Viewer acts as your “source” monitor; there, you watch your selected clip and mark the In
and Out edit points, which define how much of the clip you want to edit into your sequence.
If you have an external video monitor and speakers connected, any video you play will also
be played on your external video monitor.
How You Can Use the Viewer
The Viewer is extremely versatile. Besides defining In and Out edit points for different media
clips, you can also use the Viewer to
m mix and edit clips with audio in the Audio tab
m open clips from any open sequences in the Timeline and perform detailed editing
Note: Changes you make to a clip opened from a sequence are applied to the clip only in
that sequence. If you make changes to a clip opened from the Browser, the changes only
appear in the clip in the Browser.
m open a transition, such as a dissolve or a wipe, from an edited sequence for detailed editing
The transition appears in detail as an A track, a transition track, and a B track. For more
information, see Chapter 26, “Adding and Editing Transition Effects,” on page 295.
m add filters to your clips and edit them later
m access the motion settings of clips to modify or animate such properties as scale, rotation,
cropping, and opacity
18 Chapter 1
m create and modify generators
Generators are special clips that can be generated by Final Cut Pro, so they don’t require
source material. Final Cut Pro has generators that create color mattes, text of different
types, gradients, color bars, and artificial static. For more information, see Volume III,
Chapter 3, “Working With Video Filters and Generators.”
In this chapter, we’ll focus on using the Viewer’s Video tab. The Video tab is where you
perform the primary tasks used to edit video and audio into your sequence.
About the Viewer
There are many controls in the Viewer. (Some of these appear in other areas of the interface,
as well; for example, the playhead controls also appear in the Canvas.) The following is a
quick summary of the Viewer controls; for more detailed description, see the sections
starting with “Tabs in the Viewer” on page 20.
m Tabs: There are five tabs in the Viewer: Video, Audio, Filters, Motion, and Controls. Each
tab in the Viewer provides certain editing functions. The Video and Audio tabs appear
only if the clip currently opened in the Viewer contains video or audio media. For
example, you’ll see the Audio tab only when you open an audio clip or a video clip that
includes audio. The Filters tab appears for all clips, and the Motion tab appears only for
video and graphics clips.
m Playhead and scrubber bar: These let you locate and move or jump to different parts of
a clip quickly and easily.
m Transport controls: You use these to move the playhead within clips and sequences. The
position of the playhead corresponds to the currently displayed frame.
m Jog and shuttle controls: You use the jog and shuttle controls to navigate more precisely
within your clip.
m Marking controls: You use these to mark clips with edit points (In and Out points),
markers, and keyframes.
m Zoom pop-up menu: This lets you enlarge or shrink the image that appears in the Viewer.
m Playhead Sync pop-up menu: This gives you options to lock the movement of the
playheads in the Viewer and the Canvas together in different ways while scrubbing
m View pop-up menu: This allows you to change the viewing format and control the display
of various overlays that can appear in the Viewer.
m Generator pop-up menu: You use this to select and open generators in the Viewer for
modifying and editing into your sequence. Generators are special clips that can be
generated by Final Cut Pro; for example, they can be used to create color mattes and text
of different types.
Working With Clips and the Viewer 19
m Recent Clips pop-up menu: This allows you to open recently used clips in the Viewer for
modifying and editing into your sequence.
m Timecode fields: The Current Timecode field displays the timecode of the frame at the
current position of the playhead. The Timecode Duration field lets you view and change
the duration of marked clips.
Opening the Viewer
To open the Viewer, do one of the following:
m Press Command-1. (Press this again to close the Viewer.)
m Double-click a clip in the Browser.
m Double-click a clip in an open sequence in the Timeline.
Before you can work in the Viewer, it must be the currently selected, or active, window.
(Otherwise, any keyboard shortcuts you use may perform the wrong operations.)
To make the Viewer active, do one of the following:
m Click the Viewer.
m Press Q to switch between the Viewer and the Canvas.
Clip name and the
project it’s in.
Shuttle control Jog control
View pop-up menu
Current Timecode field Timecode Duration field
Zoom pop-up menu
20 Chapter 1
Tabs in the Viewer
Each tab in the Viewer provides a specific set of editing functions.
m Video tab: Lets you view video frames and locate and mark edit points, or In and Out
points. The Video tab appears by default when you play back clips that include video.
m Audio tabs: Appear for clips with audio only; let you adjust volume and pan over time.
m Filters tab: Lets you adjust settings for any filters and effects you’ve applied to a clip.
m Motion tab: Lets you apply and modify motion effects to a clip, such as scaling and
m Controls tab: Lets you change the parameters and controls for generators, which create
new information (such as text for titles).
You can drag tabs out of the Viewer so they appear in a separate window. This is useful if you
want to edit all the settings of a particular clip at one time. For more information, see
Volume I, Chapter 4, “The Final Cut Pro Interface.”
If your clip has audio, you can use that clip’s audio tabs to view expanded waveform displays
for every audio track in that clip. Clips in Final Cut Pro may have up to 24 tracks of audio–
stereo pairs of audio appear together in a single tab, while mono audio tracks appear
separately in individual tabs. If you open an audio-only clip, you’ll only see audio tabs with no
accompanying video tab.
You can see the volume and panning overlays for each audio track belonging to a clip in that
track’s Audio tab. Controls allow you to change the volume and the stereo panning of the
clip, creating keyframes if necessary to mix that channel’s levels over time.
Working With Clips and the Viewer 21
You can also use the Audio tab to set In and Out points, markers, and keyframes for audio
clips. To learn more, see Chapter 29, “Audio Editing in the Viewer and Timeline,” on
This is where you adjust settings for any filters and effects you’ve applied to a clip. You can
also create animated effects by changing the filter settings over time using keyframes. For
more information, see Volume III, Chapter 3, “Working With Video Filters and Generators.”
22 Chapter 1
You apply and modify motion effects for a clip in this tab. Every video clip, whether it’s video,
graphics, or animation, has the same motion properties: scale, rotation, center, anchor
point, crop, distort, opacity, drop shadow, and motion blur.
You can create animated effects by changing the motion properties over time using
combinations of keyframes. For more information, see Volume III, Chapter 2, “Applying
Motion Effects and Using Keyframes.”
Working With Clips and the Viewer 23
You use the Controls tab to change the parameters and controls for generators, which create
new information (such as text for titles). The Controls tab appears only when a generator is
open in the Viewer. For additional information, see Volume III, Chapter 3, “Working With
Video Filters and Generators.”
Playhead and Clip Controls
The playhead and clip controls let you navigate through and locate different parts of a clip
quickly and easily.
24 Chapter 1
Playhead and Scrubber Bar
The playhead shows the location of the currently displayed frame within the current clip or
sequence. The scrubber bar runs along the entire width of the Viewer, below the video
image. To scrub, or move through, a clip, drag the playhead across the scrubber bar. You can
also click anywhere in the scrubber bar to instantly move the playhead to that location. This
is useful for quickly navigating through a clip or sequence.
You can also hold down the Command key to drag the playhead at a slower speed, so you
can more easily locate specific frames.
The playhead’s movement in the scrubber bar is affected by whether “snapping” is turned
on. When snapping is enabled, the playhead “snaps,” or moves directly, to any markers, In
points, or Out points in the scrubber bar when the mouse gets close to them. (To turn
snapping on or off, choose View>Snapping or press the N key.)
This control lets you quickly play through clips and sequences at different speeds, in fast and
slow motion. It also shifts the pitch of audio as it plays at varying speeds. In slow motion, this
can make it easier to locate specific words and sounds for editing.
Drag the slider to the right to fast-forward and to the left to rewind. Playback speed varies
depending on the distance of the slider from the center of the control. When the slider is
green, playback speed is normal (or 100 percent speed). The further away from the center
you move, the faster the playback speed. The keyboard equivalents of the shuttle control are
the J, K, and L keys. For more information, see “Shuttling Through a Clip” on page 44.
To move forward or backward in your clip very precisely, use the jog control. The jog control
allows you to move the playhead in the Viewer or Canvas as if you were actually moving it
with your hand, with a one-to-one correspondence between the motion of your mouse and
the playhead’s motion. This control is useful for carefully locating a specific frame (for
instance, if you’re trimming an edit).
The keyboard equivalents for the jog control are the Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys.
m Left Arrow: Moves the playhead backward, one frame at a time.
m Right Arrow: Moves the playhead forward, one frame at a time.
m To move the playhead one second at a time: Hold down the Shift key and press the Left
Arrow or Right Arrow key.
Working With Clips and the Viewer 25
When you set In and Out points, any video that falls outside of the area between these two
points becomes grayed out. This indicates that the video is currently not being used and will
not be edited into your sequence. It is always available if you decide to edit it back in or do
further trimming. (See Chapter 27, “Advanced Editing and Trimming Techniques,” on
page 335 for information on trimming your clips.)
You use the transport controls to move the playhead within clips and sequences.
m Previous Edit
This control works differently depending on whether a clip from the Browser or a
sequence clip has been opened in the Viewer.
m If a clip from the Browser is opened in the Viewer: The Previous Edit button moves
the playhead to the In point, if one is marked, or to the first frame of the clip, if no In
point is marked.
m If a sequence clip is opened in the Viewer: The Previous Edit button opens the
previous clip in the currently selected sequence and moves the playhead to its In
point. This button only opens clips that appear in the same track as the first sequence
clip that was opened.
m Play In to Out
Resets the playhead to the In point of the current clip and plays forward from that point
to the Out point. If you want to see how the clip you’re editing plays from beginning to
end, this is the control to use.
Plays back your clip or sequence from the current location of the playhead to the end,
regardless of the Out point. Clicking this control again stops playback.
Play Around Current Play In to Out
Next Edit Previous Edit
26 Chapter 1
m Play Around Current
Plays the selected clip or sequence from before the current playhead position, based on a
pre-roll setting, and continues through the amount of time specified by the post-roll
setting. (The preview pre-roll and preview post-roll settings are located in the General tab
of the User Preferences window.) You can use this control to get a quick sense of what
material is at the current position of the playhead as you navigate through a clip.
m Next Edit
Like the Previous Edit button, this control works differently depending on whether a clip
from the Browser or a sequence clip has been opened in the Viewer.
m If a clip from the Browser is opened in the Viewer: The Next Edit button moves the
playhead to the Out point, if one is marked, or to the last frame of the clip, if no Out
point is marked.
m If a sequence clip is opened in the Viewer: The Next Edit button opens the next clip
in the currently selected sequence and moves the playhead to its In point. This button
only opens clips that appear in the same track as the first sequence clip that was
Transport control Keyboard shortcut
Play In to Out
Play Around Current
option E +
shift + \
shift E +
Working With Clips and the Viewer 27
These controls are used to mark clips in various ways.
m Match Frame
To use the Match Frame button, a master or sequence clip affiliated with a clip in the
currently selected sequence in the Timeline must be open in the Viewer. When you click
the Match Frame button, the playhead in the Canvas and Timeline moves to the frame of
the sequence clip in the Timeline that matches the frame of the master or sequence clip
at the position of the Viewer playhead.
This control is useful when you want to use a frame from a master clip to quickly find a
frame in your sequence.
m Mark Clip
Click this button to use the current boundaries of a clip to set In and Out points.
m Add Keyframe
Click this button to add a keyframe to the current clip at the position of the playhead. A
keyframe is a special-purpose marker that denotes a change in value of an applied effect,
such as a motion effect or audio level.
m Clicking this button with the Video tab selected creates a keyframe for every motion
effect in the Motion tab except for the drop shadow and motion blur effects.
m Clicking this button with one of the Audio tabs selected creates keyframes for level and
m Control-clicking this button opens a shortcut menu that allows you to select a motion
effect that you want to set a keyframe for.
m Add Marker
Click this button to add a marker to the clip at the current position of the playhead. A
marker is used to bookmark and make notes about important points in your clip or
sequence as you edit, such as pinpointing locations of potential In or Out points, edit
points, or places where effects might be applied.
Add Marker Add Keyframe
Mark Out Match Frame
Mark In Mark Clip
28 Chapter 1
The keyboard equivalent to the Add Marker button is the M key. Pressing M with the
playhead on a marker will bring up that marker’s information window, where you can
type a name or notes for the marker, or press delete to eliminate the marker.
m To delete a marker: Move the playhead to it, then press Command-` (the accent key).
m To move the playhead to the next marker: Press Shift-M.
m To move the playhead to the previous marker: Press Option-M.
For more information about markers, see Chapter 25, “Using Markers and Subclips,” on
m Mark In and Mark Out
Click to set the In point or the Out point for the clip at the current position of the
playhead. These points will define the beginning and ending frames of a clip you edit into
Marking control Keyboard shortcut
(adds a keyframe to the effect you select in the
Go to In
Go to Out
control K +
shift I +
shift O +
Working With Clips and the Viewer 29
Recent Clips and Generator Pop-up Menus
The two pop-up menus near the lower-right corner of the Viewer let you quickly choose
source media and generator effects.
m Recent Clips
This pop-up menu shows recently used clips. A clip is not added to this list when first
opened in the Viewer, but only when another clip replaces it. The last clip that was
replaced in the Viewer appears at the top of the list. By default, the maximum number of
clips that appear in this list is 10, but you can change this number. For more information,
see Volume I, Chapter 6, “Viewing and Setting Preferences.”
Use this pop-up menu to choose a generator effect, such as Bars and Tone, Color Mattes,
Gradients, and Text. A generic version of the effect appears in the Viewer; you can then
customize it using the Controls tab before editing it into your sequence. For more
information, see Volume III, Chapter 3, “Working With Video Filters and Generators.”
Generator pop-up menu
The clip replaced most
recently is at the top of
30 Chapter 1
Zoom and View Pop-up Menus
The two pop-up menus near the top center of the Viewer let you quickly choose a
magnification level and a viewing format.
Choose a magnification level from this pop-up menu. This changes the display size of the
image, but doesn’t affect the frame size of your clip or your edited sequence. For more
information, see “Zooming In and Out” on page 51.
Choose a viewing format from this pop-up menu, including title safe boundaries, color and
alpha channel displays, and wireframe modes for compositing. None of these view options
affect your rendered media or material sent to tape; they are only for display within
Final Cut Pro. For more information, see “Viewing Title and Action Safe Boundaries” on
page 59 and “Timecode Overlays and Quick-Sync Indicators by Color” on page 110.
View pop-up menu Zoom pop-up menu
Working With Clips and the Viewer 31
Two fields display timecode in the Viewer: Timecode Duration and Current Timecode. To
change numbers in these fields, you click the icon to the left of the field to highlight the
contents of the field.
m Timecode Duration
This field displays the total time between the In and Out points for the clip that’s open in
the Viewer. If there are no edit points, the beginning and end of the clip are used as the In
and Out points. If you change this number manually, the Out point of your clip changes
to match the new duration (the In point remains the same).
You can Control-click this field to open a shortcut menu that lets you choose how to
display the clip duration: using non-drop frame timecode, drop frame timecode, or
frames. Choosing a different display option does not affect the clip duration.
m Current Timecode
This field displays the timecode value of the frame at the current position of the playhead.
If a merged clip has been opened into the Viewer, the timecode of the topmost clip item
is displayed (v1 if a video item is present, or a1 if the clip consists of audio only). If a clip
with no timecode track is opened into the Viewer (for example, a QuickTime animation
file that was computer generated, and not captured), the Viewer displays timecode
starting at frame 0, using the timebase of the QuickTime file.
The shortcut menu for
this field allows you to
change the display.
32 Chapter 1
If you enter a new timecode, the playhead moves to that position. You can enter both
absolute and relative timecode numbers to navigate through a clip. For more information
on navigating using timecode and how timecode works, see Volume I, Chapter 4, “The
Final Cut Pro Interface.”
If you Control-click this field, a shortcut menu opens that lets you select several timecode
m View as Non-Drop Frame, Drop Frame, or Frames: You can choose how timecode is
displayed. Changing this option does not change the timecode of the clip. The menu
item in bold indicates the timecode that was captured with the clip. Drop frame is
available only for clips with a frame rate of 29.97 fps and 59.94 fps (not PAL clips).
m View using Clip Time or Media Time: Choosing Media Time guarantees that the
current timecode displayed represents the timecode associated with that frame in your
source media file. For example, if you change the speed of a clip to 50 percent, you
effectively double the number of frames in that clip. With Media Time selected, each
duplicated frame shows the correct timecode number of the frame in the media file it
came from. Displaying Media Time is also useful for showing timecode with a timebase
that doesn’t match that of your sequence. For example, if a 29.97 fps clip is set to
display the timecode from a 24 fps Aux 1 timecode track, choosing Media Time will
accurately present these values in the Viewer. Media Time is always displayed in the
Viewer and Browser in italics. If you choose Clip Time, the timecode displayed in the
Viewer is incremented from the first timecode value in the clip forward, regardless of
whether the timecode is correctly representing the current frame.
This shows the timecode
of the current frame.
The shortcut menu for
this field allows you to
choose a timecode
Working With Clips and the Viewer 33
m View using Source, Aux 1, or Aux 2: You can display the source timecode captured
with the clip. You can also display Aux 1 and Aux 2, additional timecode tracks that can
be useful for synchronizing clips from multiple sources. For example, if you’re working
with audio clips captured from DAT, and video clips captured from Digital Betacam,
the source timecode of each clip will reflect the timecode that was captured on the
different tapes. However, you can also set the Aux 1 timecode of each audio clip to
reflect the source timecode of its corresponding video clip, offset to match the sync
point. This can also come in handy when working with merged clips that don’t have
synchronized timecode. Changing this option for a clip opened in the Viewer also
changes the dominant timecode track used by that clip for purposes of display and
EDL export just as if you’d changed the TC property of a clip in the Item Properties
window. For more information on changing a clip’s properties in the Timing tab of the
Item Properties window, see Volume I, Chapter 9, “Using the Browser and Managing
Projects and Clips.”
m Markers: You can choose a marker from the list to move the playhead to the marker’s
location. All the markers in the current clip appear in the shortcut menu.
Dragging and Dropping Timecode
You can drag and drop timecode values from one timecode field to another, or from
columns in the Browser to timecode fields in the Log and Capture window. This can
be especially helpful for quickly relogging a clip when you want to change its In or Out
point in the Log and Capture window.
To drag a timecode value from one field to another:
m Hold the Option key while you drag a timecode value from a timecode field or
column in the Browser to any other timecode field.
34 Chapter 1
Working With Clips Between the Browser and Viewer
When you capture or import clips into a project in the Browser, you don’t copy the original
media file on your disk into your project; you only place a linked reference to that media in
the Browser. A clip in the Browser can also be “offline,” which means the media hasn’t been
captured yet, the media has been captured but moved to another location on disk, or the
media was deleted.
The first instance of a clip that is captured or imported into a project is referred to as a
master clip. At the most basic level, the editorial process involves moving a clip from the
Browser to the Viewer, setting In and Out points, and then editing it into the Timeline, which
represents your edited sequence.
Editing a master clip into a sequence or duplicating it in the Browser results in the creation
of a sequence clip or duplicate clip that is an affiliate of the original master clip. As you edit,
a relationship is maintained between the original master clip in the Browser and all edited or
duplicated affiliates of that clip that appear in every sequence and in every bin of that project.
As you work with clips between these windows, here are some rules to remember:
m If you delete the original media file, your clip still appears in the Browser and in the
Timeline (if you’ve added it to a sequence) as an offline clip.
You won’t actually see any of the clip’s frames if you play it in the Viewer, since the original
file can no longer be accessed. If the clip was captured using timecode, you can recapture
it easily using the Batch Capture button in the Log and Capture window. For more
information, see Volume I, Chapter 10, “Logging and Capturing Media.”
When a master clip is deleted, a dialog appears warning you that “One or more of the
clips you have selected are master clips. By deleting them you will break their relationship
to any clip or item associated with them. Do you want to continue?” If you click OK, all
duplicates of that clip in the Browser become master clips. All instances of that clip that
have been edited inside of sequences become independent clips.
This appears in the
Viewer when a clip
Working With Clips and the Viewer 35
m If you moved the original media file on your hard disk, you can use the Reconnect Media
command in the File menu.
This command lets you find the clip’s new location on your hard disk and re-create the
link between the source file and the clip in your project. Reconnecting a clip automatically
reconnects all clips in that project that are affiliated with the clip. For more information,
see “About the Reconnect Media Command” on page 609.
m When you apply motion effects or filters to a clip and edit the In and Out points of a clip,
you do not affect the original media file.
You only change the clip’s appearance in your edited sequence. You’ll only change your
source media on disk if you modify the reel number and timecode of a clip in the clip’s
Item Properties window.
m When you edit a clip into the Timeline, the clip that appears in your sequence is an
affiliated copy of the clip in the Browser.
The first instance of that clip in the Browser is the master clip, and the clip in your
sequence is a sequence clip which is affiliated with the original master clip. If you edit a
clip into the Timeline which is a copy of a master clip in the Browser, all three clips
maintain their relationship with one another–the clip you opened from the Browser, the
original master clip it came from, and the new sequence clip you created. For more
information on using the Timeline to edit sequences, see Chapter 24, “Editing in the
Timeline,” on page 235.
Working With Master Clips and Sequence Clips
You can make changes to the In and Out points of master clips in the Browser using the
Viewer, without affecting the In and Out points on duplicates of the clip that appear in your
edited sequences, and vice versa. This is also true of any changes you make to filters, motion
settings, and audio levels. This means that you have to be careful about which clip you open
into the Viewer when you want to perform an edit.
m If you want to edit a new clip into a sequence, open the clip from the Browser. Because
you’re working with the master clip, the In and Out points and any other changes you
make have no effect on any copies of this clip that you’ve already edited into other
m If you want to modify a clip in an existing sequence, open it from that sequence’s
Timeline. You’ll be editing the sequence clip, which is a duplicate of the master clip in the
Browser. If you change the In and Out points or other settings for this sequence clip, the
master clip in the Browser does not change.
36 Chapter 1
Note: When certain clip properties are changed in the Browser, those changes are
automatically applied to all other clips that are affiliated with that clip. For example, changes
made to the Reel Name, Clip Name, or Timecode of a master clip in the Browser are also
made to all affiliate clips–both affiliated sequence clips and duplicate clips appearing in the
Browser. These same changes, if made to a sequence clip, are also made to that clip’s master
clip in the Browser, as well as to all other clips which are affiliated with that master clip. For
more information on which properties are shared between affiliated clips, see Volume I,
Chapter 9, “Using the Browser and Managing Projects and Clips.”
Opening Clips Into the Viewer
You can open clips into the Viewer from either the Browser or the Timeline. Clips appear in
the Viewer with the last selected Viewer tab displayed. If you’re opening an audio-only clip,
the Video tab disappears and the Audio tab is displayed. Although the Viewer can display
only one clip at a time, you can open multiple selected clips into the Viewer, and they will
appear in the Recent Clips pop-up menu.
Note: You can also open clips that are not in the currently open project directly into the
Final Cut Pro distinguishes between clips opened from the Browser and clips opened from
the Timeline. Clips opened from the Browser have a plain scrubber bar, while those opened
from the Timeline have two lines of dots in the scrubber bar that resemble sprocket holes in
a strip of film.
Tip: If there is no clip in the Viewer, the Slug generator is displayed by default. You can edit
this slug into a sequence just like any other clip. For more information on the Slug generator,
see Volume III, Chapter 3, “Working With Video Filters and Generators.”
To open a clip from the Browser, do one of the following:
m Double-click the clip.
m Drag the clip from the Browser to the Preview area of the Viewer.
m Select the clip with the Up and Down Arrow keys, then press the Return key.
m Control-click the clip, then choose Open Viewer from the shortcut menu.
A clip opened from the
Browser has a plain
Working With Clips and the Viewer 37
To open a clip from a sequence in the Timeline, do one of the following:
m Double-click the clip.
m Select the clip, then press Return.
m Move to an edit point (using the Up and Down Arrow keys), then press Shift-Return. The
clip immediately to the right of the edit point opens in the Viewer.
m Control-click the clip, then choose Open Clip “Name” from the shortcut menu (where
“Name” is the name of the clip).
m Double-click the currently displayed clip in the Canvas.
To open a “copy” of a clip in the Viewer:
m Hold the Option key down while dragging the clip from the Browser to the Viewer.
To open a clip in its own Viewer window, do one of the following:
m Select the clip in the Browser or Timeline, then choose View>Clip in New Window.
m In the Browser, Control-click the clip, then choose Open in New Viewer from the shortcut
m With a clip selected, press Shift-Return.
To open a recently viewed clip:
m Choose the clip from the Recent Clips pop-up menu in the Viewer.
To open a clip outside the current project:
1 Choose File>Open.
2 Locate the clip, select it, then click Open.
The clip opens in its own Viewer window. Changes you make to this clip, such as marking
edit points or creating markers, are not saved with the clip unless you add it to a project. To
add an open clip to a project, drag it from its Viewer to the Browser.
A clip opened from a
sequence in the
Timeline has a dotted
The Recent Clips menu
only contains names of clips
opened from the Browser.
38 Chapter 1
Opening Multichannel Clips Into the Viewer
Editing in the Timeline
This chapter describes how to work with the audio and video items that make up clips in the
Timeline. This includes selecting, moving, and performing basic edits on these items, as well
as using snapping and linking. Many of these procedures use tools found in the Tool palette,
and can be used together with various keyboard shortcuts to achieve more complex editing
tasks. For more information on the Tool palette, see “About the Tool Palette” on page 336.
Working With Linked Items
As explained in “How Clips Appear in the Timeline” on page 146, when clips with linked
audio and video are edited into your sequence, they’re represented in the Timeline by a
group of video and audio items. Final Cut Pro links video and audio that originate from the
same media file. Selecting one item also selects the other items linked to it. In the example
below, clicking a clip’s audio track in track A1 also selects its accompanying audio and video
tracks in tracks A2 and V1.
This linking behavior takes place as long as the Linked Selection option in the Timeline is
Video track V1 and
audio tracks A1 and A2
are linked tracks.
236 Chapter 6
With linked selection turned on, Final Cut Pro treats all linked items as a single entity for
most operations. When it is turned off, linked items are treated as if they were not linked,
and clicking a clip’s video or audio item selects only that item.
You can turn linked selection on or off at any time. Even with linked selection off, moving
two items out of sync results in an out-of-sync indicator, which you can use to bring them
back into sync at any time. (See “Audio/Video Synchronization in Final Cut Pro” on page 392
for more information.)
To turn linked selection on or off, do one of the following:
m Press Shift-L.
m Click the Linked Selection control in the upper-right corner of the Timeline.
To temporarily turn linked selection on or off while working in the Timeline:
m Hold down the Option key while selecting individual items.
Linked selection is disabled (if it’s on) or enabled (if it’s off ) for as long as you hold down
the Option key. This is an extremely useful keyboard modifier, and one you’ll probably
find yourself using frequently.
For example, if linked selection is turned on, but you press the Option key while you click
the video item of a linked clip, only the video is selected. This is a quick way to select only
one item of a linked clip for editing, trimming, or deleting.
is turned off
With linking turned off,
clicking a clip’s video
will only select that item.
Editing in the Timeline 237
Linking and Unlinking Video and Audio Items
You can link or relink audio and video clips directly in the Timeline. You can link one video
item and up to 24 audio items, including multiple stereo pairs. This is useful if you want to
associate a group of audio items with a particular video clip, keeping them in sync with one
When you open a group of linked items into the Viewer, each linked mono or stereo pair of
tracks appears in an audio tab in the Viewer, similar to the behavior of a merged clip.
Dragging a group of linked items from the Timeline into the Browser creates a merged clip
containing those items. For more information on working with merged clips, see Volume I,
Chapter 9, “Using the Browser and Managing Projects and Clips.”
To link unrelated items in the Timeline:
1 Arrange audio and video items in their respective tracks so that they sync together the way
you want them to.
2 Select up to one video item and up to 24 audio items on different tracks in the Timeline.
Video and audio tracks
are lined up but not
Select video and
238 Chapter 6
3 Do one of the following:
m Choose Modify>Link.
m Press Command-L.
When you link items, a sync relationship is established between those items, according to
their position in the Timeline. All linked items are marked in sync, and this new sync
relationship is tracked.
You can also break the link between audio and video items in the Timeline.
To break the link between items:
1 Select one or more linked items in the Timeline.
2 Do one of the following:
m Choose Modify>Link.
m Press Command-L.
About Stereo Pairs
Audio clips can also be linked together as a stereo pair. You can set up a stereo pair during
capture, or turn stereo pairing on or off later for two audio items in the Timeline.
During capture, audio channels can be captured either as two mono channels (Ch 1 + Ch 2)
or as a stereo pair. If clips are captured as mono channels 1 and 2, their audio items in the
Timeline are treated like any other linked items. Clicking one item selects both items with
linked selection on; with linked selection turned off, you can select only one at a time. When
you open an audio clip into the Viewer, each channel has its own tab, named Mono (a1) and
Mono (a2). Levels and filters applied to one mono channel are not applied to the other, and
pan is centered for each mono channel.
Names of linked items
are underlined in the
Editing in the Timeline 239
Stereo pairs are treated more like a single item in the Timeline than even linked items are.
Stereo pair items are always the same length. If you select the audio portion of a clip in the
Timeline that is designated as a stereo pair, you can only select both audio tracks together,
even if linked selection is turned off.
A stereo pair appears in the Viewer as a single tab, called Stereo (a1a2). If multiple stereo pairs
are linked together, the number used by each successive stereo pair increases, for example
Stereo (a3a4), Stereo (a5a6), and so on. The waveforms of both audio channels are displayed in
this one tab, and any levels or effects applied to one channel are automatically applied to the
other channel. Stereo pairs are very useful if you’re importing clips with music, stereo sound
effects, or other stereo material that you don’t want to edit separately.
You can create or disable stereo pairs at any time. You can create multiple stereo pairs at the
same time, or one pair at a time.
Note: It is not necessary to break the link between clips prior to disabling stereo pairing.
To make one or more pairs of audio items a stereo pair:
1 Select a linked or unlinked pair of mono audio clips or a linked set of audio and video items in
2 Choose Modify>Stereo Pair.
When a pair of items is a stereo pair, a checkmark appears next to the menu item. In the
Timeline, an enabled stereo pair has a stereo pair indicator (shown below).
Stereo pair indicator
240 Chapter 6
Selecting Items in the Timeline
You can select clips, transitions, and edit points in the Timeline in order to perform different
The following items can be selected in the Timeline:
m Items: Any audio, video, or graphics item that’s part of a clip. This includes multiple items
or a range of items.
m Transitions: Transitions such as dissolves or wipes that have been added between two
items on the Timeline. You can select these in order to trim or delete them.
m Edits: Edit points (either the In or Out points of individual items, or the border where
two items meet) can be selected for further editing.
m Gaps: The spaces between two clips on the same track can be selected in order to close
them or fill them with media.
m Overlay keyframes: The keyframes on top of a clip overlay, when displayed, can be
moved to change their value. These affect the opacity of video items and volume levels for
Tip: You can also add more keyframes directly in the Timeline by holding down the Option
key and clicking an overlay when the pointer changes to a pen.
The following items cannot be selected in the Timeline:
m Filter and motion bars and their keyframes: You can double-click a bar directly in the
Timeline to view filter or motion details in the Viewer. Even though you can’t select the
keyframes, you can move them by dragging them.
m Tracks: Tracks themselves can’t be selected, although the contents of tracks can be
selected using the track selection tools.
Tools Used for Selecting Items in the Timeline
Several tools in the Tool palette can be used to select items in the Timeline. You can use each
one to work with a different set of items in the Timeline.
Note: Remember that if you select an item that’s linked to another item, the other item will
be selected as well, unless you disable the Linked Selection option.
Editing in the Timeline 241
To select a tool:
1 Move the pointer over a tool in the Tool palette, then press and hold the mouse button.
All of the related tools appear.
2 Move the pointer to the tool you want to select, then release the mouse button.
The selected tool becomes the current tool in the Tool palette for that group of tools.
These tools, in order of appearance:
m Selection: Selects individual items, such as a clip, transition, edit point, or keyframe, or
multiple items if they’re linked. The functions of this tool can be modified in a variety of
ways using keyboard shortcuts. This is the default tool.
The selected tool
becomes the default
shown in the
Tool palette. Click to
242 Chapter 6
m Edit Selection: Selects an edit point between clips. You can select edits on as many tracks
as you want, but you can only select one edit per track. When you release the mouse
button, the Trim Edit window will open so you can precisely modify all of these edit
points simultaneously. (For more information on using the Trim Edit window, see
Chapter 27, “Advanced Editing and Trimming Techniques,” on page 335.)
m Group Selection: Selects multiple contiguous items. This tool automatically selects an
entire item in the Timeline even if you only drag over a part of it. Any other items linked
to it will be selected as well. Use this tool to select several clips in their entirety.
m Range Selection: Selects a range across multiple contiguous items. This tool will not
automatically select an entire item, but only the part of the item that you drag across. Use this
tool to select only a part of a clip, or to create a selection that includes parts of several clips.
m Select Track Forward: Selects all the items in a track after the selection point you click.
Selected items are ready for any group operation, such as moving or deleting. Items
linked to selected items in this track will be selected also.
m Select Track Backward: Selects all the contents of the track before the selection point.
m Select Track: Selects the entire contents of a single track, as well as any items linked to
m Select All Tracks Forward: Selects all the contents of all tracks after the selection point.
m Select All Tracks Backward: Selects all the contents of all tracks before the selection point.
Select All Tracks
Select All Tracks
Editing in the Timeline 243
Using the Selection Tools
These tools can be used in a number of ways to select various combinations of items in your
sequence in the Timeline.
To select an entire clip:
1 Do one of the following:
m Choose the Selection tool in the Tool palette.
m Press A.
2 In the Timeline, click anywhere in a clip.
In the Canvas, a cyan border appears around the video image to indicate that the clip has
been selected, if the playhead is over that clip.
To select a portion of a clip or a range of clips on a track:
1 Do one of the following:
m Choose the Range Selection tool in the Tool palette.
m Press the G key three times, so the Range Selection tool is displayed in the Tool palette.
2 Drag a bounding box (or “marquee”) in the area of the clip or clips you want to select.
Cyan border indicates
clip has been selected.
Marquee surrounds one
entire clip and part of a
244 Chapter 6
To select multiple whole clips:
1 Do one of the following:
m Choose the Group Selection tool in the Tool palette.
m Press the G key two times, so the Group Selection tool is displayed in the Tool palette.
2 Drag a marquee around all of the desired clips. Any clip you touch will be included, even if
you don’t drag across the entire clip.
Modifying the Selection Tools
The Shift and Command keys modify the behavior of the current selection tool so you can
select different combinations of clips.
To select multiple non-contiguous clips:
m Hold down the Command key while selecting the desired clips using either the Selection
tool or the Group Selection tool.
You can also Command-click a specific item again to deselect it.
To select multiple contiguous clips with the Selection tool:
m Select a clip, then hold down the Shift key and select another clip farther down on the
Timeline. All of the clips between the two are selected.
m If you select two clips on the same track, only the items on that track (and items linked
to items on that track) will be selected.
m If you select a clip on one track and another clip on a different track, all clips between
those two tracks will be selected as well.
Using Canvas or Timeline In and Out Points to Select Clips
You can use the In and Out points you set in the Canvas or Timeline to select clips. Since the
In and Out points in the Canvas and Timeline are locked to each other, setting the points in
one location also sets them in the other.
two whole clips.
Editing in the Timeline 245
To select all items between the In and Out points:
1 Set your In and Out points in either the Canvas or the Timeline.
2 In the Timeline, specify the destination tracks for the clips you want to select by clicking the
appropriate destination track controls.
For more information on selecting destination tracks, see “Using the Source and Destination
Controls” on page 156.
3 Do one of the following:
m Choose Mark>Select In to Out.
m Press Option-A.
Only the parts of clips in the destination tracks between the In and Out points are selected.
You can also do the reverse, and use a selected range of clips to define the In and Out points
in the Timeline and Canvas.
To set In and Out points around a selected part of a sequence:
1 Choose any tool and select a range of clips.
2 Do one of the following:
m Choose Mark>Mark Selection.
m Press Shift-A.
Using the Auto Select Controls
Enabling the Auto Select controls of specific tracks in the Timeline allows the contents of
those tracks to be selected via In and Out points in the Timeline or Canvas, just as if you’d
used the Range Selection tool. When In and Out points are defined in the Timeline,
operations such as the Copy command and lift edits are limited to the selected regions of
tracks that have Auto Select turned on.
246 Chapter 6
When one or more Auto Select controls are enabled, regions of clips in the Timeline defined by
In and Out points are highlighted, which indicates that these regions can be operated upon.
There are two instances when the Auto Select controls are ignored:
m If no Auto Select controls are enabled, nothing in the Timeline is automatically
highlighted, and only selected clips will be operated upon, as in earlier versions of
Final Cut Pro.
m If you use the Selection, Range Selection, or Edit Selection tool to select items in the
Timeline, the Auto Select controls are ignored.
The Auto Select controls give you an added level of control over which part of the Timeline
you cut, copy, or delete from. Suppose you have a sequence with one video and two audio
tracks. By disabling the Auto Select controls for audio tracks A1 and A2, you can select a
range of track V1 by setting In and Out points in the Canvas or Timeline. Items on the audio
tracks are not selected.
Editing in the Timeline 247
If you press the Delete key, only the items on track V1 are deleted, because this is the
Selecting All Clips on a Track
The track selection tools provide many additional ways of selecting some or all of one or
more tracks in your sequence. When selecting the contents of a track, remember that linked
items on other tracks will also be selected if linked selection is enabled. (See “Linking and
Unlinking Video and Audio Items” on page 237.)
After selecting a track’s contents, you can perform different operations on all items at once,
such as moving, copying, or deleting them. This is useful for closing gaps or creating space to
accommodate new clips in your sequence.
To select all the items on a single track:
1 Do one of the following:
m Choose the Select Track tool in the Tool palette.
m Press the T key three times, so the Select Track tool is selected in the Tool palette.
2 Click anywhere in the track. All clips on the track are selected, as well as any items linked to
All clips in V1
248 Chapter 6
To select all items on a single track before or after a selected clip:
1 Do one of the following:
m Select the Select Track Forward or Select Track Backward tool in the Tool palette.
m Press the T key to select the Select Track Forward tool, or press the T key twice to select
the Select Track Backward tool.
2 Click the first clip in the track that you want to include in the selection.
All clips in that track from the point you click onward (either forward or back) are selected,
as well as any items linked to the clips. You can select entire clips only; you can’t select a
portion of a clip.
If you click here, all clips
to the right are selected.
If you click here, all clips
to the left are selected.
Editing in the Timeline 249
To select all items on all tracks forward or backward from a selected clip:
1 Choose the Select All Tracks Forward or Select All Tracks Backward tool in the Tool palette.
2 Click the first clip on any track that you want to include in the selection.
All clips in all tracks from the point you click onward (either forward or back) are selected, as
well as any items linked to those clips. You can select entire clips only; you can’t select a
portion of a clip.
Once you’ve selected a large group of clips with any of the tools, you can always deselect
individual clips. If a clip is deselected, any operation you perform on the other clips won’t
To deselect an individual item in the Timeline:
1 Do one of the following:
m Select the Selection tool in the Tool palette.
m Press A.
2 Command-click the item you want to deselect.
If you click here, all clips
on all tracks to the right
If you click here, all clips
on all tracks to the left
250 Chapter 6
Selecting or Deselecting All Clips in a Sequence
To select every clip in the Timeline, do one of the following:
m Choose Edit>Select All.
m Press Command-A.
To deselect every clip in the Timeline, do one of the following:
m Choose Edit>Deselect All.
m Press Command-Shift-A.
Snapping in the Timeline
When snapping is turned on, items you move in the Timeline, including the playhead and
selected clips, appear to jump, or “snap,” directly to certain points in the Timeline. Snapping
makes it easier and quicker to do things like line up two clips, or align the playhead to a
Several items trigger snapping in the Timeline:
m Clip boundaries
m The playhead
m In and Out points
When you drag the playhead or a selected clip in the Timeline, it “snaps” to these items when
it encounters them. A small arrow appears above or below the edit, marker, or keyframe to
indicate that the playhead has snapped to this item.
While snapping is extremely useful, it can also be a hindrance if you’re trying to move a clip
only a few frames among a series of markers and clip boundaries, and you don’t want it to snap
to a new point. You can turn snapping on or off at any time, even as you’re dragging a clip.
Editing in the Timeline 251
To turn snapping on and off, do one of the following:
m Press N (you can do this even while you’re dragging).
m Choose View>Snapping. (A checkmark indicates snapping is on.)
m Click the Snapping button in the Timeline.
Snapping affects many of Final Cut Pro’s other functions, in addition to those in the Timeline.
Snapping also affects tools and the scrubber in both the Viewer and in the Canvas and also
affects compositing tasks when using motion controls.
Modifying Clips Already in the Timeline
Once you’ve edited clips into your sequence, you can continue to edit them. You can edit
clips directly in the Timeline, by dragging the boundaries of their constituent items, or you
can reopen them into the Viewer from the Timeline, this time as a sequence clip rather than
a master clip.
Using the Command Key to “Gear Down”
When you’re dragging clips, edit points, or keyframes, usually the default one-to-one
correspondence between the motion of your mouse and the motion of the item
you’re dragging works just fine. However, you can drag even more precisely by
pressing the Command key to slow, or “gear down,” the dragging speed after you’ve
For example, holding the Command key down after you’ve started dragging a clip
causes the motion of that clip on the Timeline to be much slower and more precise.
This can be helpful if the Timeline is zoomed out so that individual clips look small.
It’s also useful if you want to make very small changes to an edit point, a keyframe
parameter, a volume level, or anything else.
The Command key works with nearly any dragging operation in Final Cut Pro.
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Dragging Clip Boundaries in the Timeline
Clips are represented in the Timeline as bars with essentially three regions. The total length
of the bar represents the clip’s duration. The beginning and end of the bar represent the
clip’s In and Out points. You can drag each of these regions to modify the clip, right in the
Timeline. As you move your pointer over a clip, the pointer changes from an arrow (around
the center of the clip) to a Resize pointer (at either the beginning or the end of the clip).
Dragging the beginning or end of a clip in the Timeline changes the duration of that clip in
the sequence, either from the beginning or from the end.
Resize pointer at
beginning of clip
Resize pointer at
end of clip
Box shows the
changed length of
the clip and the new
duration of the clip.
Dragging the beginning or
end of a clip changes the
Editing in the Timeline 253
Dragging the center of the clip moves the entire clip to another location in your sequence,
leaving the In and Out points alone. Dragging a clip onto another clip performs a replace
edit, but if you hold the Option key down after you start dragging and keep it held down as
you let go of the mouse button, you will perform an insert edit.
For more information about editing clips graphically in the Timeline, see “Editing Directly
Into the Timeline” on page 216.
Opening Sequence Clips in the Viewer
You can do more detailed editing by opening a clip from your sequence in the Timeline
directly in the Viewer. Any changes you make to that clip using the Viewer controls will
modify the clip only as it appears in your edited sequence. How these changes occur will also
depend on the editing tool that’s selected.
To open a clip in the Viewer from the Timeline for further editing, do one of the
m Double-click the clip in the Timeline.
m Select the clip, then choose View>Clip (or press Return).
m Position the playhead at the In point of the clip in the Timeline (using the Up or Down
Arrow key) or anywhere within the clip in the Timeline, and press the Return key. The
clip opens into the Viewer and the Viewer playhead is at the same frame as the one under
the Timeline playhead.
The items that appear in the Viewer depend on whether or not they’re linked, and whether
linked selection is turned on.
m If an item is linked to other items and linked selection is turned on, all items associated
with the one you’ve opened in the Viewer will also be opened. Video will appear in its
own tab and audio in its own tab or tabs.
m If linked selection is off, or items in the Timeline aren’t linked, only the one item will be
opened into a tab in the Viewer.
Box indicates how far
clip has been moved
and in what direction.
Dragging the center of a clip
moves the entire clip.
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When a sequence clip opens in the Viewer, the tab that appears in front depends on what
you clicked in the Timeline.
m If you double-clicked a video item, the video tab will be in front in the Viewer.
m If you double-clicked an audio item, the audio tab will be in front in the Viewer.
m If you double-clicked either the filter bar or the motion bar in the keyframes area of an item
in the Timeline, the corresponding Filters or Motion tab will be in front in the Viewer.
m If you had a sequence clip already open in the Viewer with the Filters tab in front, another
sequence clip opened in the Viewer appears with its Filters tab in front as well.
Changes made to a sequence clip apply only to that copy of the clip, and do not affect the
original clip in the Browser.
Copying Sequence Clips Back Into the Browser
Clips that have been modified in the Timeline can also be copied back into the Browser. This
doesn’t affect the master clip that the clip was originally edited from, but creates another
duplicate of the clip, with the In and Out points defined in the Timeline, and adds it as an
additional item in the Browser. This is useful if you’ve modified a clip in a sequence and want
to use it later in another sequence. A duplicate of a sequence clip inherits the affiliation with
that sequence clip’s master clip.
To copy a clip from the Timeline to the Browser:
m Drag the clip from the Timeline to the Browser.
Tip: If you drag a group of one video and up to 24 audio items that have been linked
together into the Browser, you create a single merged clip that becomes a new master clip.
For more information on creating and using merged clips, see Volume I, Chapter 9, “Using
the Browser and Managing Projects and Clips.”
Moving Items in the Timeline
In Final Cut Pro, once you’ve moved clips from the Browser or Viewer into the Timeline, you
might want to move clips around within the Timeline. For more information about editing
clips into your sequence, see “Editing in Final Cut Pro” on page 169.
There are several ways to move previously edited clips around in the Timeline:
m Drag the clips with the mouse.
m Select the clips and enter timecode values in the Current Timecode field for more precise
Editing in the Timeline 255
To move a clip to a new position using the mouse (and do an overwrite edit):
1 In the Timeline, drag the clip to the desired location. (The pointer looks like a down arrow.)
2 Release the mouse button.
To move a clip to a new position using the mouse (and do an insert edit):
1 In the Timeline, drag the clip to the desired location.
2 Press and hold the Option key (after you’ve started dragging the clip).
3 Continue to hold the Option key down while dropping the clip at the new location. (The
pointer looks like a right arrow.)
4 Release the mouse button.
To move a clip to another track while keeping its timecode location the same:
1 In the Timeline, select the clip you want to move.
2 Press the Shift key while dragging it vertically to the new track.
The clip will be at the same timecode location, but on another track.
Dragging a clip to a new location.
Arrow pointing down indicates that
an overwrite edit will be performed.
Arrow indicates an insert
edit will be performed.
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To move an item by entering timecode:
1 In the Timeline, select the item or items you want to move.
2 Enter a relative timecode value for where you want the clip to be positioned.
Don’t click in the Current Timecode field before you do this or you’ll move the playhead
As you type, a timecode field appears below the ruler. Enter a positive number to move the
clip forward; enter a negative number to move the clip backward. Or, type a regular timecode
value to move the clip to that location in the Timeline.
3 Press Return.
The clip moves to the new location, if there aren’t any other clips in the way. If there are, you’ll
see a “media limit” warning indicating which track had a clip that interfered with your edit.
of frames moved
Clip to be moved
Media limit warning
Editing in the Timeline 257
Duplicating and Copying Clips in the Timeline
It’s easy to duplicate clips in a sequence in the Timeline either by dragging, or by selecting a
clip and using the Copy and Paste commands (or their keyboard equivalents).
To copy a clip into another location in the Timeline by dragging:
1 In the Timeline, select the clip.
2 Hold down the Option key and drag the clip to the new location in the Timeline.
You can also make duplicates of sequence clips by dragging them from the Timeline to the
Browser. These copies include any changes you’ve made to the clips in the sequence. See
“Copying Sequence Clips Back Into the Browser” on page 254.
Modifying Commands Using the Option Key
The Option key can be used in many ways. When you’re working with clips in the
Timeline, you can use the Option key to do one of three things:
m Hold the Option key down while you select a clip to temporarily turn off linked
selection (if it’s on) or turn it on (if it’s off ). For more information, see “Working
With Linked Items” on page 235.
m Hold the Option key down while dragging an item from its original position to
make a duplicate of that item (as covered in this section).
m Hold the Option key down after you’ve started dragging a clip and hold it as you
release the mouse button to perform an insert edit. For more information, see
“Moving Items in the Timeline” on page 254.
These tasks can be performed in combination. For example, you might want to select
only the video item of a clip in the Timeline, duplicate it, and insert edit it into another
clip. To do this, you’d hold down the Option key before selecting the clip (to unlink
the video from its linked audio track) and continue to hold it as you drag the clip to a
new location over another clip and release the mouse button (to do the insert edit).
If that’s what you meant to do: Congratulations! You’re a power user. If it’s not, you
probably held down the Option key too long.
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To copy and paste clips in the Timeline:
1 There are many ways to select clips to copy and paste. Do one of the following:
m Use one of the selection tools to select the clip or clips you want to copy.
m To use the keyboard to select a single clip: Navigate the playhead to that clip, press Shift-A
(or choose Mark>Mark Selection), then press Option-A (or choose Mark>Select In to Out).
m To select a range of clips with the keyboard: Use the I and O keys to mark In and Out
points in the Timeline, then press Option-A (or Mark>Select In to Out) to select that range.
2 Do one of the following:
m Choose Edit>Cut (or press Command-X) to cut a clip, removing it from its current
m Press Shift-C to perform a ripple cut, taking the selected clip or range of clips out of your
sequence and moving all clips in your sequence on unlocked tracks to the left to close the
m Choose Edit>Copy (or press Command-C) to copy a clip, leaving the original.
m Control-click the clip (or one of the selected clips), then choose Cut or Copy from the
3 Position the playhead where you want to paste your clip.
4 Make sure that the correct destination tracks are selected in your sequence.
For more information on selecting destination tracks, see “Specifying Destination Tracks in
the Timeline” on page 182.
Note: If you copy items that aren’t on the currently selected destination tracks, they are
pasted into tracks relative to their original distance from the original destination track. See
“Pasting Clips Onto Different Tracks” on page 259.
5 If you want to paste your copied items into other tracks, change the selected destination
tracks to the ones you want to paste into.
For more information, see “Pasting Clips Onto Different Tracks” on page 259.
6 Do one of the following:
m To paste your items as an overwrite edit:
m Choose Edit>Paste.
m Control-click in the Timeline, then choose Paste from the shortcut menu.
m Press Command-V.
m To paste your items as an insert edit:
m Choose Edit>Paste Insert.
m Control-click in the Timeline, then choose Paste from the shortcut menu.
m Press Shift-V.
Editing in the Timeline 259
Pasting Clips Onto Different Tracks
Ordinarily, when you cut or copy items from the destination track, then change the
destination track before pasting, your items are pasted into the new destination track.
If you cut or copy items that aren’t on the selected destination track, then when you paste
them, they are placed onto tracks relative to their original distance from the original
destination track. For example, if you copy an item on track V4 when the selected destination
track is V3, pasting that item simply places it back on track V4. However, if you change the
destination track to V1 before you paste the item, it is pasted into track V2, which is the same
distance from V1 as track V4 was from V3, the original destination track.
Select the clip
and copy it.
Copied clip is pasted on
destination track V2.
260 Chapter 6
Finding and Closing Gaps
As you edit, cut, paste, and move items around in Final Cut Pro, empty spaces may be left
between clips in your sequence. These are called gaps. Sometimes they are extremely small,
(one or two frames), which makes them difficult to see in the Timeline. When a sequence
with gaps plays back in the Canvas, however, even tiny gaps are apparent as black flashes.
There are two types of gaps:
m Track gaps: These are empty spaces between two clips in the same track.
m Gaps: These are overlapping track gaps that occur in every single track of your sequence.
To find gaps in a sequence:
1 Move the playhead to the beginning of the sequence to start looking from the beginning.
(You can do this quickly by pressing the Home key.) Otherwise, you can look for gaps to the
left or to the right of the playhead’s current position.
2 Do one of the following:
m Choose Mark>Next, then choose Gap from the submenu (Shift-G).
m Choose Mark>Previous, then choose Gap from the submenu (Option-G).
The playhead moves to the beginning of the first gap found to the left or right of the
To find track gaps in a sequence:
1 Decide which track to search and make it the destination track.
2 Do one of the following:
m Choose Mark>Next, then choose Track Gap from the submenu.
m Choose Mark>Previous, then choose Track Gap from the submenu.
The playhead moves to the beginning of the first track gap found.
Editing in the Timeline 261
To close a gap, do one of the following:
m Position the playhead anywhere within the gap, then choose Sequence>Close Gap.
m Control-click anywhere within a gap, then choose Close Gap from the shortcut menu.
m Select the gap by clicking it, then press Delete.
All clips to the right of the gap move left to close the gap.
Because this command shifts all clips to the right of the gap toward the left, the command is
not available if another clip on another track overlaps this gap. (This would change the
relationship of the overlapping clip to the rest of your sequence, or change the audio/video
sync if it’s an audio clip underneath a video clip.)
If you don’t care about the sync relationship between the rest of your sequence and the
overlapping clip, you can lock tracks containing overlapping clips, then use any of the above
commands to close the gap.
To close a track gap without affecting any other tracks in the sequence:
1 Click the Lock Track control of any tracks with clips that overlap the gap you’re trying to close.
2 Close the gap by doing one of the following:
m Position the playhead anywhere within the gap, then choose Sequence>Close Gap.
m Control-click anywhere within the gap, then choose Close Gap from the shortcut menu.
m Select the gap by clicking it, then press Delete.
To close a track gap using the Select Track Forward tool:
1 Make sure snapping is turned on.
For more information, see “Snapping in the Timeline” on page 250.
2 Select the Select Track Forward tool in the Tool palette.
3 Click the first clip to the right of the track gap.
All clips to the right are selected.
4 Drag the clips to the left until they close the gap and snap into place beside the earlier clip.
This performs an overwrite edit.
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To determine the duration of a gap in the Timeline:
1 Make the track with the gap the destination track.
2 Position the playhead in the gap.
3 Do one of the following:
m Choose Mark>Mark Clip.
m Click the Mark Clip button in the Canvas.
m Press X.
The gap’s duration appears in the Timecode Duration field in the Canvas.
Joining Through Edits
A through edit is an edit composed of two adjacent frames that have the same reel number
and subsequent timecodes. When you have a through edit, a through edit indicator—two red
triangles—appears between the clips.
You can join the two items of a through edit. This simplifies your edited sequence and keeps
Edit Decision Lists (EDLs) that you create free of these unnecessary edits. When you join two
items of a through edit that have different properties (such as different filters, opacity or
audio levels, or different composite modes), the newly joined clip uses the properties of the
item on the left only.
within a gap
Editing in the Timeline 263
To remove a through edit point and merge two clips into one:
m Select a through edit in the Timeline, then press Delete.
m Control-click a through edit in the Timeline, then choose Join Through Edit from the
Disabling Clips in the Timeline
If, instead of disabling an entire track, you only want to disable a single clip temporarily, you
can do so. Disabling a single clip prevents it from being played back, rendered, or output to
tape with the rest of the sequence.
You might disable a clip that you don’t want to delete, in case you change your mind and
want to use it again later. You could also disable a clip that you’ve taken a lot of time to edit
into your sequence, so you can see what another clip edited into an adjacent track would
look like in its place. You can also disable just a clip’s video or audio items, so you can keep
them in your Timeline for reference without having them appear during playback or output.
To disable one or more clips:
1 Select the clip or clips using one of the selection tools.
2 Do one of the following:
m Choose Modify>Clip Enable so it’s no longer selected.
m Control-click one of the selected clips and choose Clip Enable from the shortcut menu.
A clip with disabled visibility is dimmed in the Timeline, and its Clip Enable menu item is
deselected. You can enable or disable Clip Enable for a clip as many times as you like.
264 Chapter 6
To selectively disable a clip’s audio or video tracks:
1 Do one of the following:
m Turn the Linked Selection option off, then select one or more audio or video items in the
Timeline using one of the selection tools.
m If linked selection is on, hold down the Option key to turn it off temporarily, then select
one or more audio or video items using one of the selection tools.
2 Do one of the following:
m Choose Modify>Clip Enable so it’s no longer selected.
m Control-click one of the selected clips and choose Clip Enable from the shortcut menu.
Individually disabled audio or video items also appear dimmed in the Timeline, although
their corresponding linked items are not dimmed.
Using the Solo Item Command to Disable Multiple Clips
The Solo Item command disables all unselected clips in the Timeline that appear in other
tracks at the position of the playhead. (A clip can be enabled and disabled using the Enable
command in the Modify menu.)
To disable multiple clips simultaneously:
1 In the Timeline, position the playhead on the clip you want to solo.
2 Select the clip that you want to keep enabled.
3 Do one of the following:
m Choose Sequence>Solo Selected Item(s).
m Press Control-S.
All clips on tracks other than the clip you selected are disabled.
4 Choose Sequence>Solo Selected Item(s) again to reenable the disabled clips.
Editing in the Timeline 265
Deleting Items in the Timeline
There are two ways you can delete items in the Timeline.
m Select them individually or in groups and delete them.
m Select a range using the In and Out points in the Canvas or Timeline, then delete all the
material on all unlocked tracks between them.
Normally, when you delete an item or items, a gap is left in your sequence. This is known as a
To perform a lift edit, deleting one or more items and leaving a space in your
1 Do one of the following:
m Select an item or items by clicking them.
m Set In and Out points in either the Timeline or the Canvas. Then, make sure the Timeline
2 Do one of the following:
m Choose Sequence>Lift.
m Press Delete.
m Choose Edit>Cut (or press Command-X) to remove the clip from your sequence. (The
clip can then be pasted in another location.)
You can also delete an item or items and make all items to the right of the deleted item move
to the left, filling in the gap left by the deleted clip. This is called a ripple delete.
A gap is left after the
clip is deleted.
266 Chapter 6
To perform a ripple delete:
1 Select an item or range of items to delete.
2 Do one of the following:
m Choose Sequence>Ripple Delete.
m Press Shift-Delete.
m Control-click the item or region you want to delete, then choose Ripple Delete from the
shortcut menu. (This only works when you’ve selected items manually; it won’t work on a
region defined by In and Out points.)
After a ripple delete, only two
clips remain, with no gap
Editing in the Timeline 267
Copying, Pasting, and Removing Clip Attributes
Clip attributes include all of the settings applied to a clip—for example, motion settings,
audio and video filters, speed settings, and others. When you copy a clip from the Timeline,
you also copy all of its settings. Instead of pasting duplicates of the clip you copied, you can
paste only the clip’s attributes into other clips that you’ve selected in your sequence. When
you do this, you can select which attributes are pasted and which aren’t using the Paste
For example, say you have 20 clips in your sequence. The first clip has three filters, a speed
setting of 50 percent and a rotation applied to it, and you decide that you want all of these
settings to be applied to the 19 other clips. Instead of re-creating all of these settings clip by
clip, you can simply copy the first clip, select the other 19 clips in your sequence, and paste
only these attributes into all of them at once.
This is a quick way to add virtually any setting to clips in an edited sequence. You can copy
motion paths, frame cropping, animated filter effects, or just about anything you want from
one video clip to another.
Warning Pasting attributes between clips that have different frame rates will give you
268 Chapter 6
Clip Attributes You Can Paste
The following options are available in the Paste Attributes dialog:
m Scale Attribute Times: Shrinks or stretches the keyframes of the copied clip’s attributes to
fit the duration of longer or shorter clips you paste them into.
m Content: Pastes video frames only. The copied content must have enough source
material to match the length of the clip it’s pasted into. This can be worked around by
changing the speed of the clip to lengthen it.
m Basic Motion: Applies the parameter values and keyframes for all motion settings from
the clip you copied. Scale, rotation, center, and anchor point settings and keyframes are
all pasted at once.
m Crop: Applies the parameter values and keyframes for all crop settings and keyframes
from the clip you copied.
m Opacity: Applies the parameter values and keyframes for all opacity levels and keyframes
from the clip you copied.
m Drop Shadow: Applies the parameter values and keyframes for any drop shadow settings
and keyframes from the clip you copied.
m Filters: Applies the parameter values and keyframes for all filters from the clip you
m Speed: Applies the speed settings from the clip you copied.
m Clip Settings: Pastes all the capture settings from the clip you copied (using the settings
in the Clip Settings tab in the Log and Capture window).
m Content: Pastes the audio only. The copied content must have enough source material to
match the length of the clip it’s pasted into. This can be worked around by changing the
speed of the clip to lengthen it.
m Levels: Applies the parameter values and keyframes for all audio levels from the clip you
m Pan: Applies the parameter values and keyframes for all changes to stereo pan from the
clip you copied.
m Filters: Applies the parameter values and keyframes for all audio filters from the clip you
Editing in the Timeline 269
Pasting Clip Attributes
If you use the Paste Attributes command without first selecting a clip in the Timeline or
Canvas, the entire clip you copied will be pasted into the Timeline.
When you paste clip attributes into other clips, the following rules apply:
m All settings in the motion tab of the clip you paste attributes into are replaced.
m The speed settings of the clip you paste into are replaced.
m Filters are added to any filters already in the clip you paste into.
To paste the attributes of a copied clip into another clip:
1 In the Timeline, select a clip whose attributes you want to paste into another clip.
2 Do one of the following to copy the clip and its settings:
m Choose Edit>Copy.
m Press Command-C.
3 Select a clip or clips to paste the settings into.
4 Do one of the following:
m Choose Edit>Paste Attributes.
m Control-click the clip or clips you’ve selected in the Timeline, then choose Paste
Attributes from the shortcut menu.
m Press Option-V.
5 Select the attributes you want to apply to the selected clip in the Paste Attributes dialog.
270 Chapter 6
6 If the clip you’re pasting the attributes into is longer than the clip you copied them from,
click the Scale Attribute Times checkbox to stretch all keyframes that you copied along with
the attributes to fit the longer clip.
For example, suppose you copied a five-second clip with motion setting keyframes at the
beginning, middle, and end. If you paste the motion attributes into a ten-second clip, these
three keyframes will be stretched to fit at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the
Removing Clip Attributes
Clip attributes include all of the settings applied to a clip—for example, motion settings,
audio and video filters, speed settings, and others. If you want, you can remove a clip’s
attributes by using the Remove Attributes command.
To remove attributes from a clip:
1 In the Timeline, select a clip whose attributes you want to remove.
2 Choose Edit>Remove Attributes.
3 In the Remove Attributes dialog, click the checkbox next to the attributes you want to
remove, then click OK.
available for all
attributes that the
selected clip has
applied to it.
Some of the most common effects operations you’ll use to create broadcast design
sequences include compositing graphics and video clips together. The task of compositing,
or layering clips, refers to superimposing multiple video or graphics clips over one another in
a sequence. Final Cut Pro allows you to superimpose up to 99 layers of video together and
gives you other options for creating visual effects:
m You can adjust the relative levels of opacity, or transparency, of each clip to control how
clips combine. For example, you can put a semi-transparent image of a flag flying in the
wind over the video image of a national monument.
m You can also import QuickTime files with preset alpha channels, which Final Cut Pro uses
to automatically define their levels of transparency. Final Cut Pro can then use this alpha
channel information to combine these clips with background imagery in a sequence, such
as placing a title graphic over a video clip to create an interesting title sequence.
Compositing Strategies and Modes
Compositing involves stacking two or more video or graphics clips in a sequence on multiple
video tracks. You can have up to 99 layers, or tracks, of clips in Final Cut Pro. Once you’ve
layered a group of clips in the Timeline, you can also adjust the transparency, or opacity
levels, of the clips. Both tasks affect your final compositing result. The more layers you have,
the more creative you can get. (This can also backfire, however, and leave you with a
potentially more confusing image in your program.) The key is to achieve a balanced effect.
Audio items linked to video items you’ve layered in the Timeline are also stacked, one on top
of another. You can have up to 99 tracks of audio in addition to the 99 tracks of video in a
sequence in the Timeline, for a total of up to 198 tracks in a single sequence. Layered audio is
mixed together by Final Cut Pro according to the volume settings that you’ve adjusted. For
more information about editing audio, see Volume II, Chapter 11, “Audio Editing in the Viewer
and Timeline.” For information about mixing audio, see Volume II, Chapter 13, “Audio Mixing.”
Two video clips and
one graphic are layered
in a sequence.
Layering Clips in the Timeline
There are several ways you can layer clips in the Timeline.
m Create a new track in a sequence, then edit clips into the new track.
You can add one or more tracks to a sequence, depending on the effect you are creating.
For more information, see Volume II, Chapter 4, “Working in the Timeline.”
m Drag a clip into an empty area of the Timeline, so a track is created for the new clip.
You can drag a source clip to the unused space above (or below) the current tracks to
create a new track for that clip. If you drag a clip above the tracks already in the Timeline,
you’ll create a new video track. If you drag a clip below the tracks in the Timeline, a new
audio track is created. For more information, see Volume II, Chapter 5, “Basic Editing.”
m Perform a superimpose edit.
You can use a superimpose edit to quickly stack a source clip on top of any clips already
edited into your sequence in the Timeline in preparation for compositing. If there isn’t an
available track in your sequence, Final Cut Pro creates a new one for the source clip. For
more information, see Volume II, Chapter 5, “Basic Editing.”
When you layer clips, the clip in the topmost track in the Timeline is the one that appears
during playback in the Canvas. However, this is only true if
m none of the clips is set to be transparent (by changing the opacity setting)
m none of the clips have alpha channels
If you change the opacity level of one or more layered clips so they have some transparency,
the clips blend and you see both images combined.
The clip on track V2
Adjusting Opacity Levels of Clips
Every visual clip in a project has a level of transparency, or opacity setting, that you can
change in Final Cut Pro. When you adjust the opacity setting of one or more clips, they blend
to create a single image. You can then use the resulting image as the background of a title
sequence or as a montage in your program.
There are two ways you can adjust a clip’s opacity:
m Drag the opacity overlay of a clip in the Timeline.
m Open the clip into the Viewer and specify the Opacity parameters in the Motion tab.
The Opacity parameter in the Motion tab and the opacity overlay displayed in the Timeline
are linked. A change made to one is mirrored in the other.
When you blend multiple clips together using an opacity control, it’s important to be aware
of the color range, the amount of movement, and the overall amount of contrast and texture
in the images with which you’re working. Balancing all of these qualities is what separates a
good-looking composite from a confused jumble of images and motion.
To adjust the opacity of a clip (with no keyframes) in the Timeline:
1 In the Timeline, click the Clip Overlays control.
Opacity is used to
blend two clips, one of
dancers, the other of a
Clip Overlays control
The opacity overlay can
be dragged up or down
to adjust it.
2 Drag the opacity overlay up or down to adjust the setting.
To adjust the opacity of a clip with greater accuracy, press and hold down the Command key
while you change the height of the opacity overlay.
Note: The overlay appears as a black line if the clip is not selected and as a white line if the
clip is selected.
To adjust the opacity of a clip (with no keyframes) in the Motion tab:
1 Do one of the following:
m Double-click the sequence clip you want to adjust to open it into the Viewer, then click
the Motion tab.
Note: When compositing clips in a sequence, make sure that you open clips from the
sequence to adjust their motion settings, including opacity. If you do a match frame edit
or inadvertently open a clip from the Browser, you won’t be working on the clip as it
appears in your sequence. As a result, the clip in your sequence is unchanged.
m If clip keyframes are turned on and you’ve already adjusted the opacity overlay (or any
other motion setting) for a clip in the Timeline, double-click the motion bar under that
This opens the clip into the Viewer with the Motion tab automatically selected.
2 Click the disclosure triangle next to the Opacity parameter.
3 Adjust the opacity by doing one of the following:
m Drag the Opacity slider to the right or left.
m Click the arrows at the right and left of the Opacity slider.
m Type a percentage in the number field.
m In the right area of the Opacity section, drag the opacity overlay.
The pointer changes to the Resize pointer; a box shows the percentage of opacity as you
drag the overlay.
The opacity overlay (and motion settings) in the Timeline can also be keyframed, enabling
you to dynamically change these parameters over time. For information on keyframing, see
“Animating Motion Effects Using Keyframes” on page 70.
Opacity slider, with
arrows on either end
Opacity overlay Opacity parameter
Number field for the
Moving Clips Vertically to Another Track
When you’re compositing, you may need to move a clip vertically from one track to
another, but keep its location in time in a sequence from changing. You might do this to
m move a video clip on top of another one so that it appears in front
m move a clip to another track to make room for another one being edited in
To do this, simply press and hold the Shift key while you drag a clip up or down. For
more information about moving clips to another track without accidentally moving
them forward or backward in time, see Volume II, Chapter 6, “Editing in the Timeline.”
Using Composite Modes
Final Cut Pro’s different composite modes are settings that determine how the colors of one
clip visually interact with those of another clip layered beneath it in a sequence. When you
edit a clip into your sequence, it defaults to the Normal composite mode, meaning that it is a
solid layer and is not affected by any layers underneath it.
Once applied, different composite modes produce different visual results in your clips. Most
combine the affected clip with selected parts of the clip beneath it. Some affect lighter parts
of the clip differently than darker parts, and others create negative effects or change the
color range of the affected clip, depending on how the layers interact.
For example, if you apply opacity settings to a clip using the Normal composite mode, all
parts of that clip become equally transparent. You can change this by selecting your clip in
the Timeline and choosing a new composite mode.
Applying different composite modes to layered clips in a sequence is easy. The main thing to
remember is that composite modes affect the interaction between one layered clip and
whichever clip is underneath it in the sequence.
Note: Clips that are above a layered clip using a composite mode are unaffected.
To apply a composite mode to a clip in your sequence:
1 With two layered clips edited into your sequence, select the topmost clip in the Timeline.
2 Choose Modify>Composite Mode, then choose a composite mode.
See “Composite Modes in Final Cut Pro” on page 21 for information on the different modes.
3 Move the playhead over these two clips to see the interaction between the two clips in the
You can quickly view or change a clip’s composite mode while working in the Timeline. This
provides a fast alternative to choosing a different composite mode from the Modify menu.
To view or change a clip’s composite mode:
1 Control-click a clip in the Timeline, then choose Composite Mode from the shortcut menu.
2 To change the composite mode, choose a new mode from the submenu.
In this example, the
mode is on the upper of
two clips; no opacity is
on either clip.
All composite modes
applied to a clip have a
checkmark next to them.
Basic Compositing 21
Composite Modes in Final Cut Pro
m Normal: Displays the clip without any changes. This is the default of any new clip you
edit into your sequence.
m Add: Combines the color values of the selected clip with those of the clip beneath it in
the Timeline, not exceeding absolute white. The resulting image is lighter. Where the
added values are greater than one, absolute white is displayed. In this example, the black
of the layered image of confetti is rendered totally transparent, and the confetti itself
m Subtract: Subtracts the color values of the selected clip from those of the clip beneath it
in the Timeline, not going below absolute black. The resulting image is darker. Where the
subtracted values are zero, absolute black is displayed. In this example, the black of the
layered image of confetti is rendered totally transparent, and the confetti appears darker.
Composite Modes and Opacity
Final Cut Pro’s composite modes work in conjunction with opacity settings. The
composite mode you select determines how the color values of one clip interact with
those in the clip beneath it. Additional changes made to a clip’s opacity can lighten or
intensify this effect.
m Difference: Subtracts the color values of the underlying clip from the selected clip,
displaying the absolute color values. In this example, the images of the sheet music and
the hands at the piano invert one another to varying degrees depending on the colors
and brightness where both images interact.
m Multiply: Compares the color values for each pixel of the selected clip with those of the
clip beneath it in the Timeline, and multiplies them together. If the image is already dark,
there is little or no effect. If the image is light, Multiply darkens it. In this example, the
white area of the layered image of brick is rendered totally transparent, and the brick
merges with the floor. Note that shadows are preserved, and the layered image is
lightened and darkened to match the image.
Multiply is useful for knocking out the absolute white values in an image and leaving all
other values of the image alone, similar to performing a luminance key on white. Another
good example is to take a scanned image of a page from a book, and use the Multiply
composite mode to knock out the white, leaving only the text itself superimposed over
the other layers of your sequence.
Screen: Compares the color values for each pixel of the selected clip with those of the
clip beneath it in the Timeline, and multiplies the inverse of each. If the image is already
light, there is little or no effect. If the image is dark, Screen lightens it. In the example
below, the darkest parts of the layered image are rendered transparent, and the lighter
parts become translucent over the image of the musicians.
Screen can be used to knock out the absolute black of a layer and leave everything else in
the clip alone, similar to a luminance key on black. Another good use of the Screen
composite mode is to composite stock footage of an explosion or fire to a background
image. Everything that was an even black pops out, leaving only the explosion
superimposed over the other layers of your sequence.
m Overlay: Wherever the color value is more than 128, Screen is applied. Wherever the
color value is less than 128, Multiply is applied. In this example, the layered image is
rendered semi-transparent, with its opacity in different parts of the frame varying based
on the brightness of the foreground and background images.
m Hard Light: Darkens or lightens the colors of the selected clip, depending on the color
values for that clip. The effect is similar to shining a hard spotlight on the clip. In this
example, the lighter parts of the layered image of the swirl become the most transparent,
brightening the parts of the background image of the drums that show through.
Soft Light: Darkens or lightens the colors of the selected clip, depending on the color
values for that clip. The effect is similar to shining a diffused spotlight on the clip. In this
example, the lighter areas of the layered image of circles lighten the background image of
dancers, while the darker areas darken it.
m Darken: Compares the color values for each pixel of the selected clip with those of the
clip beneath it in the Timeline, and selects the darker of the two. In this example, the
lightest parts of the layered image of sheet music become transparent, while the darker
parts darken the background image of the singer.
m Lighten: Compares the color values for each pixel of the selected clip with those of the
clip beneath it in the Timeline, and selects the lighter of the two. In this example, the
darkest parts of the layered image become transparent, while the lighter parts lighten the
background image of the singer.
m Travel Matte - Alpha or Luma: Applies a matte to the selected clip, which is an effect that
uses information in one layer of video to affect another layer. In this case, the selected clip
uses information from the clip immediately beneath it in the Timeline. The matte makes
the area outside of the matte transparent so the second layer underneath the clip is
Travel mattes always involve three tracks. The foreground clip is on the upper track. The
matte track goes on the middle track, and the background clip (or clips, if transparent)
goes on the bottommost track. The Travel Matte composite mode is then applied to the
foreground clip on top of this stack. Travel mattes can be enabled in two ways:
m Alpha: Ignores RGB values, using the alpha channel of the matte layer to create
transparency information for the selected clip.
m Luma: Averages the RGB values of the matte layer to gray. The resulting grayscale
image is used to create transparency information for the selected clip, with white equal
to 100 percent transparent and black equal to 100 percent solid.
Note: When the travel matte is on track V1, Final Cut Pro uses black as the default
Using Travel Mattes
Travel mattes are useful when you want to use one clip to selectively hide or reveal part of
another. For example:
m to show parts of a video layer selectively revealed by a round spotlight shape
m to partially reveal video images playing through a title or logo graphic
m to use an imported graphic to obscure, or mask, part of a layer you don’t want to show
Because travel mattes use information in one layer to affect another, if the alpha channel,
black, or white elements of that layer move, then the resulting matte also moves. This
movement can be a result of
m using a video or animation clip as your matte layer
m moving that layer around with keyframed motion settings
For more information, see “Creating Keyframed Motion Paths in the Canvas” on page 94.
To create a travel matte:
1 Place the clip you want to appear in the background of your composite on track V1 in the
2 Place the clip you want to use as your matte layer on track V2, above the background clip.
m When using the Travel Matte - Alpha mode: Make sure that the clip has a properly
formatted alpha track (see “Using Video and Graphics Clips With Alpha Channels” on
m When using the Travel Matte - Luma mode: Make sure that the black and white areas of
your clip are appropriately set—black for transparent areas, white for solid areas.
3 Place the main clip that you want masked on track V3, directly above the matte layer.
4 Select the main clip on track V3.
5 Choose Modify>Composite Mode, then choose Travel Matte - Alpha or Travel Matte - Luma,
depending on the clip you’re using as your matte layer on track V2.
m Alpha: Uses the clip’s alpha channel, if one exists, as the mask.
m Luma: Uses the luminance, or grayscale image, of the clip as the mask.
Note: The matte clip’s RGB information won’t be seen.
To view the affected area of the sequence, you must select one of the clips and render it (see
Chapter 44, “Rendering,” on page 303).
The matte clip
goes above the
The main clip to
be masked goes
above the matte clip.