FCP X: Cool Tip to Move Clips

Posted on by Larry

This article got its start from a question from Javier Puente:

“…My question is [whether] there is a way to copy from anywhere in the story line and paste it to the end [of the project]?

Larry replies: Hmmm… yes, but it isn’t intuitive, because what you want to do is copy the clip without moving the playhead.

While you can copy a clip from anywhere in the Timeline, press the End key to jump the playhead to the end of the sequence, press Command+V to paste, there is no keyboard shortcut to take the playhead back to its position prior to jumping to the end.

Nor is there a keyboard shortcut that pastes to the end of the sequence without moving the playhead, since pasting always uses the position of the playhead….


HOWEVER, here’s a cool workaround:

Turn ON skimming (S) and turn ON snapping (N).

Type Shift+Z so you can see the entire timeline. Play your project until you find a clip you want to copy or move. Leave your playhead where it is.

Select the clip and copy or cut to the clipboard, depending upon whether you want to copy it, or move it.

COOL TIP: Want a keyboard way to select a clip? Type C — this selects whatever clip the playhead, or skimmer, is in.

Move the SKIMMER, not the playhead, to the end of your project. Because snapping is on, it will snap to the end of the project.

Type Command+V. This pastes the clip at the position of the skimmer, without moving the playhead.

Move the skimmer out of the Timeline, or type S to turn skimming off, then press the space bar and continue watching your sequence from where you left off.

Repeat as often as you need to copy or move clips. Type S to toggle the skimmer on and off, as necessary.

Clips always paste at the position of the skimmer. Only if the skimmer is not on, or is located outside the Timeline, will clips paste at the position of the playhead.


Here’s the sequence of keys to type to make this as fast as possible:

Repeat this as many times as necessary.


You can use this technique to move a clip anywhere, not just the end of a project. Select a clip or group of clips, cut the clip to the clipboard, then position the skimmer wherever you want to move the clip.


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2 Responses to FCP X: Cool Tip to Move Clips

  1. robert says:

    wow! I will try it out, especialy that on my on going project I do need a time saving method. What I was doing is edit on music. all clips are good but the client feels to change (move arond on the storyline) location, swith clips between them without affectiing the others. I was thinking to lift every clip needed and move to its new location and put down, but yours looks faster. Thanks!

  2. Alisha Todd says:

    Yes! Thank you very much, a smart tip that works. Been searching for a way to move clips up the timeline without dragging and it works great thank you.

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