FCP X: Multi-Image Transitions

Posted on by Larry

Final Cut Pro X LogoNew with Final Cut Pro X are a series of wipes and transitions that create transitions between two clips that integrate video from a third clip. These are used extensively in sports and music programs.

Over the years, filmmakers have developed an aesthetic short-hand for what transitions mean:

In this article, I want to share some of the new options for wipes at your disposal in Final Cut Pro X.


A drop zone is an area in a Final Cut Pro template that allows you to insert a video from within Final Cut and have it integrated with the existing animation.

In other words, drop zones allow you to customize an animation template with video specific to your project.

Final Cut Pro X Transition

Apply the transition between two clips. In this example, I’m using the Zoom In transition. Notice the gray square in the center? That’s the drop zone – it is designed for you to add your own video to the animation.

Final Cut Pro X Drop Zone

To insert a video into a Drop Zone, select the transition, open the Inspector and click the Drop Zone icon.

Final Cut Pro X Image Selector

This opens the Image Selector in the Viewer. Click the clip you want to add to the transition from the Event Browser.

NOTE: When adding a clip to a drop zone the Start and End, if any are associated with the clip, are ignored.

Adjusting the settings in the transition

To change the aspect ratio from 4:3 to 16:9, change the Image Type to Non-Square. You can also change Scale and Position – to a limited degree – by adjusting the settings in the transition.

Final Cut Pro X Finished Effect

Here’s the finished effect.


There’s another variation on this idea, using what I call “multiple image transitions.”

Final Cut Pro X Transition Browser

For instance, in the Transition Browser > Stylized category is Left to Right Corner.

Final Cut Pro X Apply Transition

When you apply this transition to an edit point between two clips, not only does the transition show the two clips at the edit point, but also images from earlier and later in the Timeline.

Many times, these other images work great. But, you can tweak which images are displayed during the transition by selecting the transition and dragging each small yellow tab that appears atop the Timeline to the image you want to display in the transition. Some transitions have as few as four tabs, others have six or eight.

Sliding these tabs makes customizing the specific images that appear during the transition easy.


The best advice to keep in mind is to use wipes sparingly. Most of the time, cuts and dissolves are the appropriate options for story-telling. However, every so often, the right wipe at the right time in a story can make a big difference.

Now, you have more options to work with.

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2 Responses to FCP X: Multi-Image Transitions

  1. Hi Larry–

    I am using the pan down transition for the first time…I am trying to pick my way through the workflow and am not doing a very good job. I want to slow down the fx but at the end it comes to an abrupt stop…I am trying to smooth it out but can’t get it to work.
    I am sure I am missing a step but haven’t found a step-by-step tutorial on this fx.
    Any help, greatly appreciated!

    • Larry says:


      The speed of any transition is determined by the duration of the transition. To slow an effect down, make the transition longer.

      As to adding an Ease Out to the end of a transition, that totally depends upon how the transition was programming initially. What you may need to do is open the transition in Motion and modify the template to get the closing speed that you want.


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