FCP X: Open in Timeline

Posted on by Larry

While it is a true statement to say that you can not apply effects to a clip in the Event Browser, it is not a completely true statement.

That’s where “Open in Timeline” comes in — provided you know where to find it.


Open in Timeline is a hidden menu item in Final Cut Pro X that allows you to modify a clip in the Event Browser. This technique allows you to solve problems that are not easy to solve any other way.

For example, you can use Open in Timeline to:


You can only open one clip at a time in the Timeline. To do so, right-mouse click on a clip in the Event Browser and select Open in Timeline.

The clip opens in the Timeline, with any audio tracks detached but grouped into a single audio clip. The clip can be treated like a new compound clip, though it doesn’t necessarily display the compound clip indicator in the Event Browser.

At this point, many options open up. For example, with audio, you could:

Here, for example, I added a sound effects clip and music clip to this silent video clip.

To save your changes, click one of the Timeline History arrows in the top left corner of the Timeline to switch to a different clip, compound clip, or project.

Notice that once you add audio, as in this example, the icon for the clip in the Event Browser now shows that it is a compound clip. Notice that now, the audio waveform shows the results of adding both the wind sound effect and the music stinger at the end.

The benefit of this is that now, whenever we edit this clip to the Timeline, the sound effects and music will accompany it as though they were part of the original clip.


However, for me, the real benefit of using Open in Timeline is that we can apply an effect to a clip once, then reuse that clip as many times, in as many projects, as we want.

For example, here’s a silent clip. I used “Open in Timeline” to display it in the Timeline for editing. From the Effects Browser, I applied:

The screen shot above shows the results so far.

Then, and this is the cool part, I added a Title (Lens Flare, using font: Bernard MT Condensed at 125 point). In other words, I just created a reusable info graphic that is stored in the Event Browser and can be reused at any time, without having to recreate all these steps!

If all we add to a clip are effects, the icon in the Event Browser doesn’t change. As soon as we add another clip, either a title or audio, the icon for a compound clip is added to the top left corner of the Event Browser clip.


Another very helpful use of this function is color correction. Using Open in Timeline, you can color correct a clip once, without having to color correct it each time you edit it to the Timeline.

Play with this a bit, and I suspect you’ll discover a variety of ways this hidden menu can save you a ton of time.

Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to FCP X: Open in Timeline

← Older Comments
  1. Dan Larson says:

    In version 10.4.8 there is no longer an “open in Timeline” when you right click on a clip. To open a clip from the browser as a project or timeline, you now go to the dropdown menu under clip and the command is open clip. To open a Multicam or Compound clip as a project you simply double click it.

  2. Daniel Shaw says:

    dsw here

    Thank you so much for your help. I’m so glad that you showed me how to open the clip in the “timeline”. I love this tip. I use this all of my projects now, and its a real time saver!

    Daniel Shaw

← Older Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Larry Recommends:

FCPX Complete

NEW & Updated!

Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.

Access over 1,900 on-demand video editing courses. Become a member of our Video Training Library today!


Subscribe to Larry's FREE weekly newsletter and save 10%
on your first purchase.