FCP X: This Cool Workaround Creates Multiple Sequences

Posted on by Larry

[This article was first published in the July, 2011, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.]


One of the limitations of FCP X is that it only allows one sequence per project. While Apple argues that we can create an unlimited number of projects by duplicating an existing project, I find this to be awkward.

Here’s a simple workaround you can create that may do the trick. (Thanks, by the way, to Pond5 for supplying the clips I use in this demo.)

The Primary Storyline is the main “track” in FCP X. Think of it as V1/A1/A2 in FCP 7. By default, all your edits go to the Primary Storyline.

Then, we can “connect” to the Primary Storyline additional clips, collections of clips, called Connected Storylines, or Compound clips (which we used to call “Nests” in FCP 7).

It’s these Compound clips that hold the solution.

We can use Compound clips as independent sequences and add them to as many different projects as we want. For instance, we could use this technique to create a show open we want to share between projects.

Here’s how.

1. Select a couple of clips in the Event Browser that you want to add to the Compound clip. Don’t worry, yet, about setting ins or outs. Just select the clips.

2. Select File > New Compound Clip (Option+G).

3. Give your new sequence a name – I used Seq 1: Dancing and, like FCP 7, the Event Browser displays clips in alphabetical order.

4. Important note: Unless you change a setting, FCP X creates all your audio as a surround mix. This is unnecessary, and not controlled by a preference. I make a point to change Audio and Render Properties to Custom and set the Audio Channels to Stereo. Saves file space and stress.

5. Double-click the compound clip in the Event Browser to load it into the Timeline.  It opens like any project, except that it is stored in the Event Browser, not the Project Library. Edit, adjust, and trim clips until you are happy.

By first creating the Compound Clip in the Event Browser, you are able to access it from any project. And, because it acts just like a project, you can use this for building sequences – such as complete scenes – that you can incorporate later into other projects.

This includes adding audio and titles, if you so choose.

6. To add this compound clip into your main project, open your main project into the Timeline, place your playhead where you want the compound sequence to go, and click the Insert Edit button (or type W).

You can add Compound clips as part of the primary storyline, or as a connected clip. Either way, this is a fast, simple way to create multiple sequences which you can then add into your main movie.


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24 Responses to FCP X: This Cool Workaround Creates Multiple Sequences

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  1. j says:

    Let’s be honest, Final Cut X sucks if you have to do something besides “left click new sequence” to make a new sequence. I’ve been a Final Cut user for 7 years now and I’m really disappointed. Apple lost their minds when they made this absolute piece of garbage program and tried to pawn it off as good. Sorry fanboys but Final Cut X is crap. I’m heading back to Avid or maybe I’ll try Adobe

  2. Conrad says:

    Another useful feature of previous versions of FPC was to create sequences at different resolutions to do a scaled export of the sequence. Is there a work around in FPCX?

  3. charu says:

    I have created a compound clip ( second one actually in the same project)- it is in the event browser – I am trying to append it to my primary story line- its not happening and there is a small red line in the lst clip of primary storyline- i feel the two are realted but cant work out why append or connect edits are not working?

  4. Matthew says:

    But is there a way to reuse parts of a sequence without making compound clips? I work on a web series and we use mostly the same open/close, but change some titles every time. I have tried duplicating the Project (only) and when I change the titles, it changes them in the original version as well. What’s the point of duplicating a Project if you can’t make changes without affecting all the versions. Are compound clips my best option?

  5. Don Smith says:

    Mathew.. two ways to unlink you compound clips from previews projects.

    If you’ve already duplicated the project (only) then highlight the compound clip and go to the menu Clip > Reference New Parent Clip. that will make the CC you’re on independent of any previous version.

    But, the best way is to duplicate your Project by the third option. Select “Duplicate Project + Used Clips and, if you have Compound Clips in your project, select the radio button for “Multicam and compound clips only” and then select the correct Event. Your project will duplicate with any CC’s in it independent of their former parents.

  6. Matthew says:

    Thanks Don,
    Does duplicating the project + used clips, created actual duplicate clips, and take up more space?

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