Setting the Default Transition

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the August, 2004, issue of
Larry’s Monthly Final Cut Studio Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


NOTE: This technique works for all versions of Final Cut Pro from version 1 through version 7. It does not work for Final Cut Pro X, or later.

Wondering how to change the default video transition from the default 30-frame cross dissolve to something more, um, “hip”? Here’s how.

  1. Go to the Browser and click the Effects tab.
  2. Twirl down Video Transitions and navigate to the transition you want to make the default. In this case, twirl down, “3D Simulation” and select “Swing.” 
  3. Widen the Browser so you can see the Length column and change the length to 20 frames (or any duration of your choice) by double-clicking the length text box and entering the transition duration you want for the default.
  4. With the transition still selected, choose Effects > Video Transitions > Set Default (or right-mouse-click the transition name and select Make Default).
  5. See the underline that just appeared under the name of the transition? This means Final Cut has just switched it to become the default video transition.

This process works the same for setting the default Audio Transition. Select the transition, make any changes to the duration you desire, then choose Effects > Audio Transitions > Set Default.

My personal default transitions are a 20-frame video cross dissolve and a 4-frame audio Cross Fade + 3 db.

If you are using a version of Final Cut prior to Final Cut Pro HD, you will first need to Clear the Default (Effects > Video Transitions > Clear Default) before you can set it.

NOTE: Since this article was first written, Scott Taylor wrote:

This issue comes up often on the forums and the answer you published has become well-known (to me, anyway).  What seems less obvious is that you can apply the same technique to audio tracks, applying, say, the “audio cross fade + 3 db” to every audio cut.  Just make sure the audio transition you want to apply is the default, and select and drag the audio clips  to the canvas for “overwrite” the same way.  They have to have enough handles, of course, just like video.

In fact, if audio and video are linked, you can select and drag both video and audio to the canvas for “overwrite with transition” and both transitions will be applied.

I’m doing this with FCP 3.04.  I’d hope it works the same in newer versions.

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