[ This article was first published in the August, 2004, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]
You are probably familiar with gaps in the Timeline — a spot where there is neither audio nor video. Finding and eliminating gaps is easy — type “Shift+G” to go the next gap, or “Option+G” to go to the previous gap. Click in the gap to highlight it, and press the Delete key.
Poof! No gap.
But, there’s a different kind of gap in Final Cut that’s harder to find and eliminate — the Track Gap.
A track gap occurs when there is a gap between clips on a track, but there is material over or under it to cover it.
Here’s an example of a sequences with lots of track gaps, all of which are covered by video on other tracks. This is a frequent occurrence when you are editing using multiple tracks.
More insidious, however, is when you have gap in video that’s covered by audio. In this case, Final Cut thinks this is you exercising your creative freedom to insert a flash of black. However, you realize that if this flash of black airs, it could be career, um, limiting. In either case, FCP does not flag this as a timeline gap.
What to do, what to do?
- To find Track Gaps, put your playhead at the beginning of your sequence, or wherever you want you gap search to start.
- Go to Mark > Next > Track gap. Final Cut will instantly jump to the next gap in any track who’s auto-select light is lit. (This means, conversely, it will skip any gaps in tracks who’s auto-select light is turned off, i.e. not dark).
- In this example, Final Cut will find gaps in tracks V1, A1, A2, V3, A5 and A6, but ignore gaps in V2, A3 and A4.
Once you’ve found a gap, it’s up to you to decide whether it needs to be closed. Final Cut doesn’t provide any automated tools, because there’s too much likelihood deleting a gap will throw audio or video out of sync. Still, being able to easily find that two frame flash of black BEFORE your show airs is a whole lot better than hearing about it for weeks afterward.