Understanding the Selection Tools

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the September, 2008, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

I was wandering around our editing resource library looking for something to write, when I realized that I haven’t talked about the three selection tools inside Final Cut Pro 7. The selection tools are located in the Tool palette, just below the top Arrow / Selection tool.

Here’s what they do.

Selection 1

The Edit Selection tool selects edit points. Select the tool (or type G), then drag to select the edit points you want to work with. Final Cut only allows one selected edit point per track, but if you are layering clips, selecting multiple edit points can be really useful.

For instance, to get multiple stacked clips to all start, or end, at the same time, put the playhead at the point you want them to start or end, select all the edit points using the Edit Selection tool, then type E. Provided you have sufficient handles, all the selected edit points will immediately jump to the location of the playhead. I use this technique constantly when I am building effects.

Selection 2

The Group Selection tool selects clips. Which, for those of us who have used Final Cut Pro for more than about two minutes, is exactly what the Arrow / Selection tool does. So, why add a tool to repeat these functions.

Well, the answer is that the Group Selection tool ONLY selects clips. You can’t move them with this tool, as you can with the Arrow tool. This means that if you absolutely, positively MUST select a clip, or group of clips, with ZERO risk of moving it, the Group Selection tool is exactly what you need. Try it, and you’ll see what I mean — it selects but can not move. Its keyboard shortcut is GG.

Selection 3

The Range Selection tool allows you to select a range within a clip or across a group of clips. This can be useful if you want to apply a filter to a portion of a clip, but not the whole clip. Or you want to delete a portion of a clip, but not the whole clip. The ability to select a portion of a clip without necessarily forcing an edit point can be very useful. Its keyboard shortcut is GGG.

Here’s an article that describes using the Range Selection tool in more detail.

While I don’t use these tools often, when I need them, I’m very grateful they are there.


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