FCP 7: Things I Wish Final Cut Did – But Actually Does

Posted on by Larry

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

Gary Freedline, of Video Keepsakes of Beverly Hills, sent me a LONG email detailing his four biggest concerns about what Final Cut should do, but doesn’t.

In reading it, I realized that Final Cut does, in fact, do most of them, but not in an obvious way. So, I’m reprinting his questions with my answers.

Question 1

The way FCP handles adjusting clips that change speed by pushing everything down the timeline. It should ask before messing with the timeline.

Larry replies: There are two speed changes in Final Cut: A constant speed change and a variable speed change.

A constant speed change always changes the duration of the clip, the variable speed change does not.

A constant speed change plays every frame in a clip from In to Out. A variable speed change may play more frames, or less.

However, there’s a VERY cool workaround that solves this that, um, I just discovered I haven’t written up for the web yet. Hmm… see the next article, then.

Question 2

There seems to be no easy way to know if a clip or section (subclip) was used or not.

Larry replies: Yup, there isn’t. I thought I could use labels, but while labeling a clip in the Browser causes the same label to show up in the timeline, adding labels in the Timeline does not label the master clip in the Browser.

UPDATE – Jan. 27

David Ransley suggested this solution:

There is a way to know if a clip was used in a sequence. Highlight a sequence(s) in the Browser and choose Find > Unused Media.

Larry replies: Yup. That would list all clips that are not used. However, if only one frame from a clip is in the timeline, the entire clip is flagged as used.

UPDATE – April 2008

If you have a multitude of shots in your Timeline sequence and you’re not sure if you used a particular shot, this technique can help you find out.

First, open the sequence into the Timeline that you’re going to search. Next, open a clip from the Browser into the viewer that contains the shot you want to find in the Timeline. Position the playhead on the specific frame you want to locate and type “f”. If you used the shot in the Timeline, the playhead should jump right to it. (Think of this as a reverse match frame.)

Note: This technique only works if you are using the specific frame the playhead is in, but it can be a good time-saver nonetheless.

Question 3

It doesn’t seem that there is a way to copy a clip from a different sequence and place it on any track in another sequence.

Larry replies: Piece o’ cake.

You are correct. By DEFAULT, FCP pastes a clip on the same track it was copied from. But, you can change this using the Auto-Select lights.

Here’s an article that describes how. It was written back when Apple was having a hard time figuring out how to do this, but Apple finally standardized Auto-select behavior in FCP 4.5. It has behaved the same ever since.

Question 4

The most common dissolve or transition is a 30 frame centered dissolve, there is no easy way to jump 15 frames on the timeline.

Larry replies: You are correct, the default duration for a transition is one second (30 frames in NTSC, 25 frames in PAL).

You can change the default transition easily, however, and this article shows you how. And, if you hold the Shift key down while pressing the Left or Right arrows, you’ll move the playhead in one-second increments.

UPDATE – Jan. 27

Tom Wolsky writes:

With nothing selected in the timeline press 15 and return to move forward, or -15 and return t move backwards 15 frames.

Larry replies: Sheesh! I totally forgot about moving around using Timecode! To do so, type the number of seconds or frames you want to move (300 would be three seconds, 15 would be 15 frames) and press Enter on your keypad. The playhead jumps right if the number is positive and left if the number is negative.

I use this ALL the time and I totally forgot. Thanks, Tom.


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