FCP 7: Two Menu Items I Never Knew Existed

Posted on by Larry

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


I was wandering thru the menus of Final Cut a few days ago, checking to see if there were any surprises. (Sigh… OK, I know. Some people read novels. I read menus. Just consider it a personal foible.)

And there, in the Modify menu were two I swear I’ve never seen before:

Hmm…. wonder what they do?

I went to the Apple manual (a book with a great cast of characters, but a weak plot) to do some research.

These two options are designed to solve problems when the clip, or image, you are editing into the Timeline does not match the sequence size.

Generally, this mismatch occurs because the image size (in pixels) is different or the pixel aspect ratio is different.

The default behavior of Final Cut is to adjust the size and shape of the new clip so that the entire image is displayed in the Timeline, that generally means that FCP will add black on the top and bottom, or the sides, of an image so that it fills the frame and looks “normal.”

These two menu items are designed to help in this process.

Selecting Scale to Sequence adjusts the Scale setting in the Motion tab so that the entire image fits into the Canvas. However, it ONLY adjusts the Scale.

Conform to Sequence removes any existing Scale or Aspect Ratio settings (contained in the Distort section of the Motion tab), then applies new Scale and Aspect Ratio settings. If the image is a clip, Conform also applies, modifies, or deletes a Shift Fields filter so that Field Dominance is correct for the clip in that sequence.

Most of the time, FCP guesses right when you import a clip. However, in those instances when it could use some assistance, these two menu choices can help.

UPDATE – March 5, 2011

Ben Balser writes:

So glad you mentioned these! I’ve used these with students and clients often. Seems some folks insist on changing Sequence settings after clips have been edited in. This can distort your clips and images. Some copy sections of a Sequence, and paste to another Sequence with different settings, again, there’s a risk of something not conforming properly, since FCP has already adjusted this media to the original Sequence. Ah, how to easily solve this problem? Exactly what you found. Select All, and correct it. One of FCP’s best kept secrets.

Larry replies: Ben, thanks for sharing this.

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2 Responses to FCP 7: Two Menu Items I Never Knew Existed

  1. Les says:

    How do I get Conform to Sequence to apply to all the clips in my fcp7 project? Call if you can help me: 941/315-3456. I’m trying to get my 16:9 clips to play in their proper size in the Canvas. (Someone else edited it and must have forgotten to make the clips conform to the sequence at the beginning. Now I can seem to get more than one to do it at a time and this would take forever.) Thanks in advance for your prompt reply or call. (I’m a night owl, so call any time.)

    • Larry says:


      Assuming your sequence settings are correct, here are two things to try:

      1. Select all clips and choose Edit > Remove attributes.

      See if that fixes it. If not, try:

      2. Conform the first clip. Select and Copy it. Select all remaining clips and choose Edit > Paste Effects.


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