Understanding Handles

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. ]

Handles, extra video before the In and after the Out of a clip, are essential for trimming and adding transitions. However, that doesn’t mean they are easy to understand.

As Steve wrote:

I have been putting a few page peel transitions between clips, all of the clips are similar. The transitions worked fine on all of the clips except one, it only showed the transition for a split second (1/60th to be exact). I went into the durations setting for that one transition and typed in 1 second but it wouldn’t allow me to change it. What should I do?

Larry replies: Steve, the problem is that whenever you add a transition between two clips, it needs extra video before the In and after the Out. By default, this extra video is equal to one-half the length of the transition. So, if your transition is 30 frames, you will need 15 frames of extra video before the In and after the Out at the point of the transition.

That small 1-frame icon is the giveaway that one of your two clips doesn’t have enough handles. Take a look at this article, which I recently updated, to learn more about handles:

A Matter of Handles

If you have a transition that doesn’t have enough handles, you can use the Ripple tool to move the offending In or Out, thereby shortening the clip and providing sufficient video for your transition.

To learn about how the Ripple and Roll tools work, read this:

Trimming Your Edits with Ripple and Roll


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One Response to Understanding Handles

  1. Kris Adams says:

    Hey Larry,

    I had a search on your site and this was the closest post I could find to my problem, but isn’t my problem. So thought I would add a comment/question.

    When I have a clip with a transition on the end (FCPX), and I want to shorten the clip, I cannot seem to grab the clip and drag the clip to shorten it. Every time I try, it just adjusts the transition. Do you know how to easily do this? (Its the last clip in the timeline, so there is nothing after it). My interim solution is to delete the transition, change the clip, re-add the transition. This doesn’t seem like the best way to do this…


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