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Working with Merged Clips

Merged clips are composed of video and/or audio from separate sources combined into a single clip. The most common use of merged clips is to sync video with production audio tracks that were recorded separately, or to sync up multiple audio tracks to create a single multichannel audio clip. Final Cut Pro's merged clips can preserve and track separate audio timecode for up to 12 stereo or 24 mono audio tracks, plus one video track. Merged clips are always created as master-type clips.

Open the Item Properties window on a merged clip, and you'll find a data column for each audio channel. The original timecode for each channel is tracked in the Media Start row (Figure 4.66).

Figure 4.66

Figure 4.66 The Media Start row in the merged clip's Item Properties window tracks separate source timecode data for each audio channel.

This section explains how to create a merged clip in the Browser and in the Timeline. For information on audio editing protocols that apply to merged clips, see "Editing Clips with Multiple Audio Channels" in Chapter 12, or "Merging Clips from Dual System Video and Audio" in Apple's Final Cut Pro User Manual (PDF page 419).

Syncing up clips before merging

FCP can synchronize merged clip tracks based on In or Out points, or based on any of the three available timecode tracks: Timecode, Aux Timecode 1, or Aux Timecode 2.

If you're merging clips that don't have matching timecode, open each Browser clip in the Viewer and set In or Out points as sync markers (this is much easier if you used a slate to ID your takes during production). You can choose either In or Out points as your sync method, but you must use a single marker type (all In points or all Out points) for all the clips you're combining into a single merged clip. If your clips have matching timecode, you can sync up your merged clip just by matching the timecode numbers of video and audio clips.

You can also sync up by aligning multiple clips in the Timeline—definitely the way to go if your footage lacks slates or other formal synchronization aids, and you're syncing your footage "by eye."

To create a merged clip in the Browser:

  1. Choose a synchronization method for the elements you are combining into the merged clip. If you use In or Out points to establish sync, open each Browser clip in the Viewer, and set the sync point (Figure 4.67).
    Figure 4.67

    Figure 4.67 Open each Browser clip in the Viewer, and set the sync point. Low-cost digital slate applications are available for iPhones, but if you're shooting "run and gun" style, even a handclap slate mark with voice slate can still do the job.

  2. In the Browser, select the clips you're merging, and then choose Modify > Merge Clips (Figure 4.68).
    Figure 4.68

    Figure 4.68 Select the clips you want to merge, and then choose Modify > Merge Clips.

  3. In the Merge Clips dialog box, choose a sync method; then click OK (Figure 4.69).
    Figure 4.69

    Figure 4.69 In the Merge Clips dialog box, choose a sync method by clicking its button; then click OK.

    FCP generates a new merged clip. If you open it in the Viewer, the merged clip's additional audio tracks appear on extra tabs in the Viewer window (Figure 4.70).
    Figure 4.70

    Figure 4.70 A new, merged clip appears in the Browser. If you open the merged clip in the Viewer, you'll see the additional audio tracks on extra tabs.

To create a merged clip in the Timeline:

  1. In the Timeline, synchronize the elements you are combining into a merged clip by lining them up on adjacent Timeline tracks.
  2. Select all the sequence clips you're merging, and then link them by choosing Modify > Link (Figure 4.71). You must link all the clip elements together first, or you won't be able to merge them.
    Figure 4.71

    Figure 4.71 Synchronize your clip elements by positioning them on adjacent Timeline tracks. Next, link all the clips by selecting them and then choosing Modify > Link. You must link the clips before you can merge them.

  3. Drag the selected, linked sequence clips from the Timeline to the Browser (Figure 4.72).
    Figure 4.72

    Figure 4.72 Drag the linked sequence clips from the Timeline to the Browser.

    FCP generates a new, merged clip, which appears in the Browser (Figure 4.73).
    Figure 4.73

    Figure 4.73 Your new, merged clip appears in the Browser. If you open the merged clip in the Timeline, you'll see that all the elements in the merged clip have been renamed to match the original video clip's name.

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