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About Clips

Final Cut Pro has always used clip types—audio, video, graphic, and generated—to identify clips that reference different types of source media. FCP uses a different class of clip types—subclip, merged clip, and sequence—to identify clips that reference a portion of another clip (like a subclip) or multiple clips (like merged clips, multiclips, and sequences).

FCP 4 introduced three new clip types—master, affiliate, and independent—to identify clips that are linked by shared properties (like master and affiliate clips) or clips whose properties and behavior are independent of other clips (like independent clips). The master/affiliate/independent clip type classifications and behavior are designed to make the linkage between FCP clips and their media files more bulletproof by automatically updating all affiliated clips when you make a change to a shared property on any of the individual affiliates anywhere in the project.

The master/affiliate clips' shared properties are all related to media management; clip properties that remain independent—In and Out points, markers, and applied effects—are all modified during the normal course of editing and must remain independent in each clip copy you use.

Here's an example: You have a master clip in the Browser, and you edit it into your sequence. An affiliate copy of that master clip appears in the sequence. The In and Out points you set when you edited that clip into your sequence can be adjusted independently of the master clip, but if you rename that affiliate copy, the name of its master clip is also renamed. Change the reel name of the master clip, and the reel name of the affiliate clip in the sequence reflects the same change.

The master/affiliate clip-handling scheme keeps your clip duplicates in sync, which can simplify your life when you're media-managing certain types of projects. Projects best suited to master/affiliate clip handling are well logged, with discrete clips that you don't plan on subdividing much.

If your preferred editing method is to capture large chunks of media and then subdivide and rename the clips post-capture, there's no easy way to rename a portion of an affiliate clip without renaming its master and all other affiliates. You could convert your subdivided clip into a subclip before renaming, or you could convert your master clips to independent-type clips before you start dicing them up.

Converting your clips to independent-type certainly makes it easier to rename the selected portions that appear in your sequence; however, Apple warns that independent-type clips can be trouble when you go to media manage your project later because each independent-type clip copy's offline/online status is tracked independently of the master clip they were derived from. It's safer for editors who prefer to work with large chunky clips to heed Apple's warning and go the "subclip first, then rename" route.

For more information on clip affiliation protocols, see "Working With Master and Affiliate Clips" in Apple's Final Cut Pro User Manual (PDF page 1521).

Here's a rundown of FCP's clip types:

Format-based clip types

  • Audio, Video, and Graphics clip: These clip types are determined by the type of source media the clip is referencing.
  • Generated clip: Create a generated clip by opening a generator from the Viewer's Generators pop-up menu. Generated clips are created as master-type clips. For more information, see Chapter 17, "Titles and Generators."

Relationship-based clip types

  • Master clip (Figure 4.47): Any clip that can generate affiliate clip copies is a master clip. See Table 4.1 on page 121 for a complete list of ways to create one.

    Figure 4.47

    Figure 4.47 It's not easy to identify master, affiliate, and independent clips in the FCP interface. Master clips are easiest to spot; a checkmark in the Master Clip column identifies a master clip in the Browser and on the Logging tab of the clip's Item Properties window. Master clips never appear in a sequence.

    Table 4.1. FCP Clip Type Relationships

    Type

    How to Create

    Behavior

    Master clip

    Capture new video or audio.

    Import video or audio.

    Create a subclip.

    Create a freeze-frame.

    Create a merged clip.

    Drag a merged clip from the sequence back to the Browser.

    Import an EDL or batch list.

    Use the Duplicate as New Master clip command.

    Use Modify > Make Master Clip on an affiliate or independent sequence clip.

    Use Tools > Create Master Clips on a sequence composed of affiliate or independent clips.

    Delete an affiliate's master clip. Affiliate clips in the Browser are converted to master clips.

    Synchronizes clip name, reel name, source timecode, labels, Master comments 1-4, log notes, subclip limits, and online/offline state with all affiliate clips.

    Does not synchronize markers, In and Out points, Comments A-B, Description, Thumbnail, applied effects, or motion properties.

    Master clips appear only in the Browser.

    Subclip Parent

    Create a subclip. The original full length master that subclip is derived from is now the subclip parent of that subclip.

    The View > Reveal Subclip Parent Clip command will highlight the original master clip containing the subclip footage.

    Affiliate clip

    Edit a master clip into a sequence.

    Edit a subclip into a sequence.

    Duplicate a clip in the Browser or in a sequence.

    Copy and paste a clip in the Browser or in a sequence.

    Drag a sequence clip back into the Browser.

    Synchronizes clip name, reel name, source timecode, labels, Master comments 1-4, log notes, subclip limits, and online/offline state with all affiliated clips and the master clip.

    Does not synchronize markers, In and Out points, Comments A-B, Description, Thumbnail, applied effects, or motion properties.

    Affiliate clips can appear in the Browser or Timeline.

    Independent clip

    Delete an affiliate's master clip.

    Use the Make Independent Clip command on a sequence clip.

    Edit a clip opened outside the project directly into a sequence.

    Open a FCP 3 project in FCP versions 4-7; all project clips will be independent.

    Maintains independent clip name, reel name, source timecode, remove subclip limits, online/offline state, markers, In and Out points, and applied effects or motion properties.

    Independent clips appear only in the Timeline, except when a pre-FCP 4 project is opened.

  • Affiliate clip (Figure 4.48): An affiliate clip is a copy of a master clip that is created by inserting the master clip into a sequence or duplicating the master clip in the Browser. Copies of affiliate clips remain linked to their master clip originals; the linked relationship extends to the clip name, reel name, source timecode, labels, subclip limits, and online/offline state of all affiliate clips. Change one of these shared properties in any one of the affiliated clips, and the change will appear in all the affiliated clips. Markers, In and Out points, and applied effects or motion properties remain independent in master/affiliate clips. See Table 4.1 for a complete list of ways to create an affiliate clip.

    Figure 4.48

    Figure 4.48 Affiliate clips have no checkmark in the Browser's Master Clip column. In a sequence, the only way to identify an affiliate clip is to open the clip's shortcut menu. If the Make Independent Clip command is available and not dimmed, the clip is an affiliate clip.

  • Independent clip (Figure 4.49): Each copy of an independent clip refers directly back to its source media and does not synchronize clip naming or any other properties with any other independent clip copy. All clips in pre-FCP 4 projects are independent clips. See Table 4.1 for a complete list of ways to create an independent clip.
    Figure 4.49

    Figure 4.49 In a sequence, you can identify an independent clip by opening the clip's shortcut menu. If the Make Independent Clip command is dimmed, the clip is already an independent clip. Independent clips appear in the Browser only when you open a pre-FCP 4 project file.

  • Merged clip: Create a merged clip by combining video and audio from separate sources into a single clip. Merged clips are always created as master-type clips. For more information, see "Working with Merged Clips," later in this chapter.
  • Subclip: Subclips are shorter clips you create from a section of a longer master clip. A subclip is always created as a new master-type clip, with no affiliate relationship to the clip it was created from. For information on subclips, see Chapter 8, "Working with Clips in the Viewer."
  • Multiclip: Like merged clips, multiclips are created by grouping and synchronizing multiple clips (called multiclip angles) into a structured unit. In multiclip editing mode, you can create your edit by switching between multiclip angles in real time. For more information on multiclip editing, see Chapter 9, "Basic Editing."
  • Offline Clip: Any clip that currently has no valid link to its source media file is considered an offline clip. A clip can be offline because it has been logged but not captured yet, or a clip's status can switch from online to offline because its source media has been moved or deleted. See "Reconnecting Offline Files" in Chapter 20 for more information on offline clips.

To locate a sequence clip's master clip:

  • Select the clip in the Timeline, then choose View > Reveal Master Clip (Figure 4.50); or press Shift-F.
    Figure 4.50

    Figure 4.50 Select a clip and choose View > Reveal Master Clip.

    FCP highlights that sequence clip's master clip in the Browser.

To locate a clip's affiliates in a sequence:

  • Select a clip in the Timeline or Browser, then choose View > Reveal Affiliated Clips in Front Sequence.

    In the frontmost sequence displayed in the Timeline, FCP highlights all sequence clips that are affiliated with the clip you selected (Figure 4.51).

    Figure 4.51

    Figure 4.51 Select a clip and choose View > Reveal Affiliated Clips in Front Sequence. FCP will highlight all sequence clips that are affiliated with the clip you selected.

To generate a master clip for single sequence clip:

  • Select the clip in the sequence, then create its master clip by pressing Option as you drag the sequence clip out of the Timeline, and then adding the Command key as you drop the clip in the Browser (Figure 4.52).
    Figure 4.52

    Figure 4.52 A special pointer (with an for master) appears when both the Command and Option keys are held down, alerting you that you're creating a duplicate master clip.

To generate a new set of master clips for a sequence:

  • Select the sequence's icon in the Browser, then choose Tools > Create Master Clips.

    FCP generates new master clips for the clips in your sequence in a new Browser bin.

To break an affiliate clip's relationship with its master:

Do one of the following:

  • In the Browser, delete the master clip associated with that affiliate clip.
  • Copy the sequence containing the affiliate clip into another project.
  • In the Timeline, use the Make Independent Clip command to convert the affiliate clip into an independent clip.

To make a sequence clip independent:

  • In the Timeline, Control-click the sequence clip, then choose Make Independent Clip from the shortcut menu (Figure 4.53).
    Figure 4.53

    Figure 4.53 Choosing Make Independent Clip from the sequence clip's shortcut menu converts an affiliate-type clip to an independent-type clip.

    The affiliate sequence clip is converted to an independent-type clip.

To make all clips in a sequence independent:

  • Select the sequence icon in the Browser, then choose Make Sequence Clips Independent from the shortcut menu (Figure 4.54).
    Figure 4.54

    Figure 4.54 Control-click a sequence's icon in the Browser and choose Make Sequence Clips Independent, and you convert all the clips in that sequence to independent clips with a single command.

To rename a clip to match its media file:

  • Select the clip in the Browser, then choose Modify > Rename > Clip to Match File.

To rename a media file to match its clip name:

  • Select the clip in the Browser, then choose Modify > Rename > File to Match Clip.
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