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This chapter is from the book Creating and Nesting Comps

Creating and Nesting Comps

Using the Image+Wireframe mode in Final Cut Pro, it is easy to create multilayered motion effects, such as split screens or multiframe images. Once a multilayered effect or comp has been created, it is often convenient to nest the tracks so they can be more easily managed or edited.

In Avid, you combine elements you want to keep together, for ease of effects editing and rendering, by using the Collapse Tracks button. The FCP Nest Items command is not much different. It creates a container for any selected stack or stacks of footage and effects you want to keep together. Either way, when you create a nest, you are combining a group of clips together, either video or audio or both, that can be treated in the Timeline as a single clip. In FCP, as in Avid, you can create a nest from any number of tracks (vertically) and any number of clips (horizontally).

In both systems, you can step inside to edit or adjust and re-render. In FCP, nesting is a great way to add filters to multiple clips and preserve renders so you can freely trim or move a group of effects or clips without re-rendering.

Anatomy of a Split-Screen or Multiframe Image

In this image, all the clips are lined up on top of each other in the Timeline and will appear in the Canvas window together. The image of the dolphin in the bottom right was the first image sized and placed; note the number 1 above the center point of that image in the Canvas shown in the following screen shot. The image on the left was the second image placed; there is a 2 above its center point. This clip was cropped to include only the woman. The upper-right image was the third image to be placed. It was resized to fit the upper corner.

To create a split-screen or multiframe image:

As you select your images, keep in mind the layout of the screen and the design of your effect. Select images that you don’t have to scale up too much, or you might get an unwanted pixilated look. Scaling down isn’t a problem unless an image has too much detail to see clearly at a smaller scale. You will probably want to work with the Title Safe overlay on so you can monitor the Action Safe area, which is represented by the outer box.

  1. Open each image in the Viewer and select marks. If this is a video-only effect, unpatch the audio source controls in the Timeline.
  2. Edit each image on the next available video track on the Timeline.
  3. Make sure Image+Wireframe mode is active in the Canvas.
  4. Scale each image smaller by dragging one of its corner handles. (If necessary, change the Canvas viewing zoom size to 50 percent or smaller to see the outer edges of the images.)
  5. Position each image by dragging it into place, using the outer square of the Title Safe overlay as a reference for the Action Safe area.
  6. Select the Crop tool (C) and drag each side of every image that needs cropping.
  7. If necessary, apply a Flop video filter (Effects > Video Filters > Perspective > Flop) so the images face the desired direction.
  8. Toggle on Drop Shadow for one of the clips, and set the parameters. Then copy that clip and paste just those attributes to the other split-screen clips.

To nest the clips from the split-screen image:

  1. Select all three clips in the Timeline.
  2. Choose Sequence > Nest Items, or press Option-C.
  3. In the Nest Items dialog, title the nest, select the appropriate aspect ratio information, and click OK.
  4. The new nested sequence appears in both the Timeline and in the Browser.

  5. To make changes to the original stack of nested clips, double-click the nest in the Timeline. A sequence automatically opens displaying the clips in their original configuration.
  6. When you make changes to the clips, those changes appear immediately in the nest in the parent sequence.

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