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This chapter is from the book Creating and Changing Speed Segments

Creating and Changing Speed Segments

In Final Cut Pro, as in Avid, you can combine different speeds within a single clip so a clip can speed up, slow down, play in reverse, and freeze at precise locations. New to FCP 7, you can dynamically add keyframes to Timeline clips and drag the keyframes to create speed segments. Once you’ve made individual speed segments within a clip, you can change the speed of each segment independently to create variable speed effects. You can also adjust speed keyframes in the Viewer.

Figure 10.11 Three speed keyframes create two speed segments.

To control speed segments in the Timeline:

Rather than change the speed of the entire clip, you can click a specific frame to add a speed keyframe which creates speed segments, and then change each segment for the desired speed effect. And by dragging a keyframe within a speed segment, you can further fine-tune your speed effect. To work with speed segments in the Timeline, you have to turn on the Clip Keyframes control.

  1. In the lower left of the Timeline, click the Clip Keyframes control.
  2. When you turn on Clip Keyframes, the Timeline tracks expand to allow room for the keyframe editor and the speed indicators, which are the tiny vertical tick marks across the bottom of each track. When the speed ticks are evenly spaced, that indicates the clip is moving at a constant speed.

  3. Control-click the Clip Keyframes control, and in the Video submenu, deselect the Filters Bar option so it is not distracting for this exercise.
  4. Drag the playhead through the clip in the Timeline to identify the frame where you want the speed to change.
  5. Move the pointer into the speed tick area and snap it to the playhead location. When the pointer changes to the Pen tool, click at that location.
  6. When you click with the Pen tool in the speed tick area, three speed keyframes are added to the clip: one where you clicked, one at the first frame of the clip, and one at the last frame of the clip. This creates two speed segments.

  7. Position the pointer over the middle keyframe and drag left or right to change the speeds of the two segments. In the Canvas, you can see the new source frame that will begin the next segment.
  8. As you drag left, the first segment becomes shorter and its speed ticks move closer together, indicating a faster play speed. As you drag right, the first segment becomes longer and the speed ticks move farther apart, indicating a slower play speed. Also, when the speed is changed, a thin blue line appears at the top of the keyframe area to indicate that the clip contains a motion effect.

    Figure 10.16A Shorter and faster first segment

    Figure 10.16B Longer and slower first segment

    After you’ve created a speed segment, you can adjust it in the Change Speed Segment dialog, as though it were a separate clip. You can change the speed to a specific rate or percentage, or activate the smoothing function so one segment smoothly flows into another within the same clip.

  9. Control-click the speed tick area of a speed segment. In the shortcut menu, choose Change Speed Segment. (Do not choose Change Speed.)
  10. In the Change Speed Segment dialog, enter the speed percentage or rate. To ramp or smooth the speed from this segment to the next, click the Curve Centered on Start button and/or the Curve Centered on End button. Click OK.

To adjust speed in the Viewer:

Once you’ve added speed keyframes to a Timeline clip, you might want to fine-tune those keyframes in a larger viewing area. You can do this in the Viewer’s Motion tab by displaying the Speed parameters. In the keyframe graph area of that tab, you can adjust the Bezier handles of a keyframe, add or delete keyframes, and adjust keyframe position. You can also access the fourth smoothing option, Custom.

  1. After applying a speed or speed segments to a clip in the Timeline, double-click it to open it in the Viewer. Click the Motion tab.
  2. Click the Speed disclosure triangle, if that section is not already visible. If necessary, drag the vertical scroll bar down until you see the Speed section in full.
  3. Figure 10.20 Clip at normal play speed and no speed adjustment

    Figure 10.21 Clip with three speed keyframes and two speed segments within marked clip

  4. Control-click the middle keyframe, and from the shortcut menu, choose Smooth.
  5. When you set a keyframe to Smooth in the Viewer, the keyframe displays two Bezier handles that you can control to finesse the smoothness or variability of a speed change. When smoothing options are chosen from the Change Speed Dialog, only one Bezier handle is created around each keyframe.

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