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Viewing and Arranging Clips in the Magnetic Timeline

Once you’ve edited clips and viewed their placement relative to each other, you may decide that you can improve your story by changing the clip order. With the Magnetic Timeline, you can easily drag a clip to a different location and let Final Cut Pro automatically create a space for the clip by shifting the other clips. In this exercise, you will change the order of the clips to improve the racing story. You will also employ the Timeline Index to see the list of clips in your project, and learn additional methods to change the way you view clips in the Timeline. Let’s start by enlarging the clip thumbnails in the Timeline.

  1. In the lower-right corner of the Timeline, click the Clip Appearance button. Click through the six buttons, and then click the fifth button from the left to create larger thumbnails. Drag the Clip Height slider to a middle position.

    Each time you click a button, the clips in the Timeline change appearance. Sometimes, clip appearance is a personal choice. Depending on where you are in your editing workflow, however, it may be helpful to choose a particular view of your clips. For this exercise, you simply want to see the individual racers clearly and you’re less concerned with audio waveforms.

    Before you change the position of the clips in the graphical Timeline layout, let’s look at how they appear in a list.

  2. In the lower-left corner of the Timeline, next to the Project Library button, click the Timeline Index button, or press Command-Shift-2.

    The Timeline Index pane appears to the left of the Timeline. Clips and tags (such as keywords) in the current project are listed here in their order of appearance. The Timeline Index provides a textual way to navigate your project. A gray highlight bar indicates the clip that is currently selected in the Timeline.

  3. At the top of the pane, click Clips, if it’s not already selected. Beneath the list of clips, select All. Then select the Antron Brown clip at the top of the list.

    The number to the right of each clip indicates the timecode location in the project where the clip begins. Above the list of clips, you can read the number of items in the project and the selected item’s duration.

  4. In the Timeline, select the John Force clip. In the Timeline Index, notice that this clip is also highlighted. In the Index, select the Tony Pedregon clip. In the Timeline, that clip is selected.

    The Timeline Index is a great tool to help find clips and other items in your project. Although this project is small, it still provides a good opportunity to see how the Index works.

  5. In the Timeline, drag the playhead through multiple clips, and watch what happens in the Index. In the Timeline, drag the playhead between the Antron Brown and John Force clips.

    In the Index, the playhead appears horizontally and moves up and down through the clips as you drag the playhead vertically through the Timeline. You can leave the Timeline Index open as you rearrange the clips in the project.

  6. In the Timeline, play the first Tony Schumacher clip in which he says, “Nobody wakes up and thinks, ‘You know, gosh, I hope I’m just average my whole life.’”

    This dynamic line could really kick off the project with a lot of energy. Let’s move it to the beginning of the sequence of clips.

  7. Drag the first Tony Schumacher clip left to the head of the project. Before you release it, notice the blue insertion line where you will place the clip. When you see the remaining clips reposition themselves, release the mouse button to place the clip at this location. Then play the first few clips of the project.

    As promised, this clip gives the project a fiery start. In the Timeline Index, notice how the clip appears at the top of the list. Now let’s bring Tony Pedregon into the second clip position.

  8. Drag the Tony Pedregon clip to follow the first clip. When you see the blue insertion line and the other clips scoot aside, release the mouse button. Play the first two clips.

    When you drag a clip in the Timeline, a numerical value appears, indicating the length of time and in which direction you are repositioning the clip.

    While the remaining clips could be reordered in a variety of ways, let’s leave them in the order they appear: Antron Brown, John Force, and the second Tony Schumacher clip.

  9. To close the Timeline Index, click the Timeline Index button, or press Command-Shift-2.

    In the next exercise, you will insert some B-roll racing clips into this project. You may want to create additional room in the Timeline for the new material.

  10. In the Timeline, press the Home key to position the playhead at the beginning of the project. Then move the skimmer to the middle of the Timeline. Press Command-– (minus) a few times to zoom out and press Command-= (equals) several times to zoom in to the clips.

    The more you zoom in, the wider the clip and skimmer become and the more clip thumbnails you can see. Only the visual representation of each clip changes, not the clip length or duration. Also, the zooming occurs around the skimmer location as long as skimming is enabled. When skimming is disabled, zooming occurs around the playhead position.

    You can also zoom in and out of the clips by dragging the Zoom control in the Timeline.

  11. In the lower-right corner of the Timeline, drag the Zoom control to the left to zoom out, and then to the right to zoom in on the clips. To prepare for the next edits, settle on leaving about a third of the Timeline empty.
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