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Connecting Clips to the Primary Storyline

As you build your rough cut, you may find that adding audio—such as narration, music, or sound effects—improves your storyline. For example, it might be nice to add music to help build momentum in the Zero to Hero project. But which edit option do you choose? You wouldn’t append music to the end of the clips. And you wouldn’t insert it between clips. Instead, you use the third edit option in the toolbar to connect the clip to the primary storyline.

A connected clip could be any clip that is attached to the primary storyline in the Timeline. Connected clips remain attached where you edit them until you move or remove them. In this exercise, you will filter the Zero to Hero B-roll clips so that only the audio clips appear, and then connect a music clip to your video sequence and adjust its position in the primary storyline.

  1. In the Event Browser, from the Filter pop-up menu, choose All. Press Command-F to open the Filter window. Click the Add Rule button, and choose Media Type. From the Media Type pop-up menu, choose Audio Only. Close the Filter window.

    You now see just the audio clips that are part of the B-Roll Keyword Collection. Since audio clips have no thumbnails, let’s view them as a list.

  2. In the Event Browser, click the List view button. Then play the first part of the Battle Lines music clip. Viewing this clip in list view provides an expanded view of the waveform.
  3. To edit the first half of this clip, mark a Start point just before the music begins, and an End point after the first series of waveform peaks.

    In the clip waveform display, notice that some of the upper parts of the waveform appear yellow and some appear red, indicating that the audio may be peaking at 0 dB. As you know from the previous exercise, you can easily adjust the volume of this clip in the Timeline.

    You could start this music at the head of the project. But it might be more fun to let the two race cars zoom by and then begin the music.

  4. To make the Timeline window active, press Command-2. Press the Up or Down Arrow key to move the playhead to the beginning of the crowd ots clip.

    As with the insert edit, when you edit a connecting clip, Final Cut Pro always places the clip at the skimmer or playhead location.

  5. In the toolbar, click the Connect button, or press the connect edit keyboard shortcut, Q. In the Timeline, play the first few clips, and then look at the thin vertical line connecting the Battle Lines music to the crowd ots clip.

    By performing a connect edit, you connected the music to the primary storyline at the playhead location. Let’s see what happens when you reposition this clip.

  6. Drag the crowd ots clip to the right and reposition it after the crowd wide clip. Play this arrangement, and then drag the clip back to its original position.

    When you move the crowd ots clip, the music travels along because it is connected to the clip you’re dragging.

    But just because you started a connection with one clip doesn’t mean you have to keep that connection. By dragging the music later in the Timeline, you can connect it to a different clip.

  7. Drag the Battle Lines clip to the right and snap it to the head of the first Tony Schumacher clip. Notice that when you snap it to this edit point the playhead turns thick and yellow.

    As you drag this connected clip, the thin vertical connection line relinks with another clip in the Timeline, in this case, the Tony Schumacher clip.

  8. Play the first few clips of the project.

    Now the music provides a very dynamic start to the interview clips. However, you are not limited to snapping a connected clip to an edit point. You can also shift the position of the clip left or right. You can do this by using shortcut keys to shift the clip one frame at a time, 10 frames at a time, or by entering a numerical length of time.

  9. With the Battle Lines clip selected, press the , (comma) key several times to move the clip to the left in one-frame increments. Then press the . (period) key to move the clip to the right in one-frame increments. Press Shift-, (comma) to move the clip to the left 10 frames, or press Shift-. (period) to move it to the right 10 frames.

    Sometimes you can successfully finesse clip placement by adjusting it just a few frames. Other times, you may need to move it a specific amount of time, perhaps to allow for another clip that you know will be edited later.

  10. With the Battle Lines clip still selected, enter –200. Look at the Dashboard and notice that the number entry has replaced the timecode location. Press Return or Enter.

    When you precede a number amount with a + (plus) or – (minus) sign, Final Cut Pro reads that number as a trim or nudge amount, even adding colons every two digits, and moving the selected clip by that amount.

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