Appending Clips in the Timeline
A flexible feature of Final Cut Pro is the ability to mark many Favorites before editing, as you did in the previous exercise. Or, you can mark one clip, edit it into the project, and then you select and mark the next clip, edit it, and so on. Whichever approach you take, you have several methods for editing a source clip into a project.
One option is to simply add or append the clip to the end of the storyline immediately after the last clip you edited. When you’re building a rough cut, as you’re doing in this lesson, adding or appending clips is often the simplest approach to creating your primary storyline. Every project is based on a primary storyline. In this exercise, you will use the append edit option to edit the Favorite portions of the racers’ clips you marked in the previous exercise. You’ll also take a closer look at some of the Timeline functions.
- To view just the Favorite selections of the racers, in the Event Browser click the Filters pop-up, and choose Favorites, or press Control-F.
Although just four racers are featured, five clips are displayed. This is because you marked two portions of the Tony Schumacher clip as a Favorite. Those two ranges appear separately in this filtered Favorites view.
For now, let’s add these clips to the project in the order they appear in the Event Browser. Later you can rearrange them in the Timeline.
- In the Event Browser, select the Antron Brown clip.
Because you are viewing only the Favorites, the portion of the clip you previously rated as a Favorite is selected. To add this clip to your project, you will use the append function.
- In the toolbar, click the Append button.
The Antron Brown clip is edited into the dark gray area in the middle of the Timeline. This is where you will build your primary storyline, which, like the storyline of a book, is the main plot of your project. It drives the story you are telling with video and audio. For now, the append function simply adds the Antron Brown clip as the first clip of this story. Now you are ready to add your second Favorite clip to the Timeline.
- In the Event Browser, select the John Force clip. To review the Favorite portion, press the / (slash) key.
Now let’s switch to the Timeline to see where this clip will be edited. As you switch from one window to the next, a few things will change in the interface. Let’s examine those changes so you will always know which is the active window.
- To select the Timeline, choose Window > Go to Timeline, or press Command-2. To select the Event Browser, choose Window > Go to Event Browser, or press Command-1. Use these shortcuts to continue switching between the two windows and notice the changes in the following areas of the interface:
- Viewer image and name
- Event Browser and Timeline background color
- Selected range color
- Rating buttons
When the Timeline window is active, the image of the project clip appears in the Viewer along with the project name. The Timeline timecode is displayed in the Dashboard, and the Rating buttons are dimmed. The recently selected clip, John Force, remains selected in the Event Browser but the selection outline is now gray and not yellow.
Selected clip in inactive window
When the Event Browser window is active, the John Force clip selection outline returns to yellow and appears in the Viewer along with the clip name. The Rating buttons in the toolbar are active. Also, in each case, the active window’s background is a lighter gray than an inactive window.
Selected clip in active window
Before you edit the John Force clip, let’s take a closer look at how the append edit works.
- To switch to the Timeline, press Command-2, and then press the Home key to move the playhead to the start of the clip. Play the clip from the beginning, but stop playback after Antron says, “take the Wally home.” Leave the playhead in the middle of the clip.
The toolbar has three edit buttons: Connect, Insert, and Append. Clicking each button performs a different type of edit. When you used append earlier, the function itself did not appear all that special; however, it really is significant. An append edit places the clip at the end of the primary storyline no matter where the playhead is positioned. (You will learn about the other edits later in this lesson.)
- To edit the selected John Force clip to the Timeline, click the Append button in the toolbar, and watch where Final Cut Pro places the clip in the Timeline.
Even though the Timeline playhead was in the middle of the Antron Brown clip, Final Cut Pro appended the new clip to the end of the storyline. By using the append edit, you can very quickly add clips to your primary storyline.
Let’s add the third clip using the append edit keyboard shortcut.
- In the Event Browser, select the Tony Pedregon clip. To review it, press the / (slash) key. To append the clip to your project, press E.
When you take the time to select a Favorite range in each of your clips, as you’ve done with these interview clips, you can move the editing process along even faster by appending more than one clip at the same time. In fact, Final Cut Pro can append any number of selected clips, or marked selections, in one step.
- In the Event Browser, drag a selection rectangle around the two Tony Schumacher clips to select them. To append these two clips to the storyline, press E.
Both clips are added to the end of the project in the order they appear in the Event Browser. If you Command-click to select multiple clips, they are added in the order that you clicked them.
To become more comfortable viewing your current project in the Timeline, let’s change the Timeline view and look at some of the Timeline buttons.
- To fit all the project clips in the Timeline, make the Timeline window active, and press Shift-Z. To play the project, press Home and then press the Spacebar, or the L key. Remember that pressing the Up and Down Arrow keys moves the playhead backward or forward to the beginnings of clips.
Zooming your Timeline with the Shift-Z shortcut is like performing a “Zoom to fit” command. It will either stretch or shrink your clip display so the entire Timeline window is filled with all the clips in the project.
In the upper-right corner of the Timeline, you’ll find three buttons that control how you skim through clips, including one that allows you to snap to clips as you skim.
- Move your pointer slowly over the edit point between the Antron Brown and John Force clips. Notice that the skimmer snaps to that edit point. In the upper right of the Timeline, click the Snapping button, or press N, and then move across the edit point once again. Notice that there is no longer a pull toward the edit point.
With snapping enabled, the skimmer easily aligns or snaps to the edit point and, when at the edit point, turns yellow as a visual cue.
Both the Event Browser and the Timeline have a playhead and a skimmer. In the Timeline, the playhead and skimmer produce two different yet overlapping results.
- Skim through the clips in the Timeline and notice that you are skimming the audio as well as the video. Then drag the playhead from the top of its stem through the clips.
Dragging the playhead through the project does not preview the audio as skimming a clip does.
- Click the second button, Audio Skimming, to deselect it. Skim through the clips in the Timeline, and then skim through the clips in the Event Browser.
With audio skimming disabled, you no longer hear the clips as you skim through them. Earlier in this lesson, you chose Skimming, Audio Skimming, and Snapping from the View menu. These are the same options controlled by these Timeline buttons. Selecting these options in the Timeline also affects how you view the clips in the Event Browser.
At times during editing, you may want to edit using only the playhead. If you don’t want the skimmer to follow your every move, you can deselect the Skimming button.
- In the Timeline, deselect the first button, Skimming. When you try to skim through the clips in the Timeline or the Event Browser, you can’t. In the Timeline, return the buttons to their active state by selecting all but the third button.