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Editing with Blade Speed in Final Cut Pro X 10.1

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The variable speed change applies at least two different playback rates within a single clip. This effect requires dividing the clip into segments, one for each speed rate. Brendan Boykin shows you how in this excerpt from Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro X 10.1: Professional Post-Production.
From the book

Lesson 6: Enhancing the Edit

Exercise 6.1.2

Editing with Blade Speed

Another retiming effect, the variable speed change, applies at least two different playback rates within a single clip. This effect requires dividing the clip into segments, one for each speed rate. Aerials_13_01b is the perfect clip for this effect. It shows the helicopter racing above the desert and then flying over the cliff, revealing the lake.

Right now, this clip is trimmed to the necessary story duration, but including more of the clip would be better. To perform this edit and apply the effect, you need to see the entire clip to identify the speed segments. Although you could temporarily ripple trim the clip to extend it to its full length, here's another method.

  1. Using the Timeline Index, locate Aerials_13_01b, which has the "speed to reveal" to-do marker.
  2. In Lifted Vignette, Control-click Aerials_13_01b, and from the shortcut menu, choose "Lift from Storyline."
  3. You used this edit function in Lesson 5 to move sound bites out of the primary storyline. In this context, the function displays the aerials clip above the connected storyline; and as in the primary storyline, the clip is replaced with a gap clip to mark its location and duration. You may now adjust the clip's duration without disturbing other clips in the storyline.

    You could drag to extend the Aerials_13_01b end point to view the entire clip; or you could change the clip's duration numerically, as you will do here.

  4. With Aerials_13_01b selected, press Control-D.
  5. The clip's current duration appears in the Dashboard. You may recall that the source clip is rather long, so entering a new, longer duration will include the "reveal" of the lake.

  6. Without clicking (because the Dashboard is already prepared to receive a new value), enter 45. (four five period), and press Return.
  7. Aerials_13_01b lengthens to 45 seconds. Skimming the clip shows the reveal to the lake. You will use the Blade Speed option to "break" the clip into speed segments.

    You will tie together two elements with these speed segments: the music and the visual reveal. The first speed segment will play the clip at normal speed, which is the clip's current status. So, what you are first looking and listening for is where to start the speed change and place the second speed segment.

    Close to the end of the MVI_1044 sound bite, Mitch says, "eye opener." Let's use that as the kickstart for the speed change.

  8. Cue the playhead where Mitch says, "eye opener."
  9. Select Aerials_13_01b, and from the Retiming pop-up menu, choose Blade Speed, or press Shift-B.
  10. The clip's Retime Editor opens, indicating the two speed segments you created. The start of the second speed segment identifies where in the shot (flying over the desert) and when in the sound bite's audio ("eye opener") the speed change will occur. Starting at this segment, you will accelerate the playback to the point in the clip where the helicopter reaches the edge of the cliff and the lake is revealed. That's where you'll start a third speed segment.

  11. With the second speed segment started, cue the playhead where the helicopter has gone halfway over the cliff. Press Shift-B.
  12. Figure 5 Before Blade Speed

    Figure 6 After Blade Speed

    You've established what you want to see at the start of the third segment. Now you're ready to set the speed change in relation to the music. You will locate in the music where the speed change to the third segment occurs. Earlier, you created a marker named Swell. You may use the Timeline Index, set to All tags, or reference the nearby marker in the Timeline to locate the music swell.

  13. Cue the playhead to the musical swell at roughly 1:15 in the project.
  14. Setting the playhead at this musical hit identifies a reference point for the end of the second speed segment.

  15. At the end of the second speed segment, drag the retiming handle to the left until it aligns to the playhead.
  16. Review the whole clip to watch and listen as the helicopter races across the desert floor and the lake is revealed with the musical hit.

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