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Manipulating Clips in the Timeline

One aspect of drag-and-drop editing includes dragging or moving clips in the Timeline. Moving clips is helpful when you want to change the location of a clip, such as moving a sound effect or voice-over narration to coincide with a specific video cue. You can move one clip's position in the sequence or move a group of clips on one or more tracks. You can also copy and paste a clip or a group of clips to another point in the sequence or to a different sequence altogether. Before you work with multiple clips in the Timeline, you'll start by working with a single clip.

Selecting and Deselecting a Clip

Learning to correctly select a clip in the Timeline is very important. You select a clip during the editing process when you want to move it, delete it, add an effect to it, view its properties, or make other changes to it. To select a clip in the Timeline, you follow the general Apple selection principles. Clicking a clip just once selects it. Clicking off the clip deselects it. The key is learning to click the correct portion of the clip for the desired function.

  1. In the Timeline, click the Moving Clips sequence tab, and select the canoe coming clip by clicking once in the middle of the clip.

    The clip turns brown to indicate that it is the selected or highlighted clip.

  2. To deselect this clip, click in the blank Timeline area above the clip.
  3. Select the canoe coming clip again, and then select the VO_01 clip.

    When you select a different clip, any other selected clip becomes deselected.

  4. Move the mouse pointer to the tail of the canoe coming clip. Note that the pointer changes to a vertical resize arrow. Click once to select the Out point of this clip.
  5. In the VO_01 clip, move the pointer to the In point. When you see the resize arrow, click once to select the In point.

    Selecting the In or Out edit point of a clip will be useful when you begin trimming and adjusting clips in later lessons.

  6. On the A1 track, click in the middle of the rowing sound clip.

    When you click one track of a stereo audio clip, both tracks become highlighted together.

  7. To delete this clip, press the Delete key.

    Deleting a clip removes it from the sequence but does not delete the media file or the original master clip in the Browser.

  8. Press Cmd-Z to undo the delete.
  9. To deselect the clip using the keyboard shortcut, press Shift-Cmd-A.

Dragging and Moving a Clip

You can drag clips left or right and up or down in the Timeline. Dragging clips left or right repositions them in the sequence. Dragging clips up or down repositions them vertically onto another track in the sequence. You can also move a clip by typing an offset amount directly in the Timeline and using shortcut keys.

  1. In the Timeline, click the canoe coming clip again to select it. Then move the mouse pointer through the clip without clicking or dragging it.

    The pointer changes to a move tool. Like the resize arrow that indicates a possible size adjustment, this indicates that you can move a clip. However, it's not a tool you select from the Tool palette.

  2. Click and drag the canoe coming clip to the right, but don't release it.

    Several things happen. A small duration box appears that displays a + sign and a number. This is how far in time you have moved the clip forward from its original position. Also, the pointer changes to a downward arrow. (You'll learn about the two small viewing frames in the Canvas in the next exercise.)

  3. Release the clip. Then drag it to the left and then right past its most recent position.

    A minus or plus sign appears to indicate how far the clip is being moved from its current position. If you move the clip again, the distance is measured from the new location.

  4. Drag the clip up to the V2 track and release it. Drag it above the V2 track where the V3 track would appear and release it.

    When you drag a clip to an empty track area, a new track will automatically be created.

  5. Press Cmd-Z to return the clip to its previous location and to remove the added track.

    You can also move a clip vertically and horizontally at the same time.

  6. Drag the clip back down to the V1 track, dragging left horizontally as you go.
  7. With the clip selected, type 300 (for 3 seconds and zero frames) in the Timeline track area.

    In the center of the Timeline, a Move box appears with the number you typed.

  8. Press Return to enter the amount and move the clip.
  9. To move the clip to the left 4 seconds, type –4. (minus 4 followed by a period) and press Return.

    As in the Timecode Duration field, a period here also represents two zeros.

  10. Drag the VO_01 clip until its In point aligns, or snaps, to the beginning of the canoe coming clip.

    When a clip snaps to another clip's In or Out point, brown snapping arrows appear, just as they do when you snap the playhead to the same location.

  11. Drag the rowing sound clip, and snap its Out point to the Out point of the canoe coming clip. Play these three clips to see if you like the new placement of the voice-over.

    When you selected one track of a stereo pair in the previous exercise, both tracks became selected. When you drag or move one track of a stereo pair, they both move in tandem. Notice the green arrows, indicating a stereo pair, on the rowing sound clip.

Selecting and Moving Multiple Clips

Just as you may need to select a single clip during the editing process, you will at times need to select a group of clips together. For example, you may have a series of voice-over clips, such as in the A3 track of the Canoe Club – Finished sequence, and decide you want to move them all farther down in the Timeline to start later in the sequence. You can use several methods to select a group of clips. Some follow the normal selection process you used to select clips and put them in bins in Lesson 1. In this exercise, you will practice different methods of selecting and moving a group of clips.

  1. Select all the clips in this sequence by choosing Edit > Select All, or by using the keyboard shortcut, Cmd-A.
  2. Click any one of the selected clips, and drag right. Release the clips when you've moved them about 5 seconds forward in the Timeline.

    As you drag, the dark, shadow clips represent the new clip location. The distance you move the clips appears in the duration box.

  3. With the clips still selected, type –5. (minus 5 followed by a period) in the Timeline, and press Return.

    This moves the group of clips 5 seconds back to the left.

  4. Deselect these clips in one of three ways:
    • Choose Edit > Deselect All.
    • Press Shift-Cmd-A.
    • Click in an empty track or Timeline area.
  5. There are several ways to select a group of clips. After trying each method, deselect the clips using one of the options in step 4.
    • Click the first clip in the V1 track, and Shift-click the last clip. All video clips in-between become selected, even if there is a space or gap separating them.
    • Click the first V1 clip, and Cmd-click the last clip. Just those two clips become selected.
    • Drag a marquee around the first video clip and the two audio clips in the sequence.

      As you start to drag down, a dotted box outlines the area you have selected. Every clip that the tip of the pointer touches becomes selected. Do not deselect.

  6. Click any one of the selected clips, drag to the head of the sequence, and deselect them.
  7. Select and drag the second and third V1 clips left until they snap to the end of the first clip.
  8. Drag the fourth clip to the end of the third clip, but don't release the mouse.

    In the Canvas window, two edit frames appear. This is referred to as a two-up display. The left frame displays the last frame of the clip before the clip you're dragging. The overlay identifies the clip name and source timecode number. The right frame displays the clip frame that follows the clip you're dragging. In this case, no clip follows this one in the sequence, so the right frame is black.

  9. Now continue to drag the fourth clip left, into the other clips, but don't release the mouse.

    As you drag a clip over other clips in the Timeline, the Canvas two-up display updates to display the frame before and frame after the clip that's being dragged or repositioned. In this example, you can use these frames to match the rowing actions.

  10. Move the clip to snap to the end of the last clip, the cu rowing clip, and release it. Deselect the clip, and click each sequence tab to compare the sequences.

    The video clips should be back in their original order once again.

Copying and Pasting Clips

In the previous exercise, you heard the rowing sound clip under the first video clip. The other video-only rowing clips would also benefit from having this sound effect play under them. To continue the sound effect under all the rowing clips, you could edit the rowing sound clip to the sequence several times. Or you could copy and paste the clip in the sequence multiple times.

Copying and pasting in the Final Cut Pro Timeline is similar to copying and pasting in a word-processing program. First you select a clip. Next you copy it. Then you move the playhead to where you want to paste the clip, and you paste it. You use the same Apple shortcut commands for copy and paste: Cmd-C and Cmd-V.

  1. Click the Canoe Club - Finished sequence tab, and count the number of rowing sound clips on the A1 and A2 tracks.

    There are six rowing sound clips in this sequence. To create six clips in the Moving Clips sequence, you will copy the first one and paste it five times.

  2. Click the Moving Clips sequence tab.
  3. Click the rowing sound clip to select it. Choose Edit > Copy, or press Cmd-C.
  4. Use the up or down arrow to position the playhead at the end of the first rowing sound clip.
  5. Choose Edit > Paste, or press Cmd-V.

    A copy of the rowing sound clip is placed at the playhead position in the Timeline, and the playhead moves to the end of that new clip.

  6. With the playhead at its current position at the end of the second rowing sound clip, press Cmd-V again, and then three more times, for a total of six rowing sound clips. Deselect all clips and play the sequence.
  7. Save your project by pressing Cmd-S.
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