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Final Cut Pro Power Tip: Applying Transitions to Multiple Clips in One Track

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Larry Jordan knows the trick for applying transitions to multiple Final Cut Pro clips simultaneously. Amazingly, he's willing to share the secret!
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One of the key limitations in Final Cut Pro is that you can apply only one transition to one edit point on one track at a time. There’s just no way to apply the same transition to a range of edit points on the same track all at once.

Nope. Can’t be done. No way.

Well, um, that’s what the manual says. But, there’s a secret workaround, known only to a select few. And if you read to the end of this article, you’ll know it, too.

This is very cool—and you can use it to impress your friends at parties. Here’s how it works:

  1. Build a sequence in the Timeline, making sure that all your clips have handles. Remember, without handles (that is, extra video before the In and after the Out), you can’t add a transition to anything.

    Figure 1 illustrates a typical sequence of clips. All clips have sufficient handles to support a transition.

    Figure 1

    Figure 1 Here’s a typical sequence of clips to which you want to add transitions.

  2. Move the playhead to the beginning of the clips to which you want to add transitions. Moving the playhead is a key step.
  3. Select all the clips to which you want to add the default transition (see Figure 2). Remember, unless you change it, the default video transition is a 30-frame cross-dissolve. (Another of my Final Cut Pro Power Tips tells you how to change the default transition.)
    Figure 2

    Figure 2 Position the playhead at the beginning of the sequence and select all the clips to which you want to add the transition.

  4. Drag all the clips up to the Canvas and drop them on the red Overwrite with Transition overlay, as shown in Figure 3.
    Figure 3

    Figure 3 Drag the selected clips to the Canvas and drop on the Overwrite with Transition overlay.

    Poof! All your clips are immediately edited back to the Timeline, starting at the position of the playhead, with the default transition applied between clips (see Figure 4).

    Figure 4

    Figure 4 Tada! Every clip has the default transition applied automatically!

Now, remember, this is a secret technique. Please keep it to yourself.

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