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Beginner's Guide to Editing in the Final Cut Pro HD Timeline

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In this 60-minute Apple-certified lesson, you'll learn how to use the Timeline in Final Cut Pro. By the end of the hour, you'll have learned how to select and move clips in the Timeline, copy and paste clips, select multiple clips in the Timeline, work with the Snapping control and more.
This chapter is from the book

Lesson Files
FCP4 Book Files > Lessons > Lesson 3 Project

Sahara folder; Music folder

This lesson takes approximately 60 minutes to complete.

Select and move clips in the Timeline
Copy and paste clips
Select multiple clips in the Timeline
Work with the Snapping control
Overwrite clips directly to the Timeline
Insert clips directly to the Timeline

Final Cut Pro's flexibility allows an editor to work with different styles of editing. You can click edit buttons on the interface, or you can use keyboard shortcuts such as F9 and F10 to make Insert and Overwrite edits. Or you can drag a clip to the Edit Overlay in the Canvas. But there's another editing style that's easy yet powerful at the same time: dragging a clip directly into the Timeline to make an edit. Once a clip is in the Timeline, you can select it, move it, or copy and paste it. You can do just about anything you need to do to manipulate the clip or sequence using the Timeline editing approach.

Preparing the Project

To get started in Lesson 3, launch Final Cut Pro by clicking on the program icon in the Dock and then open the project for this lesson. You will also create a new sequence to begin editing.

  1. Launch Final Cut Pro by single-clicking the program icon in the Dock.
  2. Close all open projects by Ctrl-clicking their tabs and selecting Close Tab.

    The Canvas and Timeline windows close when there are no sequences to display, and the Effects tab is the only tab in the Browser.

  3. Choose File > Open, or press Cmd-O, and choose the Lesson 3 Project file from the FCP4 Book Files > Lessons folder on your hard drive.

    This project has three bins: Audio for music and sound effects, Sahara Rain for the video clips used in this project, and Sequences.

  4. In the Lesson 3 Project tab, click the disclosure triangle next to the Sequences bin and double-click the Sahara Rain - Finished sequence to open it.

    The Canvas and Timeline windows open to display the open sequence.

  5. Play this sequence to see what you will create in this lesson.

    This sequence has four audio tracks. On A1 and A2 is a stereo music track that was created in the program Soundtrack, which comes bundled with Final Cut Pro 4. You will learn to create a sound track in Lesson 14.

    On track A3 and A4 is a stereo sound effect of rain. One clip has been duplicated several times to continue the sound effect under the entire video track.

    In the previous lesson, you created a new sequence in the Browser and then dragged the icon into the Sequences bin to keep your project organized. But you can also create a new sequence that appears in the Sequences bin in one step.

  6. To create a new sequence directly in the Sequences bin, move the pointer to the Sequences bin and hold down the Control key. Don't click just yet.

    A tiny icon appears representing a contextual menu. Clicking the pointer at this location brings up the contextual menu for just that item.

  7. Ctrl-click the Sequences bin and select New Sequence from the contextual menu.

    The new sequence appears already in the Sequences bin.

  8. Name the new sequence Timeline Editing and double-click it to open it in the Timeline.
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