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Manipulating Clips in the Timeline

Timeline editing can include moving one clip's position in the sequence or moving all the clips on one or more tracks. It also includes copying and pasting a clip or a group of clips to another point in the sequence or to a different sequence altogether. You can even trim a clip directly in the Timeline, but that will be covered in a later lesson. Before you work with multiple clips in the Timeline, let's start by working with a single clip to learn how to select, move, copy, paste, and delete it.

Selecting and Deselecting a Clip

Selecting clips in the Timeline follows Apple selection principles in general. Clicking once on a clip selects it. Clicking off the clip deselects it. But with Final Cut Pro, where you click on the clip itself is very important. For now, you will edit some clips into the Timeline using the methods from the previous lesson as a review.

  1. In the Browser, click the triangle next to the Sahara Rain bin and double-click the raining on trees clip to open it in the Viewer. Play the clip.

    This is a video-only clip. You will use the full length of this clip in the sequence and add the sound of rain in another step.

  2. In the Timeline, move the playhead to the middle of the empty sequence.
  3. To edit the raining on trees clip into the sequence at this location, click the red Overwrite edit button in the Canvas.
  4. To select the raining on trees clip in the Timeline, click once in the middle of the clip.

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

  5. To deselect this clip, click in the blank Timeline area above the clip.
  6. Move the mouse pointer to the head of the clip. Note that the pointer changes to a vertical resize arrow. Click once to select the In point of this clip.
  7. Move the pointer across the clip to the Out point. When you see the resize arrow, click once to select the Out point.
  8. To select the clip itself and not just an edit point, click again in the middle of the clip with the pointer.
  9. To deselect the clip, you can also use the keyboard shortcut, Shift-Cmd-A.

Dragging and Moving a Clip

Clips can be dragged 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. A clip can also be moved by typing an offset amount directly in the Timeline.

  1. In the Timeline, click the raining on trees clip again to select it. Once selected, move the mouse pointer through the clip without dragging it.

    The pointer changes to a move cursor.

  2. Click and drag the raining on trees clip to the right, but don't release it.

    Several things happen. A small 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. The two small viewing frames in the Canvas are covered in the next exercise.

  3. Release the clip.
  4. Now drag the clip to the left and then right past its stationary 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.

  5. Drag the clip up to the V2 track above it and release it. Drag it back down to the V1 track.

    Dragging up and down repositions the clip to another track. You can also reposition it horizontally in the Timeline at the same time.

  6. With the clip selected, type 300, for 3 seconds, in the Timeline track area.

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

  7. Press Return to enter the amount and move the clip.

    To move a clip to the left, enter a minus sign in front of the move amount.

  8. Type –4. (minus 4 followed by a period) and press Return.
  9. Move the playhead to about an inch before the clip and drag the clip toward the playhead. When you get close, let the clip snap to the playhead.

    Snapping is a function that you can toggle off or on throughout the editing process. You will use it again later when you edit to the Timeline.

  10. Now drag the clip to the beginning of the Timeline as the first edit in this sequence.

Selecting and Moving Multiple Clips

You can use several methods to select a group of clips. Some follow the normal selection process used when you selected clips and put them in bins in Lesson 1. Some use Final Cut Pro tools from the Tool palette. In this exercise, you will practice different methods of selecting and moving a group of clips.

  1. First, edit the running in, just sitting, and running out clips into the sequence as Overwrite edits following the raining on trees clip. They do not need to be marked; you will use the full length of each clip. When you've edited the clips, click the Timeline to make it active, press Shift-Z to show the sequence in full view, and play the sequence.
  2. With the Timeline active, select all the clips by choosing Edit > Select All from the main menu (or by using the shortcut, Cmd-A).
  3. With all the clips selected, click any one of the selected clips and drag right. Release the clips when you've moved them about 10 seconds forward, or to the right, in the Timeline.

    As you drag, you see the distance you moved the clips in the Move box.

  4. With 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.

  5. Deselect these clips in one of three ways:
    • Choose Edit > Deselect All.
    • Press Shift-Cmd-A.
    • Click in the empty Timeline area.
  6. There are several ways to select a group of clips. After trying each method, deselect the clips using one of the options in step 5.
    • Click the first clip in the sequence and Shift-click the last clip.

      All clips in between become selected.

    • Click the first clip and Cmd-click the last clip.

      Just those two clips become selected.

    • Drag a marquee around the first three clips.

      As you start to drag, the pointer changes to a crosshair icon. Every clip the crosshair icon touches becomes selected. Do not deselect.

  7. To move the raining on trees, running in, and just sitting clips two seconds earlier in the Timeline, type –2. (minus 2 followed by a period) and press Return.
  8. Drag the fourth clip left until it snaps to the third clip, but don't release the mouse.

    Snapping triangles appear around the edge of the clip.

    In the Canvas window, two edit frames appear. The left frame displays the clip frame 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 clips follow 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 edit frames update to display the frame before and frame after the clip that's being dragged or repositioned. This is a good way to match action when making changes.

  10. Now move the clip you've been dragging to snap to the end of the last clip, the just sitting clip, and release it. This should place the clips back in their original order once again.
  11. Select all the clips using any of the selection methods and drag them to the left to the beginning of the sequence, then release the mouse. Deselect the clips.

Copying and Pasting Clips

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 cut, copy and paste: Cmd-X, Cmd-C, and Cmd-V.

  1. Click the triangle to display the contents of the Audio bin, then double-click the rain sound clip to open it in the Viewer. Play the clip.

    This is a sound-only clip. Notice the Stereo tab in the Viewer. Stereo tracks appear together in one tab, but they take two tracks in the Timeline.

    Also notice in the Timeline track control area that the a1 and a2 Source controls are targeting the A1 and A2 Destination controls. This is where you want to place this audio.

  2. In the Timeline, move the playhead to the head of the sequence and click the red Overwrite edit button. Play the clip in the sequence.

    This clip adds the sound of rain under the video clips. But the clip itself is not long enough to sustain the entire sequence. Let's copy the clip and paste it several times to continue the sound of the rain.

  3. Select the rain sound clip and choose Edit > Copy, or press Cmd-C.
  4. Use the up or down arrow to position the playhead at the end of the first rain sound clip.
  5. From the main menu, choose Edit > Paste, or press Cmd-V.

    A copy of the rain 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 rain sound clip, press Cmd-V again, and then two more times, for a total of five rain sound clips. Play the sequence.

    The five rain clips provide a base of sound for the current video clips. But the last rain sound clip goes beyond the end of the sequence. You can use the drag approach to shorten or trim the last sound clip so it stops where the video clips on the V1 track stop. Trimming will be covered in depth in Lesson 5.

  7. Click on the Out point of the last rain sound clip to select it. Drag the Out point to the left until it snaps in line with the Out point of the running out clip. When it snaps in place, release the mouse.

    The offset information in the yellow box indicates the trim amount and the new clip length.

Project Tasks

  1. Practice selecting groups of clips in different ways.
  2. Practice moving single clips and groups of clips by dragging them, and then by typing a move offset amount. Undo moves or errors with Cmd-Z.
  3. Save your project by pressing Cmd-S.
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