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rolling_pin.gifI know it seems pretty obvious, but someone asked me the other day, "What do you mean by handles?"  Handles in Final Cut Pro are basically the extra frames of unused video or audio that are on either side of the In & Out points in an edit.  Think of it like a rolling pin, where you have those 2 handles on either side of the actual part you use.  More of a shooting technique than an editing technique, but in a lot of cases you are performing both jobs; and if you're not, you want to make sure your camera person is doing this too.  Recording an amount of tape before the action starts and after the action ends is essential for creating those "handles".  A good rule of thumb is at least 5 seconds on either side.  You really need these especially when you're using cross dissolve transitions, or a fade in or out before or after your clip.  If you start recording right when the action starts, you won't have enough footage to "fade in from black".

Understanding Handles is important before getting too deep into trimming clips.  In order to extend a clip in the Timeline to a longer duration, you need to have that extra media available.  An easy way to check if you have enough media to trim is to double click on a clip that is in the Timeline.  You can see the available header and tail areas that you can use for trimming purposes by loading the clip into the Viewer.  This means you can extend the clip beyond its edited length within the sequence.  Once you have determined that a clip has enough material to trim, you can extend the clip by the duration of the available handles.


Note that the sprockets here means it is a clip from the Timeline.  Keep reading for another tip...

Creating Handles within the Footage During Capture

There are 2 ways to create handles in your footage.  You can loosely mark the footage around the action you want to edit, creating handles as you mark.  Or you can mark the action more precisely and add the handles afterward.  To create a 3-second clip handle, click in the Clip In Point Timecode field, enter -3. (minus 3 period) and press return.  When you enter this change, a new In point appears that is 3 seconds earlier than the previous mark, giving you a 3 second pad, or handle before the action begins.

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