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Using the Nesting Command in Final Cut Pro

nest.pngWhat exactly is nesting?  Nesting in Final Cut Pro is basically a sequence that acts as a clip inside another sequence.  It's really one of the most useful and necessary components of most any compositing action.  The Nest Items Command allows you to select a range in your timeline that contains many layered effects and collapse them into a nested sequence.  This can make a very busy timeline easier on the eyes as you continue to work.  The nice thing about nesting is that you still have access to the individual layers.  If you need to go back and change something, you still have that option.
Why bother you may ask?  A perfect example would be if you wanted to apply a special-effect treatment to an entire sequence.  This could be something simple like applying a Desaturation Filter to your entire sequence in order to make it look black & white.  Or you could apply a 16x9 mask to an entire sequence to give it a letterboxed look.

You can also use Nesting to collapse a bunch of video layers taking up too much space.  It's really frustrating when you have a bunch of video layers at the beginning of your sequence for an opening effects sequence, and then it's hard to edit the rest of the content, because you have so many video tracks taking up the Timeline area.  You can nest those complicated effects so they only take up one track, making it easier to edit the rest of the project.

nested_sequence.pngOk, so how do we do it?  First, highlight the clips within a sequence that you want to nest together.  Go to the Sequence Menu to Nest Items.  All of the selected video tracks become a single nested clip.  You can also use the Keyboard shortcut Opt+C.  Don't forget to name your nested clip something descriptive so you can find it easier in the Browser; and note that your nested clip shows up as a Purpleish field in the Timeline rather than the normal Blue video clips; that helps you find your nest easier too.
nest_items.pngDouble-clicking on a nested clip opens the clip to reveal the nested contents.  An additional sequence tab opens up within the Timeline window to indicate that you are working within the nest.  To get back outside a nested clip, just click back onto the original sequence tab.  Now, if you're applying an effect, like the one I mentioned above, a Desaturation filter, to the whole nest, don't double click on the nest to open it up.  Rather, drag the nest into the Viewer so you can make your adjustments as a whole.  This allows you to use the controls in the Motion Tab in the Viewer to adjust your nested clip.


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