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Final Cut Pro filmstrip effect

This Final Cut Pro effect will help you understand the principles of using keyframes. One very practical effect, is to create a moving filmstrip. Moving filmstrips can be a variety of sizes and speeds. They are practical in portraying several images in a limited amount of time.


Once you master the moving filmstrip effect, you'll be able to apply your skills to other advanced effects that contain many of the skills learned in this exercise.

*If you are an Avid Xpress or Media Composer user you can find the same steps for creating the moving filmstrip for Avid.
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It is important to follow the steps in this exercise exactly, otherwise your moving filmstrip may not play correctly. Once you have mastered this exercise, you can change the parameters of the filmstrip to your liking. You need a minimum of 9 clips that are at least 3 seconds in duration. For your 9 clips, mark 3 seconds between your IN / OUT points for each of them.There are several easy ways to mark each of your clips so that they are exactly 3 seconds in duration. Mark an IN point, and then click in the duration box and type in 3:00, and press the enter key on the keyboard keypad. This will automatically mark your OUT point for you. For PowerBooks, use the enter / return key. Or, mark an IN point and then press + 2:29 on the keyboard keypad, and press the enter key. Then mark an OUT point. final_cut_pro_viewer_window.gif Remember, the position indicator is always parked on a single frame, which is frame 1. By adding 2:29 or (2 seconds 29 frames) on the keyboard keypad, the position indicator will automatically jump the specified number of frames forward. number_keypad.gif How to change the durations of clips in the Browser Window If you have a large number of clips that need to be a specified duration, you can easily changed the duration for each clip in the browser window. In this case, we need 9 clips that are all 3 seconds in duration. Make sure you are displaying the duration column in the browser window. Simply click on the duration value of each clip to change its value to 3:00. duration_column_heading.gif Notice: The length column displays the duration of the entire clip. The duration column shows the duration marked between the IN / OUT points. If you do not have an IN point marked for a particular clip, Final Cut Pro will automatically assume you are marking an IN point at the beginning of it. If you have already marked IN / OUT points for an existing clip, Final Cut Pro will mark the duration from the current IN point. Make sure you start a new sequence and name it ‘Filmstrip’. new_fcp_sequence.gif The next step is to drag all of the clips to the timeline. You can do this by drawing a lasso or ‘marquee’ around all of your clips in the browser, and then dragging them all to the timeline. drag_final_cut_pro_timeline.gif After you drag all of your clips to the timeline, you should have a sequence that looks similar to this. It is critical that all of your clips are exactly 3 seconds in duration. 3_second_clips_timeline.gif The next step is to create a motion template that you can apply to all the other clips. Double click on the first clip in your sequence. This will load the clip directly into the viewer window. Make sure your viewer is showing the clip from your current sequence, and not from the browser window. load_clip_into_viewer.gif You should notice dotted lines between your IN / OUT points in the viewer window. The next step is to click on the motion tab in the upper left corner of the viewer window. motion-tab.jpg The motion tab is what will allow us to create a motion path that moves from one end of the screen to the other. How to resize an image (picuture in picture) Before creating a motion path, you may want to turn on the Image + Wireframe option under the view menu inside the canvas window. fcp_picture_in_picture.gif By positioning the mouse cursor over a handle, you can click and drag any of the four handles to resize your image. Or, you can use the scale parameter under the motion tab. Inside the motion tab window, change the scale of your clip to 50% of its original size. scaling_parmater.jpg Make sure the position indicator is parked inside the clip in the timeline window that you are adjusting. park_over_fcp_clip.gif This will allow you to monitor the changes that you are making to a particular clip on the timeline while modifying its motion parameters. monitor_image_wireframe.gif Highlight the timeline window and then press the home key on your keyboard. This will automatically move the position indicator to the very first frame of the timeline and your clip. home_key.gif Verify that you have an angular bracket in the lower right corner of the canvas window. This shows that your position indicator is parked on the very first frame of the clip. head_of_clip.gif If you are parked on the first frame of a clip, and you do not see an angular bracket, your canvas overlays may be turned off. To turn them on, navigate to the view window in the canvas, and select Overlays. canvas_window_head_of_clip.gif Navigate to the zoom menu in the canvas, and select a value of 25%. This will allow you to view an area that is outside the video frame. canvas_25_percent.gif Hold down the shift key and drag the picture to the extreme right edge of the viewable frame area. Holding down the shift key will constrain movement to the right or left, so that your picture is positioned perfectly in the center of the screen, from top to bottom. position_pip.gif Click the add keyframe button to place a keyframe at the first frame of the clip. add_fcp_keyframe.gif Editors Note When the position indicator is parked at the first frame of a clip, it is very difficult to see the indicator and any keyframes that you may create. The motion editor can be extremely detailed and may contain very small elements. You may want to adjust the size of your motion tab, or tear it off and resize it so you will have more room to see your adjustments. Next, highlight your timeline window, and move the position indicator to the last frame of the first clip. Pressing the down arrow on the keyboard will automatically move the position indicator to the next edit point down_arrow.gif Then simply back up one frame using the left arrow so that the position indicator is now parked at the last frame of the clip. left_arrow.gif Next, highlight the canvas window. Then hold down the shift key and drag your picture from the right of the viewable screen area to the left of the viewable screen area. Assuming you have marked a keyframe at the beginning of your clip, and the position indicator is now parked at the end of the clip, you will see a motion path that extends across to the new position of your picture. drag_clip_left.gif You can now back up the position indicator on the timeline, and play through your clip. Editors Note Depending on the speed of your system, this effect may play in real time. If you have a slower system, you will need to render your clip in order to play it in full motion. Don’t forget to change your view menu in the canvas window back to Fit to Window. This will fill your canvas window area with the viewable picture area. fit_to_canvas_window.gif Next, you need to copy the parameters of the same exact move to all of the other clips. Control click on your first clip in the timeline, and select the copy function. copy_final_cut_pro_clip.gif Highlight the timeline window, and use the keyboard shortcut (command + A) to automatically select all of your clips in the timeline window Next, control click on the highlighted clips and select Paste Attributes. paste_attributes.gif After selecting the paste attributes function, a dialogue box will appear. This allows you to specify which parameters you wish to copy over. Make sure you check the Scale Attribute Times and Basic Motion boxes. paste_basic_motion.gif If you back up the position indicator and play your sequence, you will notice all of the clips now move from the right side of the screen across to the left side. The next step is to attach them all together, so that they form a moving filmstrip. Creating Additional Video Tracks Highlight your timeline window, and press the home key to make the position indicator jump to the very first frame of your sequence. You now need to stack all of the clips, so that you can make a continuous filmstrip. From the home position of your sequence, you need to position your cursor exactly one second forward from its home position. The easiest way to do this is to press the (shift + right arrow) keys, which will automatically move the position indicator to the right by one second. shift_right_arrow.gif Once you have placed the position indicator one second forward, you can move the following clip to snap to the position indicator above your first clip. 1_second_final_cut_pro_time.gif Make sure you have the snapping feature turned on N key, so that your clip will automatically snap to the position indicator. Notice, a new video track is automatically created when you move a clip to a vacant area on in the timeline window. create_new_fcp_track.gif Repeat the process again, using (shift + right arrow) to advance the position indicator forward by exactly one second, and dragging the next clip to V3 and snapping to the position indicator. Your timeline should look similar to the graphic below. stack_final_cut_pro_layers.gif Positioning Clips in Order Drag all of the remaining six clips into position as shown below. Make sure the snapping feature is turned on so all the clips automatically snap into the correct position. Your sequence should look similar to the graphic below. final_cut_pro_filmstrip_lay.gif If you see a red render bar above your clips, you will need to render them before you can play back your filmstrip effect in real time. When playing your sequence, you should now see all of your clips attached together in a filmstrip. finished_filimstrip_effect.gif Nesting the filmstrip layers After you are finished with the filmstrip effect, you can collapse all of the layers together into a single nested clip. This is done by selecting the clips in the timeline that you wish to nest, and then navigating to the Sequence | Nest Item(s) menu. nest_final_cut_pro_layers.gif A dialogue box will appear giving you a chance to name your new nested clip. Give the nested clip a name. nest_items_fcp.gif This name will appear on the single nested clip that is created on the timeline. After you are finished you will end up with a single clip that contains all three video layers. This technique is useful to save vertical space on the timeline window. nested_fcp_tracks.gif Double clicking on a nested clip will re-open the original clips on their original tracks. Now you should have two sequences. The original sequence, and the nested sequence. open_nested_tracks.gif Editors Note You can still edit with the clips inside the nest. When you return to the original sequence, your changes will be carried over to it.
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Distributed Encoding with Apple Qmaster and Compressor was the previous entry in this blog.

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