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Final Cut Pro transitions

When working with transitions in Final Cut Pro there are a couple of tricks to help you along the way including how set transition favorites to hot keys, and how to add multiple transitions all at the same time.

Final Cut Pro transitions

Within the effects tab, there is a list of various transitions. These effects can be applied between individual clips in the timeline window. Effects that appear in bold lettering are designated as real-time effects. These effects will not have to be rendered when applied.


To apply a transition, simply drag a transition effect from the effects window, and place it between two clips within the timeline.


Make sure there are long enough handles between the two clips for the duration of the effect. Otherwise the transition will not apply.

Only certain transitions will play in real-time. Real time effects are indicated by a green color. It is important to learn the various render bar colors within Final Cut Pro.
Instead of dragging a commonly used effect from the effects window to the timeline window, you can designate a transition as a default transition that can be applied by control clicking on any transition point. If you have an Apple 'mighty mouse' you'll need to make sure you configure the right button so you can properly use the contextual menus within Final Cut Pro.

The default transition is initially set to a cross dissolve. To change your default transition, simply control click (right click) on any transition effect within the effect window, and select Set Default Transition.


You can also use the keyboard shortcut (command + T) when parked on a transition point to automatically add the default transition.

Setting the default transition is important, because it allows you to apply multiple transitions to the Final Cut Pro timeline, by dragging a portion of a sequence back into the Canvas window.

To change the parameters of a transition, double click on the transition effect in the timeline window. This will load its contents into a separate tab within the viewer window.


You can specify the duration of your transition in the duration box. You can also set where the transition is centered.


If you plan on dragging down your transition(s) instead of using the contextual menu, make sure you leave enough handles to avoid an insufficient source error, or 'operation not allowed' error.

After you've adjusted a transition, you can place that transition into the transition favorites folder within the effects tab. You can drag the transition from the upper right corner of the Viewer Window into the Favorites folder within the Effects tab.


It is reccomended that you place a number (01, 02, 03...) in front of each favorite transition that you create. This is because Final Cut Pro will always sort the transitions alphabetically. It's important to maintain the order of your favorite transitions, if you plan on mapping them to hot keys.

You can map your favorite transitions to a hot-key by navigating to the keyboard layout under the tools menu. Use the search term 'video transition favorite' to find the 9 available video transition favorites. Drag the appropriate favorite to a hot-key. In this example, I used F2, and F3.


Saving video transition favorite to hot-key is a fantastic way to apply commonly used transitions.

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Preserving In and Out points when Using Match Frame in Avid Xpress Pro was the previous entry in this blog.

Setting Duration For Still Images In Final Cut Pro is the next entry in this blog.

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