Learn More Contact Now

three point editing with Final Cut Pro

Here is a training module on three point editing for Final Cut Pro.

Canvas_editing_controls.jpg

Although this is a basic training module, there are some key concepts that other experienced editors may benefit from. This includes:

  • Using the replace editing function (instead of the overwrite edit)
  • Fit to Fill
  • How to utilize match frame
  • The Find Results Menu

  • VIEWER WINDOW FUNCTIONS
    The viewer window is where clips are loaded for three-point editing. Double clicking on a clip in the browser window will allow you to see its contents in the viewer.

    In Final Cut Pro a clip may be dragged directly from the browser window into the viewer window.

    The viewer window has many buttons and menus. The center of the viewer gives a visual display of the frame where the position indicator is parked. The upper half and lower half of the viewer window contain all the menus and buttons.

    viewer_window_controls.jpg

    Some important Final Cut Pro functions of the viewer and canvas windows are as follows:

    Play Button: Pressing the play button will play a clip, and you will see the position indicator move forward. Pressing it again will stop the position indicator.

    Mark In (I): This will mark an in point where the position indicator is currently parked.

    Mark Out (O): This will mark an out point where the play head indicator is currently parked.

    CLIP DURATION BOX
    The clip duration window will update to show the distance between the IN / OUT points in the viewer. In this case, the duration is 11 seconds and 25 frames.

    If no IN point is present, Final Cut Pro will use the very first frame of the clip as the default IN point. If no OUT point is present, then it will use the very last frame as the OUT point.

    viewer_window_menus.gif

    EDITORS NOTE:
    It is recommended that you keep the zoom for the viewer window set on Fit to Window. Playback may appear jerky or pixelated if this menu is set to something other than fit to window. Make sure RGB is selected at all times under the viewer menu. Otherwise, Final Cut Pro will display your video images with a red tint.

    THREE POINT EDITING

    After you have mastered the concept of storyboard editing, it is important to understand three-point editing within the Final Cut Pro interface.

    A general workflow is to organize all of your material and then create a rough storyboard. Then quickly drop those clips into the timeline and begin editing. After that, three-point editing is a good editing method to use.

    One of the many choices for editing in Final Cut Pro is the option of editing your show using three-point editing. Instead of dragging individual clips to the timeline, you can press a button to perform the same function. Three-point-editing involves marking specific IN / OUT points in two separate locations – the viewer window and the timeline window.

    insert_vs_overwrite.gif

    Using three-point editing is similar to the drag and drop method. The two commonly used Final Cut Pro functions are over-write and insert editing.

    insert_button.jpg Using the insert function will push existing clips over to the right in a sequence.

    overwrite_button.jpg Using the over-write function will fill a specified duration based on your IN / OUT points. This function will over-write or replace the marked region in the timeline.

    The first step is to mark IN / OUT points for a clip you would like to edit into your current sequence. In this example, Final Cut Pro shows a duration of 3 seconds has been marked in the viewer window.

    mark_three_seconds.jpg

    You now have two basic choices. You can either over-write or insert this clip into your sequence. By parking the position indicator at the tail of a clip in the timeline, you can easily add additional clips by using the over-write function.

    USING THREE POINT EDITING TO BUILD A SEQUENCE

    Another approach is to load individual clips into the viewer window and mark rough IN / OUT points before editing the clip to a sequence. This workflow will allow you more accuracy in choosing specific IN / OUT points before editing your clips to the timeline.

    Notice how Final Cut Pro uses the marked sections of the ‘parasailing’ clip when it is edited to the timeline.

    mark_clip_in_viewer.jpg

    position_indicator.jpg

    insert_overwrite_buttons.gif Pressing the red over-write, or yellow insert button will place the clip in the viewer window based on where the position indicator is parked.

    ovewrite_2_seconds.jpg

    EDITING BASED ON THE POSITION INDICATOR (OVER-WRITE EDIT)

    With IN / OUT points marked in the viewer window, simply place the position indicator at a point where you want the clip to go in your sequence.

    3_seconds_marked.jpg

    overwrite_button.jpg Pressing the over-write button will edit 3 seconds onto the current sequence starting at the position indicator.

    In this example, pay close attention to where the position indicator is parked within the timeline. Final Cut Pro uses this indicator as its starting point. When the red over-write button is pressed, 3:00 seconds from the clip in the viewer will be edited over top of the ‘sailboat clip’. Notice, 3:13 will be left over.

    fcp_timeline.jpg

    fcp_timeline2.jpg

    Notice, The 'Walk on Beach' clip has overwritten part of the ‘Sailboat’ clip. The ‘Sailboat’ clip is now 3 seconds shorter, but the sequence length is unchanged.

    It is important to note that, when using the over-write function, the duration of your sequence will not change. This means other tracks in the sequence will maintain their relative position. When editing, you will find the over-write function to be one of the most common methods of editing.

    EDITING BASED ON THE POSITION INDICATOR (INSERT EDIT)

    insert_button.jpg Pressing the insert button will edit 3 seconds onto the current sequence starting at the position indicator. It will push all the other clips down the timeline, lengthening the sequence.

    insert_three_second_clip.jpg

    EDITORS NOTE:
    Be careful when using the insert-edit feature in Final Cut Pro. It is possible to change the sync relationship between your video and audio clips.

    IN AND OUT POINTS IN THE TIMELINE WINDOW

    Once you understand the concept of three-point editing, you can mark IN / OUT points in the timeline instead of the viewer window. This is useful when timing clips to music or a voice over track.

    With IN / OUT points marked in the timeline window, Final Cut Pro will obey those marks and will fill the entire duration with material based on an IN point in the viewer window.

    in_point_viewer.jpg

    EDITORS NOTE:
    If an IN point is not present in the viewer window, Final Cut Pro will use the first frame of the clip. It is therefore almost always necessary to mark an IN point in the Viewer window when using the red overwrite button.

    If you do not have enough media from the viewer window to fill the specified duration between the IN / OUT points in the timeline, you will receive an insufficient content error.

    insufficient_content_for_edit.jpg

    When this happens, you may choose to shorten the distance between your IN / OUT points, or find sufficient media to fill the required duration.

    EDITORS NOTE:
    You can verify the amount of media left in the viewer window by looking at the duration box in the upper left corner of the viewer window. The duration box shows the distance from your IN point to the end of the clip.

    overwrite_button.jpg Pressing the over-write button will drop your clip into the timeline based on your IN / OUT points.

    overwrite_2_seconds.jpg

    overwrite_2_seconds2.jpg

    THREE POINT EDITING RULES FOR TIMELINE MENU
    If for some reason you have IN / OUT points on both your timeline and your viewer window, Final Cut Pro will always give the timeline priority over the viewer window. It will ignore the OUT point in the viewer.

    If you have IN / OUT points in the viewer window, but you do not have an IN / OUT point in the timeline, Final Cut Pro will use the location of the position indicator in the timeline as an IN point.

    EDITORS NOTE:
    *You can use a function in Final Cut Pro called 'fit to fill' which will force a clip that is too short or too long to fit the required duration in the timeline.

    TIMELINE WINDOW VS. CANVAS WINDOW

    In Final Cut Pro, the timeline window and canvas window are linked together when it comes to navigating around in the timeline. Since these two windows are synced together, marking IN / OUT points for your sequence can be done in either window. The canvas window will display the duration between your IN / OUT points in the timeline window.

    In the below example, the Canvas window shows that seconds are marked between the IN / OUT points in the timeline.

    Canvas_window_2_seconds.jpg

    IN / OUT points that are marked in the timeline window are also viewable in the canvas window. Remember, these two windows represent your edited sequence.

    timeline_2_seconds_marked.jpg

    The canvas window will always display the name of your sequence in the top portion of the window. In this case, the name is ‘Sequence 1’ from the Jamaica Show project.

    PERFORMING AN OVERWRITE EDIT (USING THE CANVAS)

    Final Cut Pro also allows you to manually drag clips from the viewer window into the canvas window.

    To make a three-point edit, simply drag the viewer window into the canvas window, and move the clip into the overwrite box. This will perform an over-write edit, based on the IN / OUT marks on the timeline.

    In this example, The clip in the Viewer will overwirte the 3 second area that is marked in the timeline.

    canvas_window_editing.jpg

    FINAL CUT PRO EDITING KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS

    Instead of having to click on individual buttons or dragging clips to the canvas window, you can use the keyboard shortcut equivalents. In the above example, you could have clicked on the red overwrite button or pressed F10 to complete the same action.

    Canvas_editing_controls.jpg

    USING THE REPLACE EDIT FUNCTION

    The blue replace edit button will automatically fill the area from where the timeline position indicator is parked. It uses the frame where the position indicator is parked in the viewer window as its starting point. IN / OUT points are not needed in either the viewer window or timeline window.

    fills_from_position_inidcator.jpg

    replace_edit.jpg

    EDITORS NOTE:
    The replace function is one of the most valuable functions within Final Cut Pro. This is because it doesn't necessarily require any IN or OUT points. Final Cut Pro will allows align your position indcator(s) in the Viewer and Canvas windows. It will attempt to fill the amount of footage needed based on existing edit points or IN-OUT points (if they are present). Using the replace edit can save time and simplify the video editing process without having to worry about marking IN-OUT points.

    MARKING AND DELETING CLIPS (THREE POINT EDITING)

    To automatically mark IN / OUT points for a clip on the timeline, park the indicator within an individual clip, and press the X key on the keyboard. This will save you time when working in Final Cut Pro, because you will not have to worry about marking a clip exactly at its first and last frame.

    mark_final_cut_pro_clip.jpg

    LIFTING A CLIP FROM THE TIMELINE

    Once a clip is marked, you can easily delete it using the delete key on your keyboard.

    delete_key_lift_clip.jpg

    When using the delete key to lift out a video shot between IN / OUT points, make sure all of your audio tracks are locked. Otherwise, the marked portion of your audio will be lifted out along with the video.

    EDITORS NOTE:
    There are two delete keys on a Macintosh keyboard. Make sure you are using the large delete key underneath F11 and F12, and not the ripple delete key.

    In this example, because the audio tracks are locked, using the large delete key only lifts out the marked portion of video.

    lift_clip_locked_audio.jpg

    RIPPLE DELETING A CLIP FROM THE TIMELINE

    If you click on a gap with the (A - arrow tool) and then press (shift + delete or the ripple delete key Final Cut Pro will close the gap between the IN / OUT points.

    close_gap.jpg

    Remember, when using (shift + delete), you will always be changing the duration of the track in your sequence.

    REMOVING IN / OUT POINTS

    To clear an IN Point: Click on the viewer window or timeline window and press (option + I).
    To clear an OUT point: (option + O)

    If you want to clear both in and out points use (option + X).

    MARKING A SPECIFIC DURATION

    To specify a duration, you can type in the exact duration you would like in the clip duration box. This can be done in either the viewer window or the canvas window. Final Cut Pro will then automatically calculate what the IN point or OUT point is to match you’re the specified duration.

    viewer_duration.jpg

    You do not need to enter any of the semi-colons that are common to timecode numbers. Just enter a whole number value. If you do not have an IN point, Final Cut Pro will mark the OUT point based on the first frame of the clip.

    TIMECODE VALUE RULES AND EXCEPTIONS

    When typing in duration values, the following rules apply:

    Remember, there are 30 frames of video per second.

  • Any value 1 through 99 is translated as number of frames, not seconds. For example: if you enter in the number 80, it will be translated into 2 seconds, and 20 frames.

  • Any value 100 through 129 is translated as 1 second, and the number of frames. An example is: 125 will be translated as 1 second, and 25 frames.

  • Mixed values, such as 180 would be translated as 3 seconds, and 20 frames. This is because (1 second + 80 frames) is used for its calculation.

    FIT TO FILL FUNCTION

    If you have a scenario where you have IN / OUT points in both the viewer and the timeline, you may choose to use the fit-to-fill feature. When performing a fit-to-fill command, Final Cut Pro will automatically adjust the speed of the clip in the viewer window to fit the space marked in the timeline.

    To perform the fit-to-fill function, simply drag the clip from the viewer window into the canvas window, and drop it on the fit-to-fill area in the canvas.

    fit_to_fill.jpg

    EDITORS NOTE:
    A good example of the usefulness of this feature would be when you don't have quite enough original footage. You can use fit-to-fill to force a shot to fit the area. Depending on the nature of the shot, the speed change may be unnoticeable.

    The duration between the IN / OUT points in the viewer and canvas area is 5:06. In this case, 4:15 is needed to fill 5:06. By using fit-to-fill, the 'Walk on Beach' clip is slowed down to 87% of its original speed.

    MANUAL SPEED CHANGE IN THE VIEWER WINDOW

    modify_speed_box.jpg

    Final Cut Pro will automatically apply the speed change within the viewer window. When you edit this clip to the timeline, you will notice the speed has changed by the value you have specified.

    ADJUSTING SPEED FOR CLIPS IN THE TIMELINE

    By control clicking on a clip in the timeline window, you can change its speed directly within a sequence.

    final_cut_pro_slow_motion.jpg

    CREATING A FREEZE FRAME

    To create a freeze frame in Final Cut Pro, park on a video frame that is in the timeline window or viewer window. Then, navigate to the Modify | Make Freeze Frame menu.

    modify_freeze_frame_menu.jpg

    Final Cut Pro will automatically mark a 10 second duration of a new clip that is loaded into the viewer window. You can now edit this clip into your sequence.

    EDITORS NOTE:
    If you want to use the freeze frame at a later time without having to create a new one, you need to drag the clip from the viewer window into the browser window.

    freeze_frame.gif

    Freeze frames, or still image files with have an ABC icon, instead of a regular clip icon to indicate a still image.

    USING MATCH-FRAME TO FIND CLIPS

    Using the match-frame command will automatically match a frame from the timeline and place it into the viewer window. The keyboard shortcut for match-frame is the F key.

    using_match_frame.jpg

    Using the match-frame feature will automatically place IN / OUT points in the viewer window to match the duration of the clip in the timeline window.

    match_frame_viewer_window.jpg

    EDITORS NOTE:
    By using the match-frame feature, you will save time from having to search your browser window to access a clip that you have already used in a sequence.

    USING THE FIND FEATURE

    Under the Edit | Find menu at the top of the Final Cut Pro menu bar, you can activate the find function. If you are looking for used or unused media for a particular sequence, Final Cut Pro will display a window that should look similar to this:

    find_window.jpg

    You can specify whether you are looking for: all media, unused media, or used media. A find results box will appear after you select the find all button. The find results window tab can be attached to another window, or the clips can be dragged to another folder or window.

    find_results_window.jpg

    EDITORS NOTE:
    When using the find feature to find something in the browser window, make sure you highlight the sequence in the browser window first. Otherwise, the find window will assume you are looking for something in your current timeline.

    If you are looking for something within a particular sequence, and you want Final Cut Pro to highlight the clip for you in the timeline, your find window will look like this.

    find_in_sequence.jpg

    In this example, any clips that contain the name ‘beach’ will be highlighted in the current timeline.


  • Receive FREE Tutorials by email:

    Find on-site training in your state:
    about.this

    FCP Timeline Editing was the previous entry in this blog.

    Pull Down madness for Avid or FCP is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.