From FAQwiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Editing FAQs


Video plays in Viewer but stutters in Canvas

From Jude Cotter

If you find that your video plays OK on the Viewer, but when you try to play it in the canvas or on an external monitor, you only get sound and a frozen picture, or very jagged movement, it's probably because that you have zoomed in on your canvas or viewer. To fix this, go to the small button at the top middle of your canvas and viewer that has a percentage number in it. Click on this and change it to 'fit to view' or smaller.

Other things that it could be:

  • Check that your View > External Video setting is set to 'All Frames' if you are using an external monitor.
  • Sometimes using View > Refresh A/V Devices can also help.
  • If you are using an external drive, ensure that it is connected via Firewire, not USB.
  • If these things don't help, try quitting and restarting FCP.

F9, F10, F11 keys don't work

From Jude Cotter
The most likely answer is that you have your system set to activate 'Expose' when you use these keys. To change this, go to your System Preferences (the grey 'switch' with an apple on it in the Dock) and select 'Dashboard and Expose'. Then find the functions that are being operated by the F10, F11 and F12 keys and change them to something more suitable for you, or turn them off.

What's that green checkmark/yellow triangle?

From Jude Cotter
These are Luma and Chroma range check alerts. They tell you if the colour and brightness levels of your video are ‘safe’ for broadcast. You may also notice red or green ‘zebra’ stripes on your picture. These are the areas that are close to unsafe, or are in the unsafe region.

If you don’t work as a professional, your work is not broadcast, or you just plain don’t want to see them, you can turn them off by selecting View > Range Check > Off.

Why do I have to render?

From Jude Cotter
If your sequence settings do not match your clip settings, you will have to render every clip in the timeline. This can be useful if you want to make several different kinds of clips into a single type, but not so useful if all you want to do is edit a single format.

To make the nasty render bar go away, create a new sequence and match the sequence settings to your clip settings before dragging your clips to the timeline. So, if your clips are DV PAL (PAL CCIR 601), 25 fps, with audio at 48.0 khz, you need to make sure that your sequence settings are too.

Also read this article:

Understanding Real-Time And Rendering in FCP 4

Despite the version number in the title it is still relevant to FCP 5 and beyond.

Update : In FCP 6 a function was added so that any clip dropped on a fresh timeline can be used to set the sequence settings automatically. To enable this function, go to User Preferences > Editing > and make sure that 'Auto Conform Sequence' setting is set to 'Always' or 'Ask'. If set to 'Ask', FCP will ask permission to change the sequence to match the first clip edited into the timeline, allowing you to override this if required.

Other things it could be:

  • You may have an effect or a motion change applied to your master clip. Load the clip from the browser into the viewer and check the filters and motion tabs to see if there are any anomalies.
  • You clip could be wildly different to the rest of the clips on your timeline. Some codecs, such as MPEG, H.264 and compressed AVIs are not designed for editing. Thye are compression or delivery codecs. Check that the codec you are cutting in is suitable for editing.

Scaling stills causes strobing

From Loren Miller
The reason that this happens is that you have a lot of fine detail or closely spaced halftone dots in your photo, which are colliding with scanlines which make up the video field.

You'll see this clearly on an NTSC or PAL interlaced video monitor, especially on zooms. You get line twitter, shimmering dots and vibrating moire effects. These all represent photo details less than 1 scanline wide.

The common cure is to add Gaussian Blur, either in Photoshop before the import, or as a filter in FCP, with less than 1 pixel Blur setting. Experiment using a real TV monitor, not your computer screen. By blurring, you spread the trouble areas big enough to be handled by more than one scanline. Appearance after blur may actually improve! This also works for crawl titling.

Also read this article on prepping photos for FCP : Sizing and Scanning Photographs in PS for import into FCP

Where's my audio scrubbing?

From Nick Meyers

You probably accidentally turned it off yourself.
Try hitting Shift S, which toggles scrubbing on and off, or go to View > Audio Scrubbing.

Nudging clips on the timeline

Here are some methods of nudging clips in the timeline.

From Jude Cotter

Just select the clip or group of clips and then type the number of frames you want to move them, prefixed either by a plus to move forwards, or a minus to move backwards. So, +5 will nudge forward 5 frames, and -15 will nudge back 15 frames.

The later versions of FCP don't let you move groups of clips that include transitions, so if you have transitions on any of the selected clips, remove them first, then reapply after the move.

From Derek Mok

Aside from numbers, you can also select the clip(s), hold down OPTION and press Left and Right Arrow keys to move any number of clips forward or backward by one-frame increments. Very useful for syncing purposes.

From Jullemai

Select a clip and use [ or ] to nudge 1 frame at a time, or go to User Preferences > Editing tab > Multi-frame Trim Size and insert the number of frames you want to increment by. You can then use shift [ and shift ] to move by the specified number of frames.

From Loren Miller

You can move whole groups of clips, indeed whole tracks, with your specified Preferences X value with Option-Shift Left/Right Arrows-- and certainly in V 5.1.1 this includes groups tied with transitions.

From Martin Baker

You can move clips with transitions in certain circumstances:

  • If you are moving two or more clips which have transitions directly between them.
  • If the transition is at the start of a clip (gap on left) and the alignment is set to "Start on Edit"
  • If the transition is at the end of a clip (gap on right) and the alignment is set to "End on Edit"

Other combinations won't work and produce an error beep when you try to nudge the clip(s).

From Andy Neil

Make sure to select the clip(s) with a single click.

Double-clicking will load the clip into the viewer and make the viewer active. The timeline has to be active for the nudge shortcut to work.

In addition to Option left or right arrow, you can simply hit comma (nudge back one frame), or period (nudge forward one frame). And on all these shortcuts, holding the shift button down as well nudges +/- 5 frames.

Why are my still picts green?

From Michael Horton

It's possible your picts are in CMYK mode. You need to convert your pictures to RGB mode.

How do I insert or overwrite a sequence into timeline?

From Loren Miller:

The Command-F9 and Command-F10 keys work when a sequence is loaded into your Viewer. There you can mark a portion or all of it, and then invoke the commands to insert or overwrite into your timeline at the Playhead position or a marked In point, as though it were a single clip.

If you leave a source sequence unmarked, take care to posititon the Playhead at the beginning of the Viewer scrubline, or it may be interpreted as an In point.

When to use nesting and how to use it

From Loren Miller:

Nesting is a powerful tool for grouping related clips and/or audio tracks into a sequence container, holding a completely cut sequence ready to be added to a master sequence. Also valuable for episode opens, standardized title crawls, or any repeating content. A nest sequence can be also stored in the Browser and reused time and again.

Used for:
Containing cut sequences; containing elaborate mutli-track effect sections, applying global effects like a letterbox or shape mask, a Timecode Reader burn-in, color adjust to a cut sequence.

Not used for:
Direct editing. Always step inside the nest to edit contents.

How to nest:

  • 1) Select entire timeline contents, video, and/or audio tracks.
  • 2) Select Nest Items from the Sequence menu, or just press Option-C.


  • 1) Select sequence portion with IN-OUT marks, allowing handles for overlap.
  • 2) Press Option-C.

A nest container sequence of one video track and a stereo pair is created. The audio is mixed down to each channel based upon your project settings.

Trim, don't blade
As long as handles exist at either end, trimming of a nest is allowed. But it is strongly recommended you don't blade or slice into a nest clip-- this duplicates the contents into additional identical containers and if done repeatedly on complex nests may invite "Out of Memory" alerts, (the so-called SAS-- "Sorcerer's Apprentice Syndrome") and other funky behavior.

Step *into* a nest to edit or trim internal contents. Step out and refresh a nest to ripple its length. (Kevin Monahan's tip: lower and raise the nest opacity line to refresh the nest after adjusting contents.)

To transition to or from a nest segment to a normal clip, just be certain overlap handles exist before you create the nest. Reliable dissolves can also be made by fading the nest opacity line in or out.

Also read these articles and useful tips:

Line your own nest: Basics of Nesting in Final Cut Pro

Nesting (QT movie)

Nesting sequences in FCP 5

How do I apply multiple transitions to a track?

From Loren Miller

I've borrowed and enhanced this from my 2003 article "The ChangeOver Challenge- From Avid to Final Cut pro" posted in Features here at LAFCPUG.


In Avid, while Edit mode is active, you can intuitively Shift-select the multiple edit points you wish to dissolve, and then double-click the desired Transition icon in the Effect Editor, or for plain dissolves call up the Quick Dissolve function dialog, to broadcast the effect. I always liked the ability and missed it in FCP. Then someone clued me in (I think Ralph Fairweather), and I share it:


  • In FCP you first set your desired default transition and duration. You'll know you've set it when you create say, a dissolve of 15 frames, drag it to your Effects bin, select it, open the contexural menu and choose "Make Default Transition". It'll become underlined.
  • Activate the Target Track switch for the track you want to effect, because you're essentially performing an overwrite edit. Please note: this technique doesn't work over gaps. All clips must be contiguous. You cannot yet selectively highlight edit points.
  • Park the Playhead at the head of the group of clips to be dissolved or otherwise effected. Press GG to drag over and highlight the group of clips desired. Press Option while dragging to isolate your selection to only video in the case of linked selections. Then physically drag your highlighted group to the Overwrite with Transition action box which appears in the Canvas when you arrive there. Release the mouse button over that box.

This redeposits the same group right back in the timeline track (assuming you've properly targeted it) with the default transition attached!

If you try this by selecting clips in a gapped track the overwrite will fill them in thinking they're contiguous clips. So don't include gaps in this technique.

It does have its "Think Different" kind of logic. The keyboard command for this action won't work; you cannot highlight the desired clips and go Shift-F10. Doesn't work. Yet.

How do I make my 4:3 footage work in a 16:9 project?

From Jude Cotter

Here's a tutorial with several ideas for workarounds : Faking It : Making 4:3 footage work in 16:9 projects

Also see our 16:9 FAQ here : Capturing and editing with 16:9 anamorphic footage

Why does my Video display fine in FCP but not Quicktime?

From Ben King

If the issue is one of poor quality display...

It is most likely because the preferences setting for high-quality in Quicktime is not ticked.

For high-quality display of DV in Quicktime (and some other CODECs):

  • Open Quicktime Player
  • Then go to the menu: Quicktime Player>Preferences
  • Tick the check box Use High-quality video setting when available
  • Close the preferences and quit Quicktime to save prefs
  • Re-open movie in Quicktime

If the issue is one of a squashed image...

It is most likely because you have an 16:9 FHA (Full Height Anamorphic) movie file.

This means that a 16:9 widescreen video has been recorded onto a 4:3 format in order to be transmitted via broadcast or played on DVD (or other formats that support anamorphic widescreen)

You can adjust the display aspect ratio (scaled video settings) for output from Quicktime as long as you have Quicktime Pro.

  • Open your movie in Quicktime player
  • Press: Command (Apple key) + j or go to the menu: Window>Show Movie Properties. The Movie Properties window should pop up.
  • Click on Video Track
  • Select the Visual Settings button
  • Uncheck the Preserve Aspect Ratio tick box
  • Type in the required Square pixel display dimensions you require (see below) into the Scaled Size boxes:

For PAL 16:9 DV/D1/DVD Widescreen type: 1024 x 576

For NTSC 16:9 D1 Widescreen type: 864 x 486

For NTSC 16:9 DV/DVD or 480p Widescreen type: 854 x 480

Now you have a few options:

  • Play the file as it now is - stretched to the correct display aspect ratio but without saving. However this does mean that you will have to go these steps again next time you open the file. I would choose this if it is a Final Cut Pro Quicktime that you want to edit later as FCP will flag widescreen itself within a project.
  • Save or Export the movie self-contained, as a new 16:9 FHA file with the Aspect ratio correct. For example if you want to export Widescreen iPod video or a high-quality Quicktime for playback on computer.

What is ProRes?

From Strypes

Originally released with Final Cut Studio 2, ProRes is a 10 bit 4:2:2 codec designed by Apple. It comes in 2 flavours (HQ and SQ) and uses only intraframe compression, delivering high quality video at fairly low bandwidth.

For more information, Apple has white papers available:

Update: With the release of Final Cut Studio 2009, Apple has more ProRes flavors available on top of HQ and SQ. Adding to the family includes ProRes Proxy at 36Mb/s, ProRes LT at 100Mb/s, and ProRes 4444 which supports alpha channel.

White Papers are here:

Personal tools