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Final Cut Pro X: Connect clips to add cutaway shots, titles, and synchronized sound effects

Connect clips to add cutaway shots, titles, and synchronized sound effects

You can attach clips to other clips in the Timeline. Connected clips remain attached and synchronized until you explicitly move or remove them.

Illustration of a connected clip

Some uses for connected clips include:

  • Cutaway shots: Add a cutaway shot by connecting it to a video clip in the Timeline.

  • Superimpose titles: Add a title or a lower third to a video clip or range.

  • Spot sound effects and background music: Synchronize audio clips to clips in the primary storyline. The clips will remain synchronized even if you move the primary storyline clips.

When you use the Connect menu command, keyboard shortcut, or toolbar button, video clips (blue) are connected above the primary storyline and audio clips (green) are connected below the primary storyline:

Connected video and connected audio clips in the Timeline
Note:   You can use three-point editing to make connect edits. For more information, see Three-point editing overview.

Connect clips in the Timeline

  1. If your project is empty, add clips to the dark gray primary storyline area in the Timeline to build your initial sequence.

    Empty project in the Timeline

    The clips in the primary storyline serve as a foundation on which you connect (attach) clips to further build your project. Connect edits are slightly different than the other edit types in that they never add clips to the primary storyline. If you perform a connect edit in an empty Timeline, Final Cut Pro first adds a gap clip to the primary storyline and attaches the new connected clip to it.

  2. Select one or more clips or a range in the Browser.

  3. Do one of the following to indicate where you want to connect the selected source clip:

    • Position the playhead over the frame of the clip in the primary storyline.

    • Make a range selection in the primary storyline.

      Clip selected in the Timeline
  4. To connect the selected clips to the clips in the primary storyline, do one of the following:

    • Choose Edit > Connect to Primary Storyline (or press Q).

      Note:   If you use the keyboard shortcut and the skimmer is present in the Timeline, the clip will be connected at the skimmer position.
    • Click the Connect button in the toolbar.

      Connect button
    • Drag the clips to the gray area above or below the primary storyline.

    The first frame of the source selection is connected to the clip in the primary storyline at the playhead or skimmer position. If you dragged the selection to the Timeline, the first frame of the source selection is connected to the primary storyline at the point where you released the mouse button.

    Connected clip in the Timeline

When you rearrange, move, ripple, or remove clips in the primary storyline, any clips connected to them will move (or be deleted) along with the primary storyline clips.

Moving a clip in the primary storyline with a connected clip

When you connect clips by dragging them, you have the option to put video clips below the primary storyline or put audio clips above the primary storyline.

Dragging a clip to connect it to the primary storyline
Note:   In Final Cut Pro, if you connect clips, the topmost video clips block out any video clips below them. Exceptions to this rule are clips with some type of transparency, keying, or compositing settings. For more information, see Compositing overview. Audio clips never affect video output, even when they are placed above video clips in the Timeline.

Adjust the connection point of a connected clip

By default, connected clips and storylines are connected to the primary storyline at their first frame, but you can move the “connection point” of a connected clip or storyline. This is useful when you want to connect a specific frame or audio sample in the connected clip or storyline with a specific frame or audio sample in the primary storyline.

Hold down the Command and Option keys, and click the connected clip (or the gray border of the storyline) at the point where you want to position the connection point.

The connection point is moved to the point where you clicked.

Moving the connection position for a connected clip

Move, trim, or delete clips in the primary storyline without affecting connected clips

If you need to move or trim clips in the primary storyline but want to keep any connected clips where they are, you can hold down the Grave Accent (`) key while editing to preserve the timing and position of connected clips.

To move a clip without affecting connected clips: While holding down the Grave Accent (`) key, drag the clip to another location in the Timeline (using either the Select tool or the Position tool).

Dragging a clip in the Timeline
Dragging a clip in the Timeline

To trim a clip without affecting connected clips: While holding down the Grave Accent (`) key, trim the clip using any method, including ripple edits, roll edits, slip edits, and slide edits.

To delete a clip without affecting connected clips: While holding down the Grave Accent (`) key, select the clip and press Delete (or press Command-Option-Delete).

For more information about removing clips or ranges that have connected clips, see Remove clips from your project.

To switch to an alternate clip in an audition without affecting connected clips: While holding down the Grave Accent (`) key, select the pick in the Audition window.

For more information, see Use auditions to try out clips in your project.

In all of these cases, the connected clip (or clips) remains exactly in the same position, with its timing preserved.

If you remove clips or ranges involved with connected clips and storylines without holding down the Grave Accent (`) key, special rules apply. For more information, see Remove clips from your project.

Last Modified: Mar 6, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Mar 6, 2014
  • Article: PH12538
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