Final Cut Pro X: Create split edits

Create split edits

You can set separate video and audio start and end points in an individual clip, creating a split edit. You can use a split edit to introduce the sound of a new shot or scene before cutting to the video of that shot or scene, or to extend the audio of a shot over a subsequent shot. For example, you could cut from a clip of a person talking to video of a person listening, while the audio from the first clip continues.

You can use split edits in many different situations—in dialogue scenes, when cutting to illustrative B-roll footage during an interview, or when transitioning from one scene to another. Split edits help you create seamless edits from one shot to the next.

The split edit technique results in L-shaped and J-shaped clips with audio extending to the left or the right. These are known as L-cuts and J-cuts.

Create a split edit by dragging

To create the split edit, you extend the audio of one clip over a neighboring clip. In this example, the audio from the close-up of the woman is extended over the medium shot of the man to create a J-cut.

  1. Add clips to the timeline in the order in which you want them to appear in your movie.

    Clips in the timeline
  2. To show separate audio for the clip you want to edit, do one of the following:

    The audio and video portions of the clip appear as discrete components that you can change individually. The audio and video are still attached and will remain in sync.

    Video and audio separated in a clip in the timeline
  3. Drag the start point (left edge) of the video portion of the clip to the right, effectively trimming it with a ripple edit.

    The example below shows the video start point of the close-up of the woman being dragged to the right.

    The video start point being moved right, causing the audio portion of the clip to overlap the audio from the preceding clip

    This creates a J-shaped split edit, with the start point of the audio overlapping the preceding clip.

  4. To complete the split edit, show separate audio for the preceding clip, then do one of the following:

    • Drag the preceding clip’s end point to the left so that the two audio clips no longer overlap.

      The preceding clip’s audio end point being dragged back so that the audio no longer overlaps in the timeline
    • Adjust the audio (fade) level of either clip so that the audio overlap sounds natural.

      A fade being added to the end of the preceding clip’s audio
  5. If you want to turn off the separate audio view to “clean up” the affected clips, do one of the following:

    • Select the clip in the timeline, then choose Clip > Collapse Audio (or press Control-S).

    • Double-click the clip’s audio waveform.

    A split edit in the timeline shown after the expanded view is turned off

When you play back this section of the timeline, you hear the woman begin to speak before the video cuts to the close-up of her.

Create a split edit using keyboard shortcuts

You can create split edits quickly using keyboard shortcuts. In this example, the audio from the close-up of the woman is extended over the medium shot of the man to create a J-cut.

  1. Confirm that the two adjacent clips have sufficient media handles. If not, trim the clips (shorter) to create the media handles.

  2. To show separate audio for the two adjacent clips, do one of the following:

    • In the timeline, select the clips whose audio you want to expand, then choose Clip > Expand Audio (or press Control-S).

    • Double-click the clip’s audio waveform.

    Two adjacent selected clips in the timeline shown with expanded audio
  3. Move the playhead to the edit point between the two clips.

    The playhead positioned on an edit point between two clips in the timeline

    To ensure accurate playhead placement, use keyboard shortcuts:

    • Move the playhead to the previous edit point: Press Semicolon (;) or the Up Arrow key.

    • Move the playhead to the next edit point: Press Apostrophe (’) or the Down Arrow key.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • Select both sides of the audio edit point: Press Shift-Backslash (\).

    • Select both sides of the video edit point: Press Backslash (\).

    Both sides of an audio edit point shown selected in the timeline
  5. To roll the audio edit point or the video edit point, do any of the following:

    • Nudge the edit point left or right: Press Comma (,) or Period (.), respectively.

    • Nudge the edit point 10 frames left or right: Press Shift-Comma (,) or Shift-Period (.), respectively.

    • Add or subtract from the current edit using timecode: Press the Plus Sign (+) or Minus Sign (–) key followed by the timecode duration, then press Return.

      The timecode entry field (with blue numbers) appears below the viewer as you type. For more information about entering timecode values, see Navigate using timecode.

    An audio edit point shown shifted to the left, creating a split edit

When you play back this section of the timeline, you hear the woman begin to speak before the video cuts to the close-up of her.

Align audio to video

If you perform a split edit that extends the audio portion of a clip beyond the video portion, you can quickly put the audio and video back into alignment so that the video and audio start and end points match.

  1. In the timeline, select the clips or components you want to align.

  2. Choose Trim > Align Audio to Video.

If you select a component, the audio is aligned on both edges of that component. If you select the edge of a component, only that edge is aligned.

Note: If you’re working on numerous split edits throughout your project, you might find it convenient to show expanded audio by displaying audio roles in separate lanes. For more information, see Organize the timeline using audio lanes.

Published Date: Apr 12, 2018
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