Tutorial: How to Edit in Final Cut Pro X’s Magnetic Timeline

Streaming Media Producer by Glen Elliot

The magnetic timeline is one of the major revolutionary changes in Apple Final Cut Pro X, and one of the areas editors struggle with when they're coming from track-based NLEs. In this tutorial we'll break it down and show you how to make it work for you.

In this tutorial we’re going to learn how to edit in Final Cut Pro’s new magnetic timeline. In designing FCP X, Apple completely reimagined the concepts and layout of the editing timeline. They’ve opted for what’s essentially a trackless timeline. There’s a darker gray strip in the center of the timeline that’s considered the primary storyline, and a lighter gray area above and below where you can connect clips. The concept is simple: You utilize the method of primary storyline to flush out the foundation of your story, and then you add supporting shots via connected clips above or below--cutaways, b-roll, and music.

This new timeline behavior is one of the major revolutionary changes in Final Cut Pro X, so it’s no coincidence it also happens to be one of the areas people have the most trouble with when they’re starting out, especially when they come from track-based NLEs like Final Cut Pro 7 and Adobe Premiere Pro. At first it can be difficult to acclimate to the new timeline format (Figure 1, below), so I’m going to break it down and try to make it easier to understand, and hopefully soften the learning curve. Now that I’ve grown accustomed to using the new timeline style in all the commercial and event edits I do at Cord3Films, I don’t want to go back to the old style. Once you’ve had a chance to learn it, I think you’re going to feel the same way. Let’s get started. read more...

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