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Lesson 10. Nonlinear Editing > Assembling the Video

Assembling the Video

Motion makes some rudimentary editing tools accessible via the Timeline. Let's set up a project and take a look.

Press Cmd-N to start a new project.

In the Select Project Preset dialog that appears, choose DVCPRO HD 720p24 from the Preset pop-up menu and click OK.

Click the Duration icon (the clock) to the left of the Duration field at the lower right of the Canvas.

This switches from displaying time in frames to displaying time in SMPTE timecode—that is, to showing the time in hours, minutes, seconds, and frames, with each unit separated by a colon.

Click in the Duration field and type 30.00; then press Return.

When you press Return, Motion converts your 30.00 into the timecode 00:00:30:00. Your project length is now exactly 30 seconds. Changing to timecode instead of using a frame count makes it a lot easier to set a project length of 30 seconds. Otherwise you would have to pull out the calculator and multiply 24 by 30, and who wants to do that?


As you've just seen, you type only as many numbers as you need when entering timecode. Since we wanted a 30-second project, there was no need to enter hours or minutes, so we only typed 30.00. Also, even though timecode is written with colons between the unit measurements, using a period when entering the values is easier (no shifting required).

Make sure you're at frame 1 (if not, press Home).

In the File Browser, navigate to APTS_Motion > Lessons > Lesson10 and drag NewBeginning.mov into the center of the Canvas.

You've just added the first clip to the project. It's now time to add the soundtrack.

From the File Browser, drag CinematíveSoundtrack.aif into the Canvas.

Play back the project from frame 1.

You'll notice that the woman's mouth is moving, but there's no sound. That's because we need to add an overdub audio file for her lines.

Move back to frame 1 (Home), and from the File Browser drag NewBeginningVO.wav into the Canvas.

Play back the project again.

Our talent has found her voice. It's now time to perform the first edit. We'll do it in the Timeline.

Press F6 to open the Timing pane, and make sure you're looking at the Timeline tab.

The Timeline tab consists of two sections—the layers list to the left, and the Timeline itself. The layers list is a mirror of the Layers tab we've been working with up to now. The Timeline contains tracks for every object and layer in the project.

Notice that there are currently two seemingly identical tracks in the Time line—one for Layer and one for NewBeginning. The way the Timeline is laid out can be a little confusing at first. The track for a layer contains icons and labels for the topmost object in the layer. Right now we're seeing NewBeginning's icon and label because it's the only object currently in Layer. As we add more clips, you'll see other labels listed in the Layer track alongside NewBeginning.

When performing basic edits such as insert and overwrite, use the Layer track as the point of insertion—Motion will figure out which clips inside that layer need to be adjusted to correctly perform the edit.

We're now going to insert our next clip at timecode 2:07, or 2 seconds and 7 frames in.

Move the playhead to timecode 00:00:02:07 by typing 2.07 into the Current Frame field, located at the bottom left of the Canvas.

From the File Browser, drag Quirky.mov onto the Layer track in the Timeline window. Move it to the right until the tooltip that appears reads 00:00:02:07, but don't release the mouse.

As you continue to hold down the mouse, the following menu appears:

This menu allows you to choose from three possible options:

  • Composite—This option edits the new object on top of any other object in the current layer. If the new object contains transparent areas, the objects already in the Timeline will still be visible.

  • Insert—This option inserts your footage at the selected frame. Any footage already in the layer will be split at that point and pushed down the Timeline until after the footage you're inserting.

  • Overwrite—This option inserts the new object and replaces any footage already existing in the Timeline. Sections of existing footage overlapping with the new clip are deleted.

Choose Composite and release the mouse.

The new clip, Quirky, appears in the Timeline without affecting our first clip, NewBeginning.

We need to trim Quirky so that it starts right after the NewBeginning clip finishes.

Shift-drag the playhead at the top of the Timeline until it snaps to the end of the NewBeginning clip (frame 00:00:02:11).

If we set the In point of the Quirky clip here, we'll be covering up the last frame of NewBeginning. We need to move forward one frame.

Press the right arrow key to move to frame 00:00:02:12.

With the Quirky clip still selected (click it in the Timeline if you need to select it), press I.

This trims Quirky so that it starts at frame 2:12.

Move to frame 00:00:05:00 (type 5.00 into the Current Frame field).

This is the first frame after the Quirky clip finishes.

From the File Browser, drag LeftTurnZoom.mov into the Timeline and release it as soon as it snaps to the playhead (at frame 5:00).

In this case, we didn't pause to allow the Composite/Insert/Overwrite menu to appear. When you just drag and release a new object, Motion defaults to the Composite mode.

It's now time to add the final clip.

Move the playhead to 00:00:07:04.

From the File Browser, drag BflyRelease.mov onto the track labeled Layer in the Timeline (not one of the object tracks beneath it), without releasing the mouse. Snap it to the playhead and wait for the Composite/Insert/Overwrite menu.


You must insert the clip over the Layer track, not one of the tracks for the objects contained within the layer. Otherwise, the following Overwrite will not function correctly.

Choose Overwrite and release the mouse.

Notice in your Timeline that the LftTurnZoom clip has now been trimmed to end right at the edit point (7:04). That's because it was “overwritten” by BFlyRelease.

OK, so we didn't really want to do that. (But it was a great way to demonstrate Overwrite.) We actually want the BFlyRelease clip to fade in over the top of LftTurnZoom.

In the Timeline, position your pointer over the right edge of LftTurnZoom.

Your pointer will change into a right-bracket cursor.

Click and drag the right edge of the LftTurnZoom clip until it locks to its full length at 00:00:08:17.

Play back the Timeline to take a look.

There's a nice kick drum in the soundtrack at 00:00:07:23, so we'll start fading in BFlyRelease then.

Move the playhead to frame 00:00:07:23.

Click the BFlyRelease clip in the Timeline to select it.

Press I to set the In point of the clip to the current time.

We'll use a behavior to fade the clip in.

With BFlyRelease still selected, click the Add Behavior button at the top of the Canvas and choose Basic Motion > Fade In/Fade Out.

In the Dashboard (F7), drag the right edge of the left-hand fade triangle until the fade-in is 17 frames long.

We have 17 frames of overlap between the two clips, so we needed to make sure the fade is complete by the end of the overlap.

No need to worry about the fade-out just yet. We'll deal with that later.

Resume playback and take a look.

The main live-action elements have now been edited together.



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