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Chapter 4. Organization and Basic Editin... > Making Subclips and Their Properties

Making Subclips and Their Properties

You can make subclips from any sort of clip, including other subclips. The idea is to spend no more time than necessary to locate a specific shot or moment in what could possibly be an entire tape's clip. In other words, if you find it once, finding it again is a snap.

After you open Project 1, supplied on the DVD, you see that two of the three video clips currently in the Browser window have disclosure triangles next to their names. If you click one of them, it opens to show you the markers I've placed in them. Markers in this case are used to begin the sorting of all the footage that was shot for “The Midnight Sun.”

If you double-click one of these clip markers, the footage marked between the position of the marker and the next marker opens in the Viewer window. You can actually edit from this portion of the master clip (the original captured video clip that the marked footage is a part of). But you'd still have to sort through a lot of names and open and close the master clips to locate the footage. It's still not as efficient as it could be. The markers are still really a part of a master clip organizationally. Also, in most cases, not all of the clips for a specific scene are together. So to work on a given scene, you still have to sort through a lot of clips to find the appropriate one.

You can turn these markers into a subclip and drag and drop this subclip into bins you've created to further organize the footage. The clip named “3 hr timecode section” contains no markers, so it doesn't have a disclosure triangle next to its name. You'll create subclips and markers in this chapter's Workshop and finish the job.

To mark a subclip without using markers, set an In point where you want the subclip to begin, and set an Out point where you want it to end. Then select Modify, Make Subclip, or press Cmd+U. The subclip is created in the same bin that the master clip it was created from resides in. If you make a mistake with a subclip, simply highlight its icon in the Browser and press the Delete key to start over, or drag it to the bin it should be in. Again, you are making reference or pointer files; you aren't deleting any media.

A problem can arise later if you don't plan ahead as you make edits. The same problem arises if you make edits using marked clips. Final Cut Pro assumes that there is no media on either side of the start point or end point you used when you created a subclip. It's treated as its own capture (media file) from tape and not as part of the “real” media file it was taken from, which might indeed have frames before and after it. If you can't lengthen or create a transitional effect such as a dissolve between two shots because you used this subclip in your sequence, highlight it in the sequence and choose Modify, Remove Subclip Limits. This releases Final Cut Pro to use the frames before or after those contained in the subclip.


Limiting media file access might seem awkward, but it has a definite benefit. If you make subclips a bit on the “fat” side, meaning that you subclip all the possibly usable footage even if you think or know you won't use it, removing subclip limits then usually becomes a nonissue, because you wouldn't want to use media past what you've marked. The benefit is that this method of “fat” subclipping also lets you know later you can't use the media before or after the subclip because it would cause a camera's cut (the take before or after the current subclip) to show up in the middle of a transitional effect—something you want to avoid.

In other words, when you edit from a subclip to your sequence, you run the risk of not being able to apply a transitional effect (such as a dissolve between two shots) where you want to if you created a subclip with only the footage you think you want to use in your sequence. In most cases, don't use subclipping to set your actual edit points; go “fat” and subclip the entire bit of footage that relates to a particular shot or take. If you are subclipping from a slate, which is an ideal way to shoot in preparation for logging, start with the slate and end when the camera cuts or even at the beginning of the next slate, not before and not after. You'll never want to show a slate in a scene, so subclipping from slate to slate will never set up a situation where you need to remove subclip limits.

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