Final Cut Pro: How To Scale Images and Video Clips to Match a Sequence

Final Cut Pro allows you to place images into a sequence. Whenever you place an image into a sequence, Final Cut Pro will automatically compare the image and make any necessary adjustments using two properties. The two properties are horizontal and vertical dimensions and pixel aspect ratio. However, if after Final Cut Pro has made adjustments, the frame size of your image still does not match up with the frame size of your sequence, you can easily correct this.

Step 1: Understanding and Viewing Image Properties

When you edit a image clip into a sequence, Final Cut Pro will use the horizontal and vertical dimensions and pixel aspect ratio properties to compare that image to your sequence. If the horizontal and vertical dimensions of your image are larger than your sequence, Final Cut Pro will automatically scale back your image. When the image is scaled, Final Cut Pro takes precautions to ensure that the image is not distorted. Final Cut Pro will not automatically scale an image if the dimensions of the image are smaller than the dimensions of the sequence.

Both your image clip and sequence have aspect ratios. If the aspect ratio of your image clip is different than the aspect ratio of your sequence, Final Cut Pro will change the aspect ratio of your image clip so that it matches the aspect ratio of your sequence. The aspect ratio parameters can be accessed by opening the clip's Motion tab and looking at the Distort field.

Step 2: Scaling an Image in a Sequence

If you would like to scale an image in a sequence, so that it exactly matches the dimensions of the sequence, select the image clip in the sequence. If you need to scale more than one image clip, select all of them. To select a clip without actually having to click on it, you can also open the Timeline and move the playhead directly over the clip you need to edit. Once you have your clip(s) selected, go to Modify and select Scale to Sequence.

Doing this will only ensure that both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the image clip match the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the sequence. Final Cut Pro will not stretch or squeeze the image. However, if the apect ratio of the image clip and sequence are different, the image may appear to be letterboxed or pillarboxed.

Step 3: Scaling an Imported Image Clip in a Sequence

Final Cut Pro will not scale an image that was imported into a sequence. The program will only scale images that were edited in. To scale an image that you imported into a sequence, you will first need to open the Timeline and edit the image into the sequence. Once you have done that, double-click on the image to launch the Viewer. With the Viewer open, click on the Motion tab. From the Motion tab, you will see a Scale field. You can input a percentage number into the Scale field, or use the corresponding slider to adjust the Scale.

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