Final Cut Pro: Understanding the Timeline Window

In Final Cut Pro, the Timeline displays an exact order of your video and audio clips. The Timeline works with the Canvas to provide different views of your sequences. The Timeline organizes each of your sequences into distinct video and audio clips. These tracks include edited clips from the Browser window. The Timeline allows you to navigate through an edited sequence and add, overwrite, rearrange and remove clip items.

To fully understand how the Timeline works, you need to know what the various controls do. In order to access these controls, you need to have the Timeline window open and active. To open the Timeline window, all you have to do is press Command + 3. If you have other windows open with the Timeline window, make sure you click on the Timeline window to make it the active window.

Timeline Editing Controls

The source and destination controls allow you to take source clips from the Viewer and connect clip items to the source clip in the Timeline window. You will primarily use the source and destination controls for three point editing. The Timeline will display the same amount of source and destination controls as there are clip items in your source clip.

The track visibility control will decide whether or not the contents of a track are displayed and rendered in your sequence. If the track visibility control disables a track, the Timeline will display that track in a shade darker than enabled tracks. However, the contents of the track will still remain in your sequence, and you will be able to edit them.

The lock track control allows you to prevent the content of a track from being altered or moved. Final Cut Pro also allows you to lock overlays using the lock track control as well. You can lock and unlock a track at any point.

Vertical Multitrack Controls

When you have the Timeline open, you will notice that the main portion of the window is divided into audio and video tracks. There is a divider that separates the two tracks and this divider can be moved, so you can allocate more space to one of the tracks. Just above the divider will be your primary video track. Any additional video tracks will be above the primary video track. Below the divider, the Timeline will display 2 audio tracks. Any additional audio tracks will be below the main 2 audio tracks. In the event that the Timeline is unable to display all of your tracks, you will be able to utilize the scroll bars and thumb tabs to navigate through your tracks.

Horizontal Time Controls 

The Timeline displays a ruler towards the top of the window that displays the total duration of your sequence. In the ruler, there is a playhead that displays the current frame location in a sequence. The playhead also allows you to navigate through your sequence. Towards the bottom of the window are your zoom controls. The zoom controls look like a little bar with lines running through it. They allow you to zoom in and out of the content of your sequences. 

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