From iMovie to Final Cut: What Are In and Out Points?

If you plan on switching from iMovie to Final Cut Pro for your video editing needs, there will be a lot of things you will need to learn in order to use the new program effectively. While iMovie allowed you to simply cut out pieces of a video clip that you didn't want to use, Final Cut Pro is a nonlinear, or nondestructive, editing program that doesn't actually affect the media on your hard drive.

Therefore, creating 'In' and 'Out' points on your clips is done a little differently in Final Cut Pro then you're probably used to with iMovie. So, this simple guide will discuss how to create In and Out points and some of the differences in the way the task is performed in both programs.

What You Will Need

  • A computer with Final Cut Pro installed
  • A video file to edit

Step 1: Understand In and Out Points

In video editing, 'In' and 'Out' points are the places in a piece of video footage that you select for digitization or editing. For example, if you have a five minute piece of video that you recorded on your camcorder, and only want to use a one minute section that is in the middle of the clip, you'll need to create In and Out points in order to separate that piece of video from the remaining footage.

The 'In' point is the beginning point of the video clip that you want to use. On the other hand, the 'Out' point is the end of the clip that you want to separate from the remainder of the footage. In short, the 'In' is the beginning, and conversely, 'Out' is the end. While using iMovie, you probably created many In and Out points without even knowing what they were called. You simply dragged pieces of a video and added them to your timeline.

Step 2: Understand How iMovie Creates In and Out Points

In iMovie, you are required to copy the video file you'll be editing into your project library. Whenever you import a piece of video into iMovie, you are actually importing a copy of the file itself. Therefore, whenever you make changes or add it to the video, you directly manipulate the file.

With iMovie, you create In and Out points by simply using your mouse to highlight a section of a clip and then dragging it into your event browser. Once you save your video project, the sections that were not dragged into your timeline are simply discarded from the project.

Step 3: Understand Why Final Cut Pro Is Better for Creating In and Out Points

With Final Cut Pro, you create In and Out points by using the transition slider and shuttle control to move to the section in the video you want to extract. The shuttle control will allow you to move frame by frame, forwards or backwards, to the point where you want to begin your clip extraction. Once you have reached the starting point for the clip, simply hit the "I" key on your keyboard. Then, go to the end of the portion of video you want to use and hit the "O" key. Final Cut Pro will then move the clip into your project viewer; however, it does not make any changes to the clip or imported footage until you specifically tell the program to do so. Even if you save the project, no changes are made to the media on your hard drive.

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