Editing in Motion Part 1
It's not like Final Cut Pro, but it's easier (and more powerful) than you think
By Mark Spencer | February 17, 2009
Introduction: Why Edit in Motion?
Many motion graphics projects are built around a video edit which is then enhanced with effects, titling, and graphical treatments. Think of a the structure of a typical car commercial: a series of wide and close-up beauty shots of a vehicle intercut with interior shots, a close up on the happy driver, and perhaps a closing wide shot of the car driving away. This series of cuts is then augmented with color treatments, speed changes, and graphical elements in combination with animated text layers.
You could build the foundational video edit in Final Cut Pro, and then send the sequence to Motion to apply effects, graphics and titling. But you have the option of building your whole project from scratch directly in Motion - it lets you perform a variety of editing operations that you might normally make in Final Cut Pro. Some of these edits work much as they do in Final Cut Pro, and some are quite a bit different - but once you learn them, you'll have another workflow option at your finger tips.
Let's be perfectly clearn: if you are going to need to do a lot of fine trimming - J-cuts and L-cuts, asymmetrical trims, dynamic trimming, or looping playback while trimming - then you are better served starting in Final Cut Pro. But for basic editing and trimming, even ripple editing and slipping, Motion is up to the task. Let's look at few examples where you might want to use Motion to do your video editing, see how Motion works differently from editing in Final Cut Pro, and cover some tips and tricks to working efficiently.
The Rough Edit
Motion's Timeline is hidden by default, and for good reason: you don't need it for many editing operations, thanks to the mini-Timeline located at the bottom of the Canvas. The blue triangles represent In and Out points for the play range (the range of the project that gets cached to RAM and played back when you press Play or the spacebar), and should not be confused with sequence In and Out points in Final Cut Pro, which determine where clips gets placed with certain edit operations.
When you add a clip to a Motion project, you don't first set in and out points on your clip like you would in Final Cut, nor do you set in and out points in the Timeline. Entire clips are automatically added to the current playhead location (a setting that can be changed to "Start of project" in Preferences), and if you need to trim the media, you do so after it's in the composition.
Although you can drag your clips from the File Browser to the Canvas and use the Dynamic Guides to center them, I prefer clicking the Import button at the top of the File Browser - it's faster and automatically centers the clips for you.
Here are the steps to quickly build your story foundation with clips that don't need trimming:
- Press command-1 to select the File Browser and select any clip to start. Then, use the arrow keys to browse through clips and preview them. Click Import to place your first clip in the Canvas at the start of the project.
- Motion does not automatically move the playhead to the end of the edited clip like Final Cut Pro. To do so, first click on the Canvas to make it the active window (or press Command-`), then press Shift-O to move the playhead to the Out point of the selected clip. Now you are parked on the last frame of the clip - and you want to be on the first frame of the clip you are about to add - so press the right arrow once to move the playhead one frame to the right.
- There is no step 3. Just repeat the first two steps for each subsequent clip.
The basic editing process takes a few more steps than you'd use in Final Cut Pro, but when you are just adding a few clips, it can be more efficient to work directly in Motion.
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