Editing in Motion Part 2
Editing in the Timeline
By Mark Spencer | February 20, 2009
In Part 1, we looked at how Final Cut Pro users can perform some basic editing operations in Motion, including rough editing, trimming, and a sequential edit. All of these edits can be performed using just the mini-Timeline. But by opening up the full Timeline, you can perform additional edits, like insert, overwrite, and ripple edits. You can even slip clips in Motion. Let's see how.
Since we are comparing these editing operations in Motion to the same tasks in Final Cut Pro, let's start by looking at Motion's Timeline - because it's quite a different animal. Motion's Timeline (open it by clicking the Timing icon in the toolbar or pressing F6, then select the Timeline tab if it's not already forward) is designed primarily for compositing rather than editing. Therefore, every time you add a new object to your composition (for example, a video clip, graphic, text, generator, shape, or particle emitter), it forms its own layer. So a series of clips appear as a staircase.
This is in marked contrast to Final Cut Pro, where you can put as many clips as you want on the same track in a sequence. Because of this difference, Motion's Timeline can get very tall.
Every layer in Motion is contained in a group - sort of like a nest in Final Cut. In the Timeline, the track for the group seems to contain another copy of the layers that are in the group. This "doubling up" can be confusing at first, but its actually very useful because a group doesn't need to be open in order to select and edit layers that it contains.
With the group closed (accomplished by clicking the disclosure triangle to the left of the group name), you can still see all the contents of the group - and even see where layers overlap. So you can often keep your groups closed while you work, which allows you to see much more of your project in the Timeline. You can trim layers by dragging their edges at the group level; and you can edit additional clips directly into the group.
Insert and Overwrite Edits
If you are cutting stills to music or other cues that may not be evenly spaced, or if you are using video clips that need to be trimmed, a simple sequential edit isn't going to cut it - you'll need to edit each clip into the project one by one, and possibly trim them as you go. Motion lets you perform insert and overwrite edits by dragging and dropping clips to the Timeline, much as you might you use the Canvas Edit Overlay in Final Cut Pro.
One example where this process works nicely is timing straight cuts of graphics or clips to a music track.
First, import your audio and set markers at the appropriate frames by playing the project and tapping the M key - just like you would do in Final Cut Pro. If you do this without the audio being selected, you'll set project markers (as opposed to clip markers), which can be seen in the Timeline even when the audio layer is not visible.
Then, with the playhead back home, import your first clip. If it's video, the entire clip will be visible. If it's a still image, its duration is determined in Motion > Preferences.
Move the playhead to the next marker (drag with the Shift key pressed to snap to it, or press Command-right arrow). Now, if you were to simply import the next graphic or drag it to the Canvas, it would come in as a Composite edit, which means it will be placed on top of the first clip - and the first clip continues underneath.
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