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NEWS & TUTORIALS

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Top and Tail Editing Now Available in Final Cut Pro X

Ashley Kennedy
By Ashley Kennedy
By Ashley Kennedy

Use Top and Tail Editing to Quickly Assemble B-Roll in Final Cut Pro X!

In the past, one feature that many Avid editors have missed when moving to Final Cut Pro is the lack of one-button Top and Tail editing.  Top and Tail editing allows you to instantaneously lop off either the beginning or end of a clip, which is a great way to quickly assemble B-roll, especially for news and documentary projects.  To achieve the same results in previous versions of FCP, you had either use the Ripple Tool, or you had to perform an Extract edit after marking IN and OUT points.

Performing Top and Tail Edits

The ideal setup for using Top and Tail is to have very loosely edited several shots in the Timeline, without paying too much attention to specific start and end points.  The shots should need to be cut down by either extracting the beginnings (Tops), ends (Tails), or both.

To perform an Top Edit in FCP X:

  1. Make sure the Selection Tool is enabled.
  2. Park the playhead where you want the clip to begin.
  3. Press Option + [.  Everything to the left of the playhead within the selected clip is immediately extracted, and all clips ripple to fill the gap.

To perform a Tail Edit in FCP X:

  1. Make sure the Selection Tool is enabled.
  2. Park the playhead where you want the clip to end.
  3. Press Option + ].  Everything to the right of the playhead within the selected clip is immediately extracted, and all clips ripple to fill the gap.

To perform Gap Clip Top and Tail editing:

If, instead of performing an immediate extraction, you want to replace the marked area with a gap, do the following:

  1. Make sure the Position Tool is enabled.
  2. Park the playhead where you want the clip to begin or end.
  3. Press Option + [ or Option + ] to remove the Top or Tail, as above.  The Top or Tail of the clip is removed, and is replaced by a gap clip.  All other clips in the sequence are unaffected.

Top and Tail Editing On-the-Fly

The great thing about Top and Tail editing is that the clip does not actually need to be selected to perform the edit.  Therefore, you can just play through the sequence—at regular speed or in super fast motion using J-K-L—and you can perform Top and Tail edits on-the-fly.  This, truly, is an excellent way to cut down a lot of material very quickly as you zip through your sequence.

One Button Top and Tail Editing

If you find yourself using Top and Tail a lot, you may want to use them as true one-button commands.  Fortunately, as with all FCP X commands, you can re-map them to another key on your keyboard.

To remap the Top and Tail commands:

  1. Open the Keyboard by choosing the Final Cut Pro menu > Commands > Customize.  The default FCP keyboard opens.
  2. Duplicate the keyboard from the drop-down menu in the upper left corner.
  3. Rename your keyboard.
  4. In the Search box in the upper right corner, type “trim start.”  (This is equivalent to Top).
  5. From the Commands list, drag the Trim Start command to the button of your choice.
  6. Perform a seach for “trim end,” (equivalent to Tail) and when it is populated in the Commands list, drag the Trim End command to the button of your choice.