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Useful Final Cut Pro Shortcut: Creating Freeze Frames

Danny Greer

Create Fast Freeze Frames! A Handy Final Cut Pro Shortcut Every Editor Should Know

Although some individuals may not immediately see great value in memorizing shortcuts, for a professional editor (someone that spends most of there days buried inside Final Cut Pro or another NLE), knowing application shortcuts will drastically speed up your workflow over time. Faster workflows equal faster project turnaround. Faster turnaround equals the ability to work on more projects and make more money…something that everyone can certainly see the value in! Now, on to today’s shortcut….

Here’s one trick that every Final Cut Pro editor should commit to memory:

When you need to create a freeze frame in a flash, do it with a shortcut: SHIFT + N

Freeze Frame

The Shift + N freeze frame is one shortcut that I find myself using on a daily basis. Freeze frames are useful in extending a video clip slightly (which is often the case when someone prematurely stops recording) or to “pause” a video during playback to emphasize a point. But of course, these are only two examples of the countless ways freeze frames are utilized in video editing.

One thing I really like about this shortcut is it’s versatility. It can be used with either the FCP Canvas, Viewer or Timeline as the active window. Although it’s pretty simple to execute, let’s break down how to effectively use this step-by-step….

  1. Double click a clip in the Browser to open it in the Viewer OR park the playhead on a frame of video you’d like to freeze in the Timeline or Canvas (again, this shortcut can be used in all of these windows).
  2. Once the playhead is on the frame you’d like to freeze, engage the shortcut! Remember, hold down SHIFT and then hit N.
  3. The freeze frame will now appear in the Viewer. The duration of the freeze frame “clip” will be 2 minutes in the Canvas, however the In and Out points will be centered on the clip and set to a default duration (by default the In and Outs are set to 10 seconds, but this can be changed in the Editing tab of the FCP User Preferences).
  4. Freeze Frame FCP

  5. You can change the in and out duration of the freeze frame in the Viewer and then drag it down to the Timeline (or better yet, use a shortcut to drop it down onto the Timeline — something we’ll cover another time).
  6. Once on the Timeline, the freeze frame can also be lengthened or shortened to your liking.

Using freeze frames is a common editing technique… so when you do it, do it right! Save time and increase efficiency by using the Final Cut Pro freeze frame shortcut: SHIFT + N!

Stay tuned! More Final Cut Pro shortcuts and tips coming soon…