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Tutorial: Advanced Editing Techniques in Apple FCP X

This tutorial explores advanced editing techniques in FCP X including back-timing your edits, replacing edits and auditioning, top-and-tail editing, extend edits, trim-to-selection edits, keyboard trimming, and the Precision Editor.

In the last tutorial, we covered the four basic edits in FCP X: the append edit, overwrite edit, insert edit, and connect edit. In this one we're going to be diving a little bit deeper and go over some more advanced editing techniques that we've been using extensively at Cord3Films since switching to FCP X.

We'll be covering how to back-time your edits, replace edits and auditioning, top-and-tail editing, extend edits, keyboard trimming, and the Precision Editor.

Let's get started.

Back-Timing with the Connect Edit

First up is back-timing your edit, which is basically when you need to edit a clip into the timeline based on its Out point rather than its In point. To begin, let’s slug a bunch of clips down to the timeline to populate it. 

There are two tools that allow you to back-time your edit: the connect edit (Q) and the overwrite edit (D). Now normally, when you do either of those edits, it's going to drop your selection down and start the first frame of your selection, wherever your timeline cursor is.

For example, if I make a small selection in a clip and I hit the Q key, it's going to drop the very first frame of this selection, and connect right where the timeline cursor is (Figure 1, below).

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 1. A typical Connect edit (Q)

Conversely, you see the reverse of that in back-timing, by holding down the Shift key when you press Q. When I do the exact same connect edit but hit Shift+Q, as you see in Figure 2 (below), FCP X back-times the edit. It drops that same selection down, but it ends it where the timeline cursor is.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 2. A back-timed Connect edit (Shift+Q)

There are several times in editing where you’re going to find you need to back-time your edits, and it's a lot easier to do it this way than to drop it down and move it--you can go ahead and just hit the Shift key, and it'll end up exactly where you need it.

Back-timing with the Overwrite Edit

Another way to illustrate this is with the overwrite edit. If I move my timeline cursor in between two clips and make a small selection, I can hit the letter D on my keyboard and create an overwrite edit, which is going to take this selection and drop it right on top of this clip, as shown in Figure 3 (below). The overwrite edit started from the edit point and moved it over.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 3. A typical Overwrite edit (D)

To back-time the same edit, I do the exact opposite of that: I hit Shift/D, instead of just D. Figure 4 (below) shows the same edit back-timed. FCP X inserted the clip, and it ended where the timeline cursor is.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 4. A back-timed Overwrite edit (Shift+D) 


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