Manage compound clips

There are many ways to manage and edit compound clips. For example, you can open up compound clips (and edit their component parts) in a separate Timeline. You can easily navigate up and down a series of compound clip levels. And you can open and edit a compound clip from within an event.

Note: When you edit the contents of a compound clip (for example, by trimming or adding effects to clips within the compound clip) you are in fact editing all instances of that compound clip, including the parent compound clip in the Browser. Any changes you make to the internal parts of the compound clip are inherited by all of its child clips, in all projects. These changes can include added or deleted clips, trimming adjustments, and video or audio effects such as color correction, clip speed retiming, and so on. For example, if you delete a title clip from a parent compound clip, the title clip is deleted from all child compound clips.

Open a compound clip for editing

Do one of the following:

  • Select a compound clip in the Timeline or the Browser, and choose Clip > Open in Timeline.

  • Double-click the video portion of a compound clip in the Timeline or the Browser.

  • Click the compound clip icon in the upper-left corner of a compound clip in the Timeline.

The compound clip opens in a new Timeline view, with its contents ready for editing.

Compound clip before and after being opened in Timeline for editing

Note: Because editing in Final Cut Pro is nondestructive, any changes you make to the contents of standard or compound clips do not affect the corresponding source media files, which remain unchanged on your computer’s hard disk. For more information about the difference between media files and clips, see Media files and clips.

Navigate compound clip levels using menu commands and keyboard shortcuts

You can navigate up or down one or more levels of a compound clip.

  • To move forward (down one level): Choose View > Timeline History Forward, or press Command–Right Bracket (]).

  • To move back (up one level): Choose View > Timeline History Back, or press Command–Left Bracket ([).

Navigate compound clip levels using the arrow buttons

Do one of the following:

  • Click the left and right arrows in the upper-left corner of the Timeline.

    Compound clip navigation arrows
  • Click and hold the right or left arrow in the upper-left corner of the Timeline, and choose a level from the pop-up menu.

    Compound clip navigation menu

The left arrow effectively closes the current compound clip and opens its parent, with the top level being the project or event containing the compound clip. If there is no history available to navigate, both the left and right arrows are dimmed.

Make sure all contents of a compound clip appear in your movie

When you’re editing the contents of a compound clip, Final Cut Pro indicates the boundary of the compound clip with a dark gray, cross-hatched area to the left of the start point of the clip and to the right of the end point of the clip.

If you add clips to the contents of the compound clip, any parts of any clips that extend into the dark gray area do not appear in your project.

Compound clip in Timeline with cross-hatched area indicating material that doesn’t appear in final movie

To have the new clip material appear in your project, do one of the following to make room for the new material:

  • Reduce the total duration of the other clips inside the compound clip. For example, you could trim one or more clips inside the compound clip.

  • Close the compound clip to navigate up one level, and extend the total duration of the parent clip (the “outside shell” of the compound clip) in the Timeline.

For more information, see Trimming overview.