Three-point edit examples

In Final Cut Pro, you can make precise edits using a combination of three (or sometimes two) edit points set in the Browser and the Timeline. For more information, see Three-point editing overview.

Here are a few examples of ways to make three-point edits.

Example: Make a three-point edit

The simplest way to perform a three-point edit is to specify start and end points for the source selection in the Browser, and then specify the destination start point in your project by positioning the skimmer (or the playhead) in the Timeline.

  1. Set start and end points for the source selection in the Browser.

    Start and end points set in clip in Browser
  2. In the Timeline, position the skimmer (or the playhead, if the skimmer is not present) at the location in your project where you want the clip to start (the destination start point).

    Skimmer positioned on clip in Timeline
  3. To add the source selection to the project using an overwrite edit, press D.

    New clip shown added to Timeline, with start point at skimmer location

    The portion of your source selection between the start and end points appears in the Timeline, starting at the skimmer position.

By defining only three points—the source selection start and end points in the Browser and the destination start point in the Timeline—you have total control of the edit.

Example: Make a backtimed three-point edit

You can make a three-point edit by defining source selection start and end points in the Browser and a destination end point (instead of a destination start point) in the Timeline. This is called backtiming a clip. You can use this method when you want to make sure a particular clip ends at a specific point in a project, on a musical beat. In the resulting edit, the end point of the media in the Browser selection is aligned with the end point you set in the Timeline, and the rest of the source selection appears to the left.

  1. Set start and end points for the source selection in the Browser.

    Start and end points set in clip in Browser
  2. In the Timeline, position the skimmer (or the playhead, if the skimmer is not present) at the location in your project where you want the clip to end.

    Skimmer positioned on clip in Timeline
  3. Do any of the following:

    • To backtime the selection using a connect edit: Press Shift-Q.

    • To backtime the selection using an overwrite edit: Press Shift-D.

    Your source selection is edited into the project so that the end point of the media in your source selection lines up with the end point you specified in the Timeline.

    New clip shown added to Timeline, with end point at skimmer location

The rest of your clip has overwritten any material to the left of the end point for the duration defined by the source selection start and end points set in the Browser.

Example: Make a three-point edit with multiple clips

You can make three-point edits with multiple clips at a time.

  1. In the Browser, select two or more clips. (Don’t select a range within a single clip.)

    For information about selecting multiple clips, see Select one or more clips.

    Three clips shown selected in Browser
  2. In the Timeline, define a destination start point by positioning the skimmer at the location in your project where you want the clip or group of clips to start.

    Skimmer positioned on clip in Timeline
  3. To add the selected clips to the project using an overwrite edit, press D.

    Three clips from Browser shown added to Timeline starting at skimmer position

    The entire group of clips selected in the Browser has been edited into the project.

    Note: The clips are added in the order in which you selected them.

Because you used an overwrite edit, any clip items already in the project are overwritten by the clips selected in the Browser for the duration of the Browser clips.

You can also make a three-point edit involving multiple clips in the Timeline. To select a range across multiple clips in the Timeline, you use the Range Selection tool or the I and O keys. For more information about range selections, see Select a range.

Example: Make a two-point edit

You can make an edit without any selections in either the Browser or the Timeline. This is known as a two-point edit. In this case, Final Cut Pro acts on the current clip in the Browser from the position of the skimmer or playhead to the end of the clip, and on the project in the Timeline from the position of the skimmer or playhead forward.

You can also make backtimed two-point edits, in which Final Cut Pro acts on the current clip in the Browser and the project in the Timeline from the skimmer or playhead position back.

In either case, the duration of the edit is determined by the skimmer or playhead position and the end of the clip in the Browser.

  1. To specify a source selection start point in the Browser, move the skimmer or playhead to the location where you want the edit to start (but don’t make any selections).

    Playhead positioned on clip in Browser
  2. To specify a destination start point in the Timeline, move the skimmer or playhead to the location where you want the edit to start (but don’t make any selections).

    Skimmer positioned on clip in Timeline
  3. To add the clip to the project using an overwrite edit, press D.

    The new clip starts where the skimmer was positioned.

    Browser clip shown added to Timeline starting at skimmer position