Learning About Subclips

For organizational purposes, you can break up a single large clip into several subclips. Subclips are defined by In and Out points or markers set in the original clip prior to the creation of subclips. New subclips automatically become their own master clips, with no affiliation to the clip from which they were created.

Figure. Browser window showing a clip and a subclip.

Subclips allow you to work more easily with lengthy media by breaking up a single clip into many smaller pieces. For example, you can open a 20-minute clip comprising 15 different shots in the Viewer and divide it into 15 subclips, one for each shot.

Final Cut Pro places new subclips in the same Browser bin as the original clip they came from, automatically appending the word “Subclip” to the name and numbering each successive subclip you create from a particular clip. For example, if the original clip is named “Debra enters cafe,” the first subclip is named “Debra enters cafe Subclip,” the second is “Debra enters cafe Subclip 2,” and so on. When a new subclip is first created, its name is highlighted and ready to be changed.

Figure. Browser window showing numbered subclips placed in the same bin as the master clip.

You can rename subclips, move them into different bins, and organize them in any way you choose. After you’ve created your subclips, you can open them in the Viewer and set new edit points, just as you can with any other clip. The original clip remains in the Browser, but is completely independent of your subclips. Any changes you make to a subclip are not applied to the original clip.

To create a subclip
  1. Open a clip in the Viewer.

  2. Set In and Out points.

  3. Choose Modify > Make Subclip (or press Command-U).

Figure. Browser window showing a new subclip below the parent clip.

Sometimes, you may be looking for a particular frame in a subclip, and realize that although those frames existed in the original clip, they were left out when you created the subclip.

If you’ve opened a subclip to a certain frame in the Viewer, but you’d rather find the same frame in the original media file (perhaps to pick an In or Out point outside the subclip limits), you can easily swap the two in the Viewer.

To open the original media file from which a subclip came
  1. Open the subclip in the Viewer.

  2. Find the frame you want to match.

  3. Choose View > Match Frame > Source File (or press Command-Option-F).

Final Cut Pro opens the subclip’s entire media file as an independent clip in the Viewer. The playhead is located on the same frame in the new clip as in the original subclip. To make the independent clip in the Viewer into a master clip for editing, drag the clip from the Viewer to the Browser.

After you’ve placed a subclip in the Timeline, you may want to identify the original parent clip that the subclip was taken from.

To reveal a subclip’s parent clip
  1. Select or position the playhead on the subclip in the Viewer or Timeline.

  2. Choose View > Reveal Subclip Parent Clip

Final Cut Pro selects the parent of the subclip in the Browser.

Note: If a subclip was created in an earlier version of Final Cut Pro, the Reveal Subclip Parent Clip command may not work.

When you create a freeze frame from a video clip, you can have Final Cut Pro display the original video that a freeze frame was taken from.

To open the original video clip from which a freeze frame came
  1. Select or position the playhead on the freeze frame clip in the Viewer or Timeline.

  2. Choose View > Match Frame > Source File (or press Command-Option-F).

Master-Affiliate Clip Relationships

When you create a new subclip, it has master clip status. When you edit the subclip into a sequence, an affiliate subclip is created. This behavior is identical to the behavior of all other clips with master-affiliate relationships.

When you create a new subclip, Final Cut Pro records the relationship between the subclip and the clip that it came from, called the subclip parent clip. You can select a subclip and reveal its subclip parent clip by choosing View > Reveal Subclip Parent Clip.

You don’t need to worry about master-affiliate relationships too much while you are editing. These issues only become important when you are managing your media files toward the end of a project, or when transferring your project and media files to another editing system. For more information, see Working with Master and Affiliate Clips.

Removing Subclip Limits

A subclip, just like a clip, refers to a media file on your scratch disk. The difference between a clip and a subclip is that a subclip imposes artificial limits (called subclip limits) to make the subclip appear shorter in Final Cut Pro than the actual media file. A subclip refers to only a portion of a media file, while a clip refers to the whole media file.

If you compare a clip and a subclip that both refer to the same media file, the only significant difference between them is that their Media Start and Media End properties are different. The subclip’s Media Start time may be later than the clip’s Media Start time, or its Media End time may be earlier than the clip’s Media End time. Often, both are true.

A subclip’s artificially imposed subclip limits can be removed at any time. The subclip becomes a normal clip that refers to the entire duration of the media file (from Media Start to Media End).

To extend the Media Start and End points of a subclip to those of the original media file
  1. Open the subclip in the Viewer.

  2. Choose Modify > Remove Subclip Limits.

The subclip becomes a normal clip, and now references the entire source media file. The subclip in the Browser no longer has a subclip icon, but instead a normal clip icon.

Important: When you remove a subclip’s limits, all affiliated subclips also become normal clips.