Techniques for Breaking Large Clips into Subclips

There are a few ways you can create subclips in Final Cut Pro:

With some kinds of video footage (mainly DV), you can also create subclips from the start/stop data that is created by the camcorder and embedded in the video data. See Capturing Video from Tape.

Turning Markers into Subclips

Once a clip has markers, you can easily turn the markers into subclips. Subclips are defined from one marker to the next. If there is only one marker, the Out point of the subclip is determined by the clip Out point. If you double-click a marker in the Browser, it opens a subclip in the Viewer. For more information, see Using Markers.

To turn a clip’s markers into subclips
  1. Click a clip’s disclosure triangle in the Browser to reveal its markers.

  2. Select the markers in the clip by dragging across all of them at once, or by clicking the first marker and then Shift-clicking the last marker.

    Figure. Browser window showing items being selected by dragging.
  3. Do one of the following:

    • Choose Modify > Make Subclip.

    • Drag the markers outside of the clip and into the Browser.

      Tip: If you are having a hard time dragging the markers out of the clip, try dragging the markers to the Name column heading in the Browser. When you see the Name column highlight with a rectangle, release the mouse button.

Subclips, identified by special subclip icons, are created. If you chose Modify > Make Subclip, the markers remain in the clip after the subclips are created. If you dragged the markers out of the clip, the markers in the clip are removed.

Figure. Bin window showing that all the material between markers now appears as subclips.

Tip: Subclips are named based on the marker name. To create more meaningful subclip names, change the marker names in the Browser before creating subclips.

How Markers Determine Subclip Durations

When you drag markers out of a clip, a subclip is created for each marker. The duration of a subclip is determined from one marker to the next. For example, a clip with four markers produces four subclips. The last subclip created from a marker always contains the Media End point of the clip from which it was derived.

Figure. Canvas scrubber bar showing subclips marked by markers.

The duration of a subclip can also be defined by a marker with extended duration. For more information about creating markers with duration, see Extending a Marker’s Duration.

Figure. Timeline window showing subclips defined by marker boundaries.

Creating Subclips Manually

If you have long clips, you can also break them into subclips manually to help you manage your footage.

To manually break a clip into subclips
  1. Open the clip in the Viewer.

  2. Set In and Out points corresponding to the subclip you want to create.

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

A subclip appears in the Browser.

Editing with Subclips

You can edit with subclips in the same way as with any other clips. You can even add markers to subclips and create subclips from those. This is no different than creating subclips from clips.

Final Cut Pro also allows you to edit directly with markers, turning them into subclips when you release them in the Timeline. However, it’s usually best to not do this. A marker is never a master clip, so subclips created by dragging a marker into a sequence are independent clips. If you want to edit with subclips, you should convert markers into subclips first. This maintains a master-affiliate relationship between the affiliate subclips in a sequence and the master subclip in the Browser, which makes media management easier.

For more information, see Master-Affiliate Clip Relationships.