Creating and Working with Sequences

A sequence is a container for editing clips together in chronological order. A sequence contains one or more video and audio tracks, which are empty when first created.

Creating and Deleting Sequences

Before you can edit content together in Final Cut Pro, you need to create a sequence to edit it into. You can create as many new sequences as you want in a project. If you want to delete a sequence from your project, it’s easy to do.

To create a new sequence in the current project
  1. Do one of the following:

    • Choose File > New > Sequence (or press Command-N).

    • Control-click in the Viewer, then choose New Sequence from the shortcut menu.

    A new sequence appears with the name highlighted, so you can change its name right away.

    Figure. Browser window showing a sequence selected and ready to be renamed.
  2. Enter a name for the sequence, then press Enter or Return.

To have Final Cut Pro prompt you for a sequence preset each time you create a new sequence
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > User Preferences, then click the General tab.

  2. Select the “Prompt for settings on New Sequence” option.

For more information about sequence presets, see Sequence Settings and Presets.

To determine the default number of tracks for new sequences
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > User Preferences, then click the Timeline Options tab.

  2. Under “Default Number of Tracks,” enter the default number of video and audio tracks you want created.

To delete a sequence from the current project
  1. Select the sequence you want to delete in the Browser.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose Edit > Clear.

    • Press the Delete key.

Note: Deleting a sequence from your project does not affect the media files on disk.

Opening and Closing Sequences

You can only edit clips into a sequence when it is open in the Timeline or Canvas. When you open a sequence, the Timeline and the Canvas open together, if they’re not open already. If the Timeline and Canvas are already open, a newly opened sequence appears in its own tab in front of any other sequence tabs.

To open a sequence
Do one of the following:
  • Select the sequence, then choose View > Sequence in Editor.

  • Control-click the sequence, then choose Open Timeline from the shortcut menu.

  • Double-click a sequence in the Browser.

  • Select the sequence in the Browser, then press Return.

The sequence is displayed in the Timeline and Canvas windows.

You can also treat sequences like clips and open them in the Viewer. You can mark them with In and Out points and edit them into other sequences, or output them to tape. For information on editing sequences into other sequences, see Sequence-to-Sequence Editing.

To open a sequence in the Viewer
  1. Select the sequence in the Browser.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose View > Sequence.

    • Drag the sequence icon from the Browser to the Viewer.

To open a sequence in a new Viewer window
  1. Select the sequence in the Browser.

  2. Choose View > Sequence in New Window.

To close a sequence in the Timeline and Canvas
  • With the sequence tab active in the Timeline or the Canvas, choose File > Close Tab (or press Control-W).

  • Control-click a tab in the Timeline or Canvas, then choose Close Tab from the shortcut menu.

  • Press Control-W.

When you close the tab of a sequence in the Timeline, its tab in the Canvas automatically closes, and vice versa.

Note: If you close the Canvas by pressing Command-W, the Timeline also closes. However, if you close the Timeline by pressing Command-W, the Canvas stays open. This allows you to edit using only the Viewer and the Canvas, since some editors prefer to edit with the Timeline closed.

Duplicating a Sequence

If you want to test changes to your edited sequence that are more extensive than a few levels of Undo will permit, or if you want to create several versions of your program for a client to review, you can duplicate your current sequence and make changes to the duplicate. Changes you make to a duplicate of a sequence do not affect the original in any way. You can make as many duplicate sequences as you like, renaming them in the Browser for reference and reediting them as extensively as you want.

To duplicate a sequence
  1. Select the sequence in the Browser.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose Edit > Duplicate (or press Option-D).

    • Control-click the sequence, then choose Duplicate from the shortcut menu.

      Figure. Browser window showing a copied sequence selected and ready to be renamed.
  3. In the Browser, enter a new name for the duplicated sequence.

Sequences are independent of each other, so changes you make to the copied sequence do not affect the original sequence or its rendered files.

Note: When you duplicate a sequence, all clips in the new sequence are affiliated with the same master clips as the clips in the original version of the sequence.

Copying a Sequence into Another Project

If you have more than one project file open in the Browser, you can copy a sequence from one project and paste it into another project.

To copy a sequence from one project into another
  1. Select the sequence in the Browser.

  2. Choose Edit > Copy (or press Command-C).

  3. Open a new project and select its tab in the Browser.

  4. Choose Edit > Paste (or press Command-V).

You can also copy a sequence into another project window by dragging.

To copy a sequence from one project to another by dragging
  1. Open the second project.

    This project appears as another tab in the Browser.

  2. Tear away the second project tab in the Browser to make it its own window.

  3. Drag the sequence from the Browser in the first project window to the Browser in the second project.

    Figure. Browser and project windows showing a sequence being dragged into a different project.

The copied sequence appears in your first project.

To create master clips for a sequence pasted into a project
  1. Select the sequence in the Browser.

  2. Choose Tools > Create Master Clips.

A bin is created called “Master Clips for [sequence name],” named after the sequence. Master clips are created for any independent clips in the sequence, and the independent clips become affiliate clips of the new master clips. If master clips already exist for all clips in the sequence, no bin or master clips are created.

Nesting a Sequence

In Final Cut Pro, you can treat sequences as clips and edit them into other sequences. This is called nesting a sequence, because you put one sequence inside of another. Nesting sequences is a common practice when you work on small, independent sequences for a while and then you want to quickly attach them together in another, master sequence. Nesting sequences does create some processing overhead, and can make media management more complicated.

For more information, see Nesting Sequences.

Basic Sequence and Timeline Settings

Before you began logging and capturing, you most likely chose an Easy Setup that established your basic sequence settings and Timeline display options. An Easy Setup is a preset group of capture, device control, sequence, external playback, and output settings for a particular video or audio format and hardware configuration. Each Easy Setup represents a simple workflow that maintains that same video format throughout capturing, editing, and output. If one of the available Easy Setups describes your workflow, you should have no need to adjust your sequence and Timeline settings. For more information, see Audio/Video Settings and Easy Setups.

You can easily conform your sequence settings to the settings of the first clip you edit into your sequence. For more information, see Working with Mixed-Format Sequences.

Why Would You Change Your Sequence Settings?

Although the instances are rare, there are a few situations that may prompt you to change your sequence settings:

  • You’ve imported multiple video or audio formats, and you decide to change your sequence settings to accommodate the more dominant format in your sequence to reduce rendering.

  • You’ve changed your video interface or capturing setup, allowing you to work in the Y′CBCR (YUV) color space rather than the RGB color space.

  • You’ve added an audio output device that allows you to output multiple channels of audio directly from Final Cut Pro.

  • Your intended output format has changed.

Sequence settings such as frame size, video compressor, and audio sample rate can be modified at any time.

Note: The one setting that may not be changed is the sequence frame rate (referred to as the editing timebase). You can change a sequence’s frame rate (editing timebase) only if the sequence is empty. Once a sequence contains one or more clips, you can’t change its editing timebase. Removing all the clips from the sequence allows you to change the sequence’s editing timebase.

Changing sequence settings is discussed in Sequence Settings and Presets.

Viewing an Existing Sequence’s Settings

All sequences have settings as soon as they are created. When you first create a sequence, its settings are determined by the currently selected sequence preset in the Audio/Video Settings window, which is specified by your current Easy Setup.

To view sequence settings
  1. Do one of the following:

    • Select a sequence in the Browser.

    • Open a sequence in the Timeline.

  2. Choose Sequence > Settings.

For information about changing sequence settings, see Sequence Settings and Presets.