Learning About Markers

Markers are visible points on clips and sequences that can be used for commenting, synchronizing, editing, adding DVD chapter and compression markers, and even making subclips. By default, markers exist only on the frame where they were created, but you can also create markers that have a duration.

What Can You Do with Markers?

Markers let you perform a wide variety of tasks:

  • Mark several possible In or Out points for future use.

  • Quickly move the playhead to a marker in a clip or sequence.

  • Mark a range in a clip that you may want to use as a subclip.

  • Align a clip marker to a marker in an edited sequence to match a visual or audio cue.

  • Align a filter or motion keyframe to a marker for future reference.

  • Align other clip markers, clip boundaries, or transition boundaries to a marker in the Timeline.

  • Divide clips into subclips using the Make Subclip command.

  • Add visual notes about clips that will help you identify sections while editing.

  • Use up to eight different colors of markers for a color-coded commenting system.

  • Export marker data as tab-delimited text.

  • Ripple sequence markers in the event of insert, ripple delete, or ripple trim edits.

You can also include markers in QuickTime movies you export. You can:

  • Export chapter markers for use with QuickTime and DVD-authoring applications.

  • Export compression markers for use with video compression applications.

  • Export scoring markers for use with supported music and audio applications.

Differences Between Clip and Sequence Markers

You can add markers to both clips and sequences. There are differences between clip markers and sequence markers that could affect your work.

  • Clip markers appear on individual clips in the Viewer and Timeline. You can add these markers in the Viewer or in the Timeline.

  • Sequence markers appear both in the Timeline ruler and in the Canvas scrubber bar. You can add these markers in the Canvas or in the Timeline.

    Figure. Timeline window showing clip markers on clips and sequence markers in the in the Timeline ruler.

Make sure you understand how you want to use markers in your project before you add them. The following list points out some example uses of markers.

  • Add markers to a clip when you want to remember and mark important moments in a shot.

  • Use markers to separate a long piece of footage into several subclips by adding markers and then making them into subclips. (See Turning Markers into Subclips).

  • You can add markers to sequences for a variety of reasons. You can mark specific points, such as audio cues, in your sequence for reference while editing. This includes musical beats to sync clips to. For example, if you are editing a music video, you can add a music clip to the Timeline, click Play, and then press the M key to the beat of the music, adding markers for each beat. Once the markers are in place, you can go back and snap clips to the markers you created. You can nudge your clips a few frames forward or backward if your markers are not perfectly on the beat.

  • Use markers to snap the playhead or clips to a specific point when performing an edit.

  • Use markers in a sequence to create points to navigate between.

  • Use markers to add review comments and notes to a sequence, so that another person on the moviemaking team can then read these comments in the sequence at the appropriate place.

  • Use markers in sequences so you can add MPEG compression markers and DVD chapter markers.

Types of Markers

There are several kinds of markers that you can add in Final Cut Pro.

  • Note marker: This is the default marker that is created when you add a marker to a clip or sequence.
  • Chapter marker: These markers are automatically translated into DVD chapter markers in applications such as DVD Studio Pro. A chapter marker is distinguished by the text <CHAPTER> appearing in the Comment field of its Edit Marker window.
  • Compression marker: Also known as manual compression markers, these are markers you can add to a sequence or clip to indicate when Compressor or DVD Studio Pro should generate an MPEG I-frame during compression. To improve MPEG compression, you should add compression markers when there is an abrupt visual change from one frame to the next within a clip. A compression marker is distinguished by the text <COMPRESSION> appearing in the Comment field of its Edit Marker window in Final Cut Pro.
  • Scoring marker: These markers are used for marking important visual cues to sync music to. They are visible when you open an exported QuickTime movie in Soundtrack Pro. A scoring marker is distinguished by the text <SCORING> appearing in the Comment field of its Edit Marker window.
  • Audio peak marker: Any audio samples over 0 dBFS are marked when you choose Mark > Audio Peaks > Mark. These markers show where in your clip the audio is digitally clipping, indicating you should reduce the level at that point. You can clear audio peak markers by choosing Mark > Audio Peaks > Clear. For more information, see Diagnostic Tools for Clips.
  • Long frame marker: During capture, some frames may be captured with a longer duration than is acceptable. This can lead to playback and output problems. To mark long frames, you can choose Tools > Long Frames > Mark. If your clip has long frames, you can try recapturing the clip or avoid using that part of the media file. For more information, see Diagnostic Tools for Clips.

Marker Colors and Labels

Markers can have up to eight different possible colors and associated text labels.

Marker Colors

Markers are available in eight different colors, with red as the default. Marker color can be modified in the Edit Marker dialog. You can also create markers with specific colors by pressing the Shift key and any of the number keys 1–8.

  • Shift-1: Red
  • Shift-2: Orange
  • Shift-3: Yellow
  • Shift-4: Green
  • Shift-5: Turquoise
  • Shift-6: Blue
  • Shift-7: Purple
  • Shift-8: Pink

You can also specify or change the color of a marker with the Edit Marker dialog. For more information, see Modifying Markers and Adding Markers in Clips and Sequences.

Default Colors for Marker Types

Some standard types of markers have default colors:

  • Note markers: Red
  • Chapter markers: Purple
  • Compression markers: Blue
  • Scoring markers: Orange
  • Audio peak markers: Orange
  • Long frame markers: Purple

You can always manually modify the marker color in the Edit Marker dialog. For more information about marker types, see Types of Markers.

Note: Sequence and clip markers created in Final Cut Pro 6.x or earlier appear green and pink, respectively.

Marker Color Labels

Each marker color has a text label that you can customize for a given project. For example, you might want to rename the green label “Director’s Notes” so that the director uses green markers when she enters her notes. Or you could rename the yellow label “Editor’s Notes” and the editor would file his comments with yellow markers.

This labeling system can be useful in different ways:

  • If your project becomes over-cluttered with markers, you can hide markers of a particular color/label category. For more information about adjusting marker visibility in the Project Properties dialog, see Viewing and Changing the Properties of a Project.

  • You can use these labels when you export a marker list as text using the Export Markers List as Text feature. For example, you might open the exported comments/notes in a spreadsheet program and sort the comments and notes according to the information in the labels (by Director’s Notes or by Editor’s Notes). For more information, see Exporting Marker Lists as Text.

To hide or show markers or to customize marker color labels
  1. Choose Edit > Project Properties.

    The Project Properties dialog appears.

    Figure. Project Properties dialog.
  2. In the Marker Visibility section, do any of the following:

    • Use the checkboxes to turn on or off the visibility of markers of a particular color/category.

    • Use the text fields to confirm or modify the text label for a particular marker color/category.

  3. Click OK.

Markers appear or are hidden based on your settings. Any marker color label information that you entered is exported with other marker data when you export a marker list as text using the Export Markers List as Text command.

Marker color labels are also visible as tooltips in the Edit Marker dialog.

Note: Marker color labels are project-specific. Unless you set up a Final Cut Pro project to use as a template, you will have to reenter any custom label settings for each new project. In User Preferences, you can set Final Cut Pro to automatically remind you to enter project settings for each new project. See Viewing and Changing the Properties of a Project for more information.