About In and Out Points

In and Out points allow you to define a specific portion of a clip or sequence for editing, deletion, copying, pasting, and so on. A clip In point marks the first frame of a clip to be edited into a sequence. A clip Out point specifies the last frame of the clip to be used. The areas beyond the In and Out point boundaries are called handles. Handles are additional media that you are not using for the edit, but which may be necessary when extra media is required, such as when you add a transition to the head or tail of a clip in your sequence. You set In and Out points for clips in the Viewer.

You can also set sequence In and Out points in the Canvas or Timeline. You can use these as placement points to determine where clips are placed in the Timeline when you’re doing three-point editing.

Note: If you set an In point later than an Out point, the Out point is automatically removed. If you set an Out point earlier than an In point, the In point is automatically removed.

Learning About the Out Point Inclusive Rule

Before you begin to set In and Out points, it’s important to understand the “Out point inclusive” rule that Final Cut Pro follows, so you can avoid an unexpected extra frame at your Out point.

Out point inclusive means that when you set an Out point at the position of the playhead, the frame that the playhead is on is included in your edit. This rule means that whenever you set In and Out points, the minimum duration set is always one frame long. For example, if you place the playhead on a specific frame, and then set both an In point and an Out point, the In point is placed at the beginning of the frame and the Out point is placed at the end, resulting in a one-frame duration. If this rule did not exist, it would be possible to create edits with zero duration, which would be useless.

To see exactly how the Out point inclusive rule works
  1. Double-click a sequence in the Browser to open it in the Timeline.

  2. Choose Mark > Mark In (or press I) to set an In point in the sequence.

  3. Move the playhead several seconds later in the Timeline.

  4. Press Command-Equal Sign (=) to zoom in closely to the location of the playhead.

    You can see that the ruler is highlighted directly after the playhead. The duration of this highlighted area is one frame.

  5. Choose Mark > Mark Out (or press O) to set an Out point in the sequence.

The Out point is placed at the end of the duration of the frame. This is because the Out point includes the duration of the frame on which the playhead is currently positioned.

Figure. Segment of Timeline showing that the Out point includes the duration of the frame.

Things to Keep in Mind When Setting an Out Point

When you want to mark the duration of a clip in a sequence, you need to remember to set the Out point one frame earlier than you might expect, or you may also include the first frame of the next clip. This often happens when you have snapping turned on and you snap to clip start and end points to set In and Out points.

Figure. Timeline window showing that the Out point includes the first frame of the adjacent clip.

For example, if a clip in the Timeline is a shot of a playground and the next clip is a shot of a classroom, when you move the playhead to snap to the end of the playground clip, you see the first frame of the classroom clip in the Canvas. If you then set an Out point and copy and paste the playground clip, you see one classroom frame at the end of the pasted content. You probably didn’t intend to include the first frame of the classroom shot, but it was included because of the Out point inclusive rule.

To avoid accidentally selecting the first frame of the next clip
Do one of the following:
  • Use the Mark > Mark Clip feature (described in Setting In and Out Points to Match a Clip or Gap) to place In and Out points directly on the first and last frames of the clip.

  • Press the Back Arrow key once before setting the Out point, so that you set it on the last frame of the clip you want to select. When you do this, the last frame of that clip is included with the Out point.

    Figure. Timeline window showing that the Out point ends at the last frame of the clip.
  • Make the Canvas active, then choose View > Show Overlays. Make sure you set an Out point when you see the overlay that indicates the end of the clip, not the start of the next clip.

    Figure. Canvas window showing the Sequence Out point overlay and the Clip Out point overlay.