Precision Editing Using Timecode

Most of the editing and trimming tools in the Timeline can be used numerically instead of manually. You can select one or more clip items or edit points and then enter a positive or negative number of frames, seconds, or even minutes or hours to adjust the position of the clip items or edit points. This allows you to make precise adjustments, or to quickly move clip items and edit points by specific values.

Determining What Kind of Edit Occurs When Entering Timecode Numbers

When you type a number in the Timeline, the current selections determine what kind of edit occurs. For example, if both sides of an edit point are selected, typing “+15” rolls both sides of the edit 15 frames forward (to the right). In this case, it doesn’t matter whether the Roll tool or Selection tool is currently selected in the Tool palette. If an entire clip is selected and the Slide tool is selected in the Tool palette, typing “+15” slides the selected clip forward by 15 frames. If the Slip tool was selected instead, typing “+15” would slip the selected clip by 15 frames.

Moving the Playhead in the Timeline Using Timecode

You can move the playhead in the Timeline using absolute timecode values (hours, minutes, seconds, and frames) or relative timecode amounts (in which case you only need to enter the relevant amount of information—just frames, or seconds and frames, for example).

You can move the playhead by entering a new timecode number in the Current Timecode field, or if no clips or edit points are currently selected, you can type a timecode number directly in the Timeline and the playhead moves to the new position.

To avoid typing zeroes when moving by larger amounts, you can type a period as a substitute for double zeroes (00). For example:

  • To move to timecode 00:00:03:00: Type “3.” (3 and a period). The period is automatically interpreted by Final Cut Pro as 00 in the frames field.
  • To move to 00:03:00:00: Type “3..” (3 and two periods). These periods insert 00 into both the seconds and frames fields.
  • To move to 03:00:00:00: Type “3...” (3 and three periods).

Instead of moving the playhead to an absolute timecode number, you can move it relative to its current position.

  • To move the playhead 15 frames forward from the current position: Type “+15”.
  • To move the playhead 1 minute and 20 frames backward from the current position: Type “–01.20” (the period automatically adds 00 to the seconds field).

Moving Clips Using Timecode

You can move one or more selected clips in the Timeline using timecode, even if they are nonadjacent. However, if the resulting clip movement will cause an overwrite, Final Cut Pro does not allow the clips to move. In this case, you can manually move the clips.

To move a clip in your sequence using timecode
  1. Select one or more clips in your sequence.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To move the clips forward: Press Shift–Plus Sign (+) and type a timecode duration for the move.
    • To move the clips backward: Press Hyphen (-) and type a timecode duration for the move.
      Figure. Timeline window showing two seleted clips and a timecode entry field that appears when you type.
  3. Press Return.

    Figure. Timeline window showing that clips have moved forward by the timecode duration entered.

Using Timecode to Trim Clips in the Viewer

If you’re trimming a clip in the Viewer, you can use timecode to navigate to a specific frame, rather than trying to find the frame you want using the transport controls or the J, K, and L keys. You then select the edit tool for the trimming operation you want to perform and set a new In or Out point. For more information on navigating in the Viewer using timecode, see Navigating and Using Timecode in the Viewer and Canvas.

To use timecode to set a clip’s In or Out point
  1. Open a clip in the Viewer.

  2. Move the playhead by doing one of the following:

    • Enter a timecode number for the frame where you want to place the new In or Out point of the clip, then press Return.

      For example, to move the In point from 02:40:30:10 to 02:40:30:27, enter “2403027” and then press Return.

    • Press Shift-I or Shift-O to move the playhead to the current In or Out point. Then enter a relative timecode value to move the playhead.

      For example, to establish a new Out point 2 seconds prior to the current Out point, press Shift-O, then enter “–2:00” and press Return.

  3. Select an edit tool in the Tool palette for the trimming operation you want to perform.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • Click the Mark In or Mark Out button.

    • Press I to set an In point, or press O to set an Out point.

The scrubber bar in the Viewer shows the new position of the In or Out point, and the Canvas/Timeline playhead moves to the adjusted edit point.