Adding Transitions Between Clips

You can add transitions when you edit a clip into the Timeline, or you can add transitions between clips already in a sequence.

Adding Transitions with Clips You Add to the Timeline

You can choose the “Insert with Transition” or “Overwrite with Transition” options in the Canvas Edit overlay when you edit a clip into your sequence. This adds the default transition at the In point of the incoming clip and the Out point of the outgoing clip. The default video transition is a 1-second cross dissolve, but you can change this if you wish (see Changing the Default Transition).

For information on performing edits with transitions, see Performing an Insert with Transition Edit and Performing an Overwrite with Transition Edit.

Quickly Adding the Default Transition to Clips in Your Sequence

You can quickly add the default transition between two clips in your sequence. The default video transition is a 1-second cross dissolve and the default audio transition is a +3 dB cross fade. You can change the default transition if you wish (see Changing the Default Transition).

To add the default video transition
Do one of the following:
  • Select an edit point between two video clips or position the Canvas or Timeline playhead at the desired edit point, then press Command-T.

    Figure. Timeline window showing  a selected edit point between two clips.
  • Control-click an edit point between two video clips in the Timeline, then choose Add Transition from the shortcut menu.

    The name of the current default transition appears next to the command in the shortcut menu.

    Figure. Timeline window showing a shortcut menu and the Add Transition command.

If there are enough overlapping frames on both sides of the edit point, the selected transition is added to your edit, centered at the edit point.

Figure. Timeline window showing an added transition centered on the edit point.

To change the position of the transition, see Changing the Alignment of a Transition in the Timeline.

To add the default audio transition
Do one of the following:
  • Select an edit point between two audio clips or position the Canvas or Timeline playhead at the desired edit point, then press Option-Command-T.

  • Control-click an edit point between two audio clips in the Timeline, then choose Add Transition from the shortcut menu.

    The name of the current default transition appears next to the command in the shortcut menu.

Once a transition has been applied, you can change the type of cross fade it is (0 or +3 dB) by Control-clicking it again and choosing the appropriate transition from the shortcut menu.

Adding Transitions to Clips in Your Sequence

You can add any type of transition, whether or not it’s the default transition, using the Effects menu or the Effects tab in the Browser.

To add a transition from the Effects menu
  1. Do one of the following:

    • Click an edit point between two clips in your sequence to select it.

    • Position the Canvas or Timeline playhead at the desired edit point.

    • Position the Canvas or Timeline playhead on a transition that’s already been edited into your sequence.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose Effects > Video Transitions, choose the type of transition, then choose the desired transition from the submenu.

    • Choose Effects > Audio Transitions, then choose the desired transition from the submenu.

    If there are enough overlapping frames on both sides of the edit point, the selected transition is added to your edit, centered at the edit point. To reposition the transition, see Changing the Alignment of a Transition in the Timeline.

    Tip: All of the transitions that come with Final Cut Pro will be centered at the edit point if applied from the Effects menu. If you add a favorite transition that you’ve customized to appear either before or after the edit point, the transition is placed according to its settings, provided there’s enough overlap at the selected edit point.

To add a transition from the Effects tab in the Browser
  • Drag a transition from the Effects tab in the Browser to an edit point in the Timeline.

    Figure. Browser window showing the Effects tab displaying video transitions.

    If there are enough overlapping frames between the two clips, you can drag the transition to start on, center on, or end on an edit point. The transition snaps to one of these three areas as you drag it close to the edit point. To reposition the transition, see Changing the Alignment of a Transition in the Timeline.

You can limit the transition alignment to the start or end of the edit point by holding down the Command key while you drag a transition around an edit point.

Quickly Adding Multiple Transitions to a Sequence

Instead of applying the same transition to individual edit points one by one, you can have Final Cut Pro apply a transition multiple times to a selected range of clips. For example, you can select a range of three clips in the Timeline and apply the same transition to all the edit points in the range. You can also quickly reapply a different transition or a changed transition to the same selected range. When replacing transitions this way, the replaced transitions retain their previous length.

You can also set sequence In and Out points in the Timeline and have Final Cut Pro add a transition to every edit point between the sequence In and Out points.

You can apply multiple video transitions to your video tracks or multiple audio transitions to your audio tracks. To apply a transition to multiple video edit points, select the video track of the clips to which you want to add transitions. To add a transition to multiple audio edit points, select the audio track of the clips to which you want to add transitions.

To add a transition multiple times to a selected range of clips
  1. Drag or Shift-click to select the range of clips to which you want to add transitions.

    If you are adding a video transition, drag or Shift-click the video tracks of your selection. To add an audio transition, drag or Shift-click the audio tracks of your selection. You cannot add transitions to non-adjacent clips, you must select a continuous range. If you select a single clip, Final Cut Pro adds transitions to the beginning and end of the selected clip.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose the video transition or audio transition you want from the Effects menu.

    • Open the Effects tab of the Browser and drag the video transition or audio transition you want onto the selected range of clips. Drag to the middle of a clip in the range (not to the end of the clip). When the clips appear selected with a brown outline, release the mouse button to apply the transition.

Tip: An efficient way to add video transitions is to select the transition you most frequently use as a favorite. You can then select a range of clips in the Timeline and press Command-T to apply the transition. You can also quickly apply your favorite audio transition by pressing Command-Option-T

If any of the edit points within the selected range have insufficient media as handles to create the transition, a message appears telling you that a transition cannot be applied. You can choose to cancel the procedure or have Final Cut Pro apply the transition to all the edit points that do have sufficient media.

If you have trouble dragging the transition to the middle of a clip, try zooming in to make positioning the pointer on the middle of the clip easier.

You can also set sequence In and Out points to specify a range of clips to which you want to add transitions. When you set a sequence In and Out point, Final Cut Pro applies the transition to all the edit points between the In and Out points.

To add transitions to clips by setting sequence In and Out points
  1. Click in the Timeline to position the playhead where you want to set a sequence In point, then choose Mark > Mark In (or press I) to set a sequence In point.

  2. Click in the Timeline to position the playhead where you want to set a sequence Out point, then Choose Mark > Mark Out (or press O) to set a sequence In point.

  3. Choose the video transition or audio transition you want from the Effects menu.

You can also apply multiple transitions by setting a single sequence In or Out point. When you set an In point only, Final Cut Pro adds the transition to all edit points after the In point to the end of the sequence. When you set an Out point only, Final Cut Pro adds transitions to all edit points from the beginning of the sequence up to the Out point.

You can also change an existing transition and then apply the change to multiple other transitions in a selected range.

To change a transition and apply the changes to other transitions in a selected range
  1. Double-click the transition in the Timeline that you want to change.

  2. Make changes to the transition when it opens in the Viewer window.

  3. With a range of clips selected, drag the drag hand from the Viewer window down to the range of selected clips.

Example: Transitioning to or from Black

A fade to black is really just a cross dissolve from a clip to black. In Final Cut Pro, you can add black to the Timeline by adding a slug, which is a built-in Final Cut Pro video generator. It’s often better to have an actual black clip to trim or adjust as needed. However, you can create a cross dissolve from a clip to a gap for a similar effect.

Important: Fading to black by creating a cross dissolve from a clip to a gap works only if there are no other video tracks with clips beneath the gap.

To fade to or from black
  • Add a cross dissolve transition to one of the following:

    • The beginning of the first clip in your sequence

    • The end of the last clip in your sequence

    • The beginning or end of any clip with a gap on one or both sides