Conforming Clips to Match Sequence Settings

When you edit or paste a clip into a sequence, Final Cut Pro compares the clip’s dimensions, pixel aspect ratio, and field dominance to those settings in the sequence. If these settings do not match, the following automatic adjustments are made to the edited clip:

When Are Clips Automatically Conformed to a Sequence?

Most of the time, Final Cut Pro automatically conforms clips when you edit them into a sequence. This makes it simple to mix HD and SD video with different resolutions, aspect ratios, and field dominances. However, there are certain cases where Final Cut Pro does not conform your clip:

  • If the dimensions of the edited clip are smaller than those of the sequence, the value of the clip’s Scale parameter is increased only if the “Always scale clips to sequence size” option in the User Preferences window is selected.

  • When you edit or paste a clip that contains Scale or Aspect Ratio parameter keyframes into a sequence, Final Cut Pro does not change these parameter settings to fit the clip into the sequence. This allows you to preserve any Scale or Aspect Ratio parameter keyframes you added to your clip to create a motion effect.

To automatically conform edited or pasted clips whose image dimensions are smaller than the sequence dimensions
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > User Preferences, then click the Editing tab.

  2. Select “Always scale clips to sequence size,” then click OK.

  3. Edit one or more clips into your sequence.

    Each edited clip’s Scale and Aspect Ratio parameter settings are adjusted automatically so that the clip’s size matches the sequence dimensions.

Manually Conforming Clips to Match Sequence Settings

If a sequence clip does not have settings that match those of the sequence, you can manually conform the clip’s settings to match the sequence settings. The following settings can be conformed:

  • Scale parameter

  • Aspect Ratio parameter

  • Field dominance

To conform sequence clips to the settings of the sequence
  1. Select one or more sequence clips.

  2. Choose Modify > Conform to Sequence.

    The Scale and Aspect Ratio parameter settings of each selected clip are adjusted so the clips appear at their native aspect ratio within the sequence dimensions. Also, a Shift Fields filter may be applied, adjusted, or removed so that each clip’s field dominance matches the field dominance of the sequence.

Important: The Conform to Sequence command removes any Scale or Aspect Ratio parameter keyframes applied to the clip. If you don’t want to lose these animated parameter settings, you should avoid using the Conform to Sequence command.

Conform to Sequence Versus Scale to Sequence

The Conform to Sequence command fits a clip into a sequence in three ways: a clip’s Scale and Aspect Ratio parameter settings are adjusted and a Shift Fields filter is applied, modified, or deleted. This command ensures that a clip has the proper aspect ratio and field dominance.

The Scale to Sequence command merely adjusts the Scale parameter of a clip so that it fits within the sequence dimensions. No aspect ratio or field dominance correction is applied.

Choosing High-Quality Scaling Options

To ensure the highest quality, you should always choose the best scaling quality option in your sequence settings.

To choose the best scaling quality for a sequence
  1. Select a sequence in the Browser, or double-click a sequence to open it in the Timeline.

  2. Choose Sequence > Settings, then click the Video Processing tab.

  3. Choose Best from the Motion Filtering Quality pop-up menu.

  4. Click OK.

    Tip: To decrease rendering time during your edit session, you can choose a lower-quality motion filtering option; just remember to set the quality to Best before you output your final sequence.

Mixing 720 x 480 Footage and 720 x 486 Footage

When you add a DV NTSC clip (720 x 480) to a Rec. 601 SD sequence (720 x 486), the DV clip is not scaled. In most cases, the top and bottom three lines of the sequence will appear black—the default background color of the sequence—because the DV clip does not completely fill the 720 x 486 frame. This is considered the best approach because it preserves the pixel aspect ratio of the DV footage and doesn’t require scaling. However, you can also scale 720 x 480 footage to 720 x 486 footage. For more information, see Scaling Images and Video Clips to Match a Sequence.