Clip Properties

A clip has many properties, or characteristics, some of which you can customize, and some of which are automatically inherited from the media file that a clip references. Some properties may be left blank while others are always defined. Some properties, such as comments, log notes, and labels, are stored only within the clip object that resides in your Final Cut Pro project file. Other properties, such as the frame dimensions and data rate, reside in the media file itself, since they describe characteristics inherent to the media.

Clips imported from Cinema Tools have additional film properties used for matching your clips back to original film negatives. These properties can only be modified in the Cinema Tools database that they refer to. For more information, see the documentation that came with Cinema Tools.

You can view and modify clip properties in the following locations:

Name of property
Description
Name
Name of the clip.
During logging, the name property is usually created automatically from a combination of the Description, Scene, Shot/Take, and Angle properties, which are entered in the Log and Capture window.
You can change a clip’s name in the Browser or Item Properties window at any time. However, changing the name of a clip doesn’t change the name of the clip’s media file on the hard disk, so be careful when doing this as it may complicate media management later on in your project.
Alpha
Shows how a clip’s alpha channel is handled—None/Ignore, Straight, Black, or White. Graphics or animation files created outside Final Cut Pro may have an alpha channel. Although Final Cut Pro usually discerns the correct alpha channel type when you import media files, you can change the type if necessary.
Anamorphic
A checkmark in this property indicates that the media file’s pixel data was intended to be displayed, anamorphically (stretched wide). You can set this property to force a clip with a 4:3 aspect ratio to be widescreen 16:9.
For clips, this property is originally based on the capture preset used; for sequences, it’s based on the sequence settings. You can change this property at any time.
When you reconnect a clip to a media file, the Anamorphic property in the media file overrides the clip property. However, if you manually change the clip property, reconnecting to a new media file no longer updates this property.
Angle
The camera angle number (or letter) of a clip from a multicamera shoot. When ordering clips during multiclip creation, Final Cut Pro uses the value in this property when available.
Aud Format
The bit depth of each audio sample (typically 16- or 24-bit integer).
Aud Rate
The audio sample rate of a sequence or a clip’s media file.
Audio
Indicates the number of mono and stereo audio clip items for a clip and its corresponding media file. To change this property, the clip must be offline and you must use the Clip Settings command in the Modify menu.
Aux TC 1-2
Aux 1 and Aux 2 are additional timecode tracks that can be created in a QuickTime media file for any clip in your project. These properties can be useful for synchronizing clips to related media files without altering the source timecode of your files. For example, when synchronizing video clips captured from Digital Betacam with audio clips captured from DAT, the source timecode of each clip reflects timecode that was captured from each tape. You can create an Aux timecode track for your audio clips to reflect the source timecode of the corresponding video clips. By using an Aux timecode track, you don’t affect the original source timecode, which is important if you ever need to recapture your clips from tape. Changes made to the Aux TC 1 and 2 tracks are written to the timecode tracks in the media file on disk. For offline clips, these properties can be modified in the Browser or Item Properties dialog. However, when clips are connected to media files, you can only add, delete, or modify Aux timecode using the Modify Timecode command.
Capture
Displays the capture state of a clip in the Batch Capture queue: Not Yet, OK (captured already), Queued, or Aborted.
Comment A-B
Comment information that is not shared across each master and affiliate clip (as opposed to Master Comments 1–4, which are stored in the master clip and shared with all affiliates).
Composite
Shows the composite mode of a clip, such as Normal, Add, or Travel Matte. This controls how the pixel values in a clip combine with the pixel values in clips in underlying video layers, or how the clip visually interacts with the clip on the track immediately below it. For more information on composite modes, see Compositing and Layering.
Compressor
Displays the codec used to compress a clip’s media file. For clips, this property is based on the content stored in the clip’s media file; for sequences, it’s based on the codec specified in the sequence’s compressor setting.
Different codecs have different ways of compressing video and audio clips to reduce storage requirements. When a clip is edited into a sequence, the clip’s media file must use the same codec as the sequence; otherwise Final Cut Pro must convert from the media file codec to the sequence codec, which usually is so processor-intensive that it requires rendering.
Creator
Shows the name of the application that created the clip’s media file.
Data Rate
Shows how much data a clip’s media file requires per second of playback. This value is displayed in megabytes per second. The data rate of a media file is determined by its video frame rate, dimensions, compressor, color sampling method, and audio sample rate and bit depth. Generally, the higher the data rate, the higher the quality of the media file. If the data rate of a clip’s media file exceeds the capabilities of your hard disk, Final Cut Pro warns you if frames are being dropped during playback.
Description
Displays descriptive text about a clip (from the Description field in the Logging tab of the Log and Capture window). This is typically entered when logging, but you can also add to it or change it in the Browser or Item Properties window.
Duration
Shows the duration between a clip’s In and Out points. Speed adjustments to a clip affect a clip’s duration.
Field Dominance
For interlaced video, controls whether field 1 or field 2 is played first. When you reconnect a clip to a media file, the Field Dominance property in the media file overrides the clip property. However, if you manually change the clip property, reconnecting to a new media file no longer updates this property.
Film Safe
Intended for telecined clips being used in a program that will be matched back to a film negative. When a clip is marked film safe, the Media Manager trims on four or five frame boundaries (according to the timecode) to ensure that full film frames are preserved during the negative cut.
Frame Size
Displays the video image dimensions in pixels. For clips, this property is based on the dimensions of the clip’s media file or capture preset selected during logging. For sequences, frame size is based on the sequence settings (or sequence preset chosen).
Gamma Level
Determines the gamma correction applied to still-image clips when they are placed in sequences. Video and audio files are not affected by this property.
Good
Identifies clips that are marked Good (indicating shots you want to use) in the Logging tab of the Log and Capture window. Clips are typically marked Good during logging, but you can also mark a clip in the Browser or Item Properties window.
In
Timecode of the In point of a clip. The In point specifies the beginning of a section of a clip or sequence used in editing.
Label
You can assign labels to clips, bins, and sequences to categorize them. Each label has an associated color, so clips, bins, and sequences with labels are colored by their assigned label color. Items in the Browser actually have two label properties: Label (described here) and Label 2. Only the Label property described here influences the color of an item.
Label 2
You can assign a second label to clips, bins, and sequences to further categorize them. The Label 2 property does not have an associated color, but it does have the advantage that it is completely customizable. You can type any text you want in the Label 2 field of a clip, bin, or sequence. If you Control-click on the Label 2 field, a summary of every unique Label 2 text in your project appears here, allowing you to conveniently and consistently assign text to a clip’s Label 2 property.
Last Modified
Indicates the date and time a clip’s media file was modified, or the last time a sequence was edited. In the case of clips, this information is read directly from the modification date property of the clip’s media file, so you can also see this information in the Finder by selecting the file and then choosing File > Get Info.
Length
Shows the total length of a clip, regardless of clip In and Out points. This is different from the duration of a clip, which is the number of frames between a clip’s In and Out points. In most instances, clip length is the same as its media file length, but there are some cases where this is not true. For example, a still-image clip refers to a media file with a single frame, but the clip length has a default duration of 2 minutes. Speed adjustments to a clip affect a clip’s length.
Log Note
This field is used for notes about your footage made during logging. This text can be entered from the Logging tab of the Log and Capture window, but you can also add to it or change it in the Browser or Item Properties window.
Master
This property is checked if a clip is a master clip. You cannot modify this property.
Master Comment 1-4
Comments can be added to clips, bins, or sequences at any time. The Master comments are stored in a master clip and shared among all its affiliates, so changing this property in any of the affiliated clips updates all of them simultaneously. The name of each Master comment can be customized to represent a particular property. For example, you can rename “Master Comments 1” to “Director’s Notes” or “Color Correction Status.” Custom Master Comment names are stored on a per project basis. You can change the Master comments text in the Browser columns or Item Properties window.
To customize Master Comment names, do one of the following:
  • Choose Edit > Project Properties.

  • Control-click a Master Comment heading in the Browser and choose Edit Heading from the shortcut menu.

Media Start
The timecode address that refers to the first frame of the media file, and thus the first frame captured from a source tape. This timecode value is different than the In point of the clip. Media properties are based on the media file, while In and Out points are adjustable points used for the purposes of editing clips into the Timeline. The Media Start and End properties can only be changed in Final Cut Pro if a clip is offline and the file path in the clip’s Source property is empty. If a clip’s Source property has a file path, you cannot modify the Media Start or End properties.
Media End
The timecode address that refers to the last frame of the media file, and thus the Out point set during capturing from tape in the Log and Capture window. This timecode value represents the very last frame of a clip’s media file, not the Out point of the clip.
Offline
A checkmark indicates a clip is offline, meaning no media file exists in the location of the clip’s Source file path, or the clip’s Source file path is empty. A clip is offline if its media file can’t be located, or if media has not yet been captured for the clip (thus the clip does not yet have a file path to point to a media file on disk).
Out
Timecode of the Out point for a clip. The Out point specifies the end of a section of a clip or sequence used in editing.
Pixel Aspect
Displays the pixel aspect ratio of a clip’s media file. Computer graphics formats use square pixels, while many SD and HD video formats use non-square pixel aspect ratios, such as:
  • Standard definition (SD) NTSC

  • Standard definition (SD) PAL

  • HDV and DVCPRO HD

When you reconnect a clip to a media file, the Pixel Aspect property in the media file overrides the clip property. However, if you manually change the clip property, reconnecting to a new media file no longer updates this property.
Reel
Identifies the reel (tape) name a media file was captured from. This is typically entered when logging in the Log and Capture window, but you can also change it in the Browser or Item Properties window. Because the reel property is stored in the media file, changing this property from within Final Cut Pro modifies this value in the media file.
Reverse Alpha
This property can be changed to Yes or No, but only has an effect if a clip’s media file actually contains an alpha channel. Selecting Yes displays a checkmark, indicating the alpha channel is inverted. This is evident when layering this clip on top of others in a sequence or when viewed independently in the Viewer. Final Cut Pro interprets black alpha channel values as transparent and white values as opaque. The Reverse Alpha property is not shared among affiliated clips, so each clip has its own individual Reverse Alpha property.
Scene
This property is used to identify the scene number of a clip. You can enter this when logging a tape in the Log and Capture window or in the Browser or Item Properties window.
Shot/Take
This property is used to identify the shot or take number of a clip. You can enter this when logging a tape in the Log and Capture window or in the Browser or Item Properties window.
Size
Shows the clip’s media file size on the hard disk in megabytes (MB).
Source
Shows the file path of the clip’s media file on disk. For example: Scratch Disk:Capture Scratch:Dining:Interview Clip.mov. This property is the critical connection between a clip and its media file. If a media file changes location or name, or if its modification date changes, the clip will no longer be able to locate it based on its Source property’s file path, causing the clip to become offline. A clip’s Source property may contain a file path (even if the file cannot be located) or it may be empty (as is the case with a newly logged clip or a clip made offline using the Make Offline command). For more information, see Reconnecting Clips and Offline Media.
SmoothCam
Shows the current status of SmoothCam motion analysis.
TC
Displays which timecode track in the media file is currently being used to display timecode for the clip in the Browser, Item Properties window, the timecode fields of the Viewer, and the timecode overlays in the Viewer and Canvas. For example, if a media file has three timecode tracks, the choices would be:
  • Source

  • Aux 1

  • Aux 2

“Source” merely indicates the primary timecode track of the media file, and is almost always the timecode from the original source tapes. Since most media files have only one timecode track, “Source” is often the other choice. However, if you have added an auxiliary timecode track to a media file (for example, with the Modify Timecode command), you can choose to view the timecode values stored in this track instead. You can adjust the TC value in the Browser, Item Properties window, or by Control-clicking in the Timecode Duration or Current Timecode field.
Thumbnail
Displays a small, representative frame from the clip’s media file. By default, the thumbnail is the first frame of the clip, but you can drag to “scrub” through the clip to choose a more appropriate representative frame, known as a poster frame. For more information, see Browser Basics.
Tracks
The total number of video and audio tracks in a clip or sequence.
Type
Type of clip: Clip, subclip, multiclip, still. Also: Sequence, bin, or effect.
Vid Rate
Shows the frame rate (timebase) in frames per second (fps). For clips, this property is the frame rate of the media file on disk. For sequences, the frame rate is set in the sequence’s editing timebase field. If a sequence contains clips, the sequence’s frame rate (editing timebase) cannot be changed (unless all clips are first removed).