Final Cut Pro X tip: Create compound clips with handles

Wednesday, 04 March 2015

Compound clips are useful for when your Final Cut Pro X project timeline is getting complex, or if you want to use the same sequence of clips in multiple places.

There's a catch though - they aren't created with handles.

In this case some frames have been trimmed off the start of 'Clip 2' and off the end of 'Clip 4'

cchandle-1makeCC

If I make a compound clip of the selected clips (Using the 'File:New:Compound Clip…' command or by control- or right-clicking then in the timeline)…

cchandle-2nohandles

…I can't use the select tool (or the trim tool) to drag the start of the compound clip to the left in order to see the frames I know are in Clip 2.

This is because the timeline of the compound clip looks like this:

cchandle-2anohandles

However, if I temporarily add a pair of long transitions to the first and last clip of the group… 

cchandle-3addtransitions

and then make a compound clip of the clips (don't select the temporary transitions when making the compound clip)…

cchandle-4makeCCagain

and then delete the transitions...

cchandle-4aasametimelineduraion

the compound clip has the same duration as before, but now has handles equal to half the duration of the transitions.

The timeline of the compound clip looks like this:

cchandle-4ahandles

cchandle-5CChashandles

That means I can now trim out the start of the compound clip. In this case I'm adding two seconds and three frames to the start of the compound clip.