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Diana's Top 10 Final Cut Pro 7 Features #5: Speed Changes

Whether or not you have used the Final Cut Pro speed functions, you're sure to love the new speed changes By Diana Weynand

Whether or not you have used the Final Cut Pro speed functions, you're sure to love the new speed changes. Simple-yet elegant and powerful. You will be able to change speed in your clips easily and with a lot of flexibility.

Introduction to Speed
To start, there are some aspects of the speed functions that are the same. So let's start there. You still choose the Modify menu, or press Commnand-J, but the speed option is now called Change Speed. Choosing this opens a dialog where you can enter a rate and select a Reverse checkbox, as before.

What's New in the Change Speed Dialog?
The first thing you'll notice that's different in the Change Speed dialog is the Curve options. Rather than just jump-start a clip into high gear or a faster play speed, why not ramp it up so it starts a little slower and then reaches the faster speed, then slow down the speed toward the end of the clip? Choosing the second curve option on each line will give you that effect. These Bezier curve options are called Curve From Start and Curve to End and apply a variable speed to the clip. There is a variation on that which is to make the curve centered on the start or the end (third button), and then there is a customized option as well (fourth button).

Another great addition is the Ripple Sequence checkbox. In previous FCP versions, changing the speed of a clip would make it shorter or longer thereby changing your overall sequence length. That's fine if you're in the rough cutting stage. But if your sequence is already to time, that's not what you want. Now you have the choice to either ripple the sequence or not.

Using Clip Keyframes
Another aspect of the new speed feature is how easy it is to create a speed segment. To do this, you first toggle on the Clip Keyframes in the Timeline.

When toggled on, each Timeline track opens up to display speed tics and an area for keyframes. We'll focus just on the speed tics. The faster the clip play speed or rate, the closer together the speed tics. The slower the speed, the further apart. If a clip is playing in reverse, the speed tics will appear red, just as the rate in the Change Speed dialog was red.

Creating a Speed Segment
With clip keyframes toggled on, it's very easy to create a new speed segment inside a clip. Let's say you want to play a clip at 100% speed then half way through, slow it down to 50%. When you move your pointer into the speed tic area, the pointer automatically changes to the Pen tool. Click on the frame you want to make the speed change. This adds a keyframe where you clicked and automatically adds two additional keyframes-one at the beginning of the clip and one at the end.

To change the speed of one of those segments, Right-click (or Control-click) on that segment and choose Change Speed Segment from the shortcut menu. In the Change Speed dialog, enter the rate you want only that segment to play.


Creating a Freeze Frame in the Timeline
Because of the ability to create speed segments, creating a freeze frame has never been easier. Simply click in the speed tic area where you want the freeze to occur, then Right-click on the segment that follows. Set that rate to 0%. Voila!

Using the New Speed Tool
In the previous version of FCP, there was a Time Remap tool. In FCP 7, that tool is replaced by the new Speed tool which is found in the same location (under the Slip tool). The shortcut is also the same, SSS.

You use the Speed tool as you might the Roll toll, in that you drag an edit point between two clips. The difference is that as you drag, you are changing the speed on either side of the edit point. Dragging the edit point left with the Speed tool makes the first clip play faster and the second clip play slower. Dragging right creates the opposite effect. To change only the speed of just one clip, Shift-drag the edit point on the side of the clip you want to change. The edit point will roll, and only that clip's speed will change.

The new speed changes are a lot of fun. You should find an opportunity in your current project to apply them.

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Diana Weynand is co founder of Weynand Training International,

Diana Weynand is author of the Apple Pro Training Series book, Final Cut Pro 7. She is co-founder of Weynand Training International, a Gold Level Apple Authorized Training Center that offers hands-on classes on Apple Pro Applications around the country as well as customized on-site training. She is also one of the creators of iKeysToGo Your Personal Shortcut Assistant in the Palm of your Hand! - a series of iPhone and iPod Touch applications for Final Cut Pro 7, Photoshop CS4, iPhoto, Word, etc. These Apps are available on the iTunes App Store. For more information, check out her website, www.weynand.com, call her at 818.995.1719 or email at weynand@mac.com.

Related Keywords:Final Cut Pro 7 tips, FCP, NLE, video editing, FCP workflow,

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