How do you select all “tracks” in Final Cut Pro X, and do you even need to?
This week on MacBreak Studio, Steve Martin from Ripple Training helps us understand how approaching Final Cut Pro X from the perspective of legacy editing applications can hinder our ability to get the most from the application.
The task at hand is to insert some time into the middle of an editing project. In a track-based paradigm, accomplishing this task would require selecting all the tracks from that point to the end of the project, and then moving them down to make room.
Steve initially applies this approach in Final Cut X by demonstrating a couple of ways to select all the clips from the playhead forward: first, by simply dragging a marquee around them after setting the entire edit to fit to the window, and second by using the powerful Timeline Index to select the clips, which allows him to do so without needing to have all the clips in view. In other words, he can be zoomed in tight on a specific section he is working on, and select all those clips without needing to zoom out. Once selected, he can move them as a block with the Position tool.
While this approach works, it's applying track-based thinking to a trackless editor and missing the benefits of the magnetic timeline. Instead of asking “how can I select all tracks forward?”, if you focus on the goal of “how can I insert time at the playhead”, then the answer is more straightforward. Inserting a Gap clip (Edit > Insert Generator > Gap or Option-W) will ripple all clips to the right down the timeline. And because there are no tracks, all clips connected to the primary storyline move together – without first needing to be selected. All clips move and nothing gets bumped out of sync. From there it's easy to adjust the duration of the gap clip by dragging an edit point or entering a value.
By thinking about the goal rather than how to get there the traditional way, this task is accomplished with a single keyboard command instead of multiple commands and mouse clicks. It's a useful mindset to adopt when learning how to edit with Final Cut Pro X.