Stuff, Guts, and Video 015

Written by: James Alguire

Categories: Mac Pro

One of the goals of good design is to properly position graphic elements in a harmonious way. This includes good video design, especially when compositing titles, images and other video clips together. Both Final Cut Pro and Motion make it easy to reposition, rotate, crop and distort video clips and images in their respective Canvases. In Final Cut Pro the Image and Wireframe mode must be selected from the View pop-up menu in the Canvas (see figure 1). This tip focuses on moving the clip around.

Selecting Image and Wireframe from the View Pop-up Menu.

Figure 1:
Selecting Image & Wireframe from the View pop-up Menu.

Moving clips is very simple, just click and hold on the clip and drag it anywhere it’s needed. But to more precisely position video clips or images a few pixels in any direction for better placement or alignment you need to nudge them. Dragging is good for general placement, but it’s much more difficult to drag to a specific pixel location. To nudge clips in Final Cut Pro select the clip (video, still image, title, etc.) in the Canvas and then press the Option key and any of the up, down, left or right arrow keys. The clip will then move approximately one pixel in that direction (I say approximately because in my installation of FCP 6 it moves .75 pixels and in a older installation of FCP 5.0.4 it moves 1.11 pixels). For a finer degree of nudging, pressing the Command-Option and Arrow keys will move the object in sub-pixel increments.

In Motion select the object in the Canvas (or the layer in the project panel) and then press the Command and Arrow keys to move 1 pixel and Command-Shift-Arrow keys to move 10 pixels.

In LiveType (remember LiveType?) you can nudge by using either the Command or Option keys plus the Arrow keys.

The next time a clip needs to be moved precisely, just remember these easy keyboard short cuts.

Next time on SGV we’ll highlight basic motion tracking in Motion to provide another way for titles and other graphic elements to keep pace with your video.

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