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Movies and Video For people making movies and editing video with their Mac.

final cut express transitions


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sammich

 
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I've recently installed Final Cut Express 4 (HD) and am having trouble with the transitions. All film clips were downloaded off a Canon XH-A1 in HD format. The problem is when I try to insert transitions on the timeline I get a message saying "insufficient content for edit". I've specifically used longer clips (5-10 seconds) and only want a 1 second transition, so there is plenty of room for it. The next issue is that sometimes the transitions work, but most of the time they don't. There is no pattern. All downloads were from the same camera at the same time and in the same format. Any ideas?
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If you are using entire clips, there won't be enough room around the edit point to make a transition. It needs a few frames on either side to make the transition work, so try trimming the edit point on both sides by a few frames (or even a whole second depending on how long your transition is) and your transition should have enough room to start and end.
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OK, I'll try that. Seems counterproductive to have to add two steps to each one edit... weren't computers supposed to save time, not make you use more of it? I already tried spreading the clips slightly (to give more room) without luck, but if your suggestion works, I'll have to shoot longer in camera to allow for cutting the ends off of each clip.
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It's not so much a computer thing as an editing thing. Every filmmaker knows to leave at least a second or two before and after the action of a shot specifically to give the editor enough frames to work with. This has always been the case, even before computers. And a computer DOES make these things easier. Before you'd have to cut a piece of film with a blade then tape it together to the rest of the footage. If you were too many frames too short or long you'd have to carefully untape the clips then tape one frame back on at a time until you got it right!

A transition needs extra frames and if there are no extra frames to use because you didn't shoot any, then you can't do a transition, unless you know how to magically create extra frames out of thin air.

Not to worry though. All you need to do is put an Out point in the Viewer a few frames before the end of the outgoing clip and put an In point a few frames after the start of the incoming clip. Or you can keep both clips in the Timeline and just use the Ripple tool to trip both sides of the edit point. Be sure to double click the transition to open it into the Viewer, where you can make it exactly the length you need to accommodate the frames you want to use.

Think of it this way...

If you want to create a transition between frame Z of clip 1 and frame A of clip 2, you need to shorten clip 1 to about frame V or W and shorten clip 2 to about frame D or E. You'll still get the transition on the desired frames.

Remember, computers are simply tools. You still have to have a general knowledge of filmmaking and be sure to get all the footage you need. No experienced film maker starts rolling just as the action is starting or stops shooting just as the action is ending. Technology is no replacement for skill and talent.
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That's a bit of a condescending lecture, but OK. By the way, I graduated from Brooks Institute with a degree in cinematography (yep, back in the day of film). I've shot short documentaries and also shot for a news station, and at no time did we learn to leave slop in our films. In fact, I did my lap dissolves in-camera, and the less post editing the better. That meant clean start and stop points. In documentaries I often didn't even have the option to leave "a few frames" of extra at the front.
I guess my point of confusion was that sometimes the transitions worked, and sometimes not without any definable differences in the clips (all from the same camera, the same import time, the same length clips, etc.). If there was a pattern that I could deal with I'd be fine with it. I guess I was wondering if there was something wrong with my program or the way it is loaded in the computer (I uninstalled and reinstalled, but it's still the same). I got a Mac and FCP Express because it was supposed to be "better" than what I was using on Windows. Different? Yes. Better? Not that I can see. I'm new at this program, though, so would welcome any constructive help a knowledgeable, and helpful person could offer.
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I've never met a film maker who does their editing and transitions in-camera. In fact, it's always discouraged because it leaves little room for changes later. Including a few extra seconds around the action of your shots isn't sloppy, it's giving yourself enough to work with, and every good director makes sure to do this. It's one of the basics of directing and editing that anything you can do to avoid re-shoots later is always a good idea. I didn't mean to sound condescending, but I'm not sure what film school would neglect to teach such basic stuff so I assumed you were a novice. But I supposed when one specializes in one area of something, they're often unaware of aspects in other areas.

I find that many videographers and cinematographers who have little or no editing experience often don't take the editor's job into account though. One in particular whose footage I sometimes edit always seems to come up short with b-roll footage and sometimes doesn't leave enough frames before and after action to accommodate transitions or different kinds of pacing.

I don't think there's anything wrong with your software. Did you in fact use clips in their entirety from beginning to end? If so, there's your problem. If you've left extra frames around the edit point and you're still getting an error message, then it might be something else.
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Yeah, I guess I got my hackles up a bit without reason, no doubt exacerbated by editing program frustrations! And yes, I did actual in-camera dissolves back in the day (you had to buy an "optional" device to attach to the camera). I've been shooting film, and then video (starting in 1984), for 37 years and have never had this issue with ANY editing software. The reason I came over to Apple was because of Vista (TOTALLY unstable and worthless). Windows 7 is more stable, but a lot of worthless fluff and slow, so why not try the "other" guys. I've also edited with Final Cut Pro (the "big boy" version, not Express) back in 2006 and was quite pleased with it. Again, the ONLY time I've had the problem I mention above is with Final Cut Express 4, HD.

Anyhow, my clips aren't any different than they've ever been - plenty of room at each end to play with (even if I don't consciously put it there), and they seem to edit fine in other editing software. Just thought there might be a "trick" to this Express package. For now I'll go back to Avid in XP and take a look at Linux as the only other alternative (when my XP systems die!). It was worth a try.
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Seems a bit like throwing out the baby with the bathwater, but suit yourself. It's hard to say without seeing the clips and without knowing which transitions you're trying to use, but remember that the transitions can be aligned to be centered on the edit, to start on the edit or to end on the edit. You may not have enough frames for a crossfade that's positioned on the center of the edit point if you're starting from the very first or last frame of a clip, but you can always drag the transition so that it BEGINS on the first frame of a clip. That way it doesn't need any frames before it and the transition will begin on the first frame.

You can also open the transition in the viewer to make it a little shorter, which may also solve the problem.
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I'll try a few of your suggestions. As I mentioned before, the clips I used were specifically long (5-7 seconds, some even 10), so plenty of slop all over the place. Maybe they don't import from the Canon XH-A1 with in and out points that the program recognizes. Like I also said, some clips work, others do not. No pattern, so no way to come up with an "every time" solution. They all work in other editing programs, so it is a mystery. I'm just using the standard cross-dissolve (defaults at one or two seconds, I forget which). Nothing fancy.
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Ah yes, in and out points. Did you mark them in FCP's Log and Transfer (or Log and Capture) window? Or did you just drag or import all the files into the Browser? If you use in and out points in Log and Transfer/Capture, I would check off the boxes that add handles to each clip you log. This will add however many extra frames around each marked area that you feel you may need. The default is 3 seconds I think.

If some transitions work, I'd say it's definitely not the software. "Insufficient Content for Edit" almost always means there aren't enough frames to perform the function you are trying. Some clips may be marked with sufficient frames included, others may not be, hence the inconsistency. So in the case of transitions, I'd say that the easiest solution is to be sure to add handles around each and every clip you import via Log and Transfer/Capture.

If it's too late for that, just trim a few frames off the tail or end of the clip(s) depending on which one doesn't have enough handles (it may not be both).

You may also be accidentally adding a 1-second transition. (See link below)

Here are some explanations, solutions and discussions that address the very same problem you're having.

Apple - Support - Discussions - "Insufficient content for edit" HELP!! ...

Final Cut Pro dissolves operation not allowed - Avid, Final Cut Pro, and Streaming Training Courses
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