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Creating transitions on the fly in Apple’s Final Cut Pro.

Q: “Other than going to the Menu Bar time and time again, is there a faster way to add transitions to my FCP project?”

A: There are a few things you can do to speed up the process of adding transitions to your project.

First, set yourself up with a Default Transition. You’ll want to choose a transition that you find yourself using a lot of the time. For most of us, this is a cross-dissolve, but it may be different for you depending on your style and the style of your project. A fast way to set a Default Transition is to do the following:

  1. Click on the Effects tab in your Browser window.
  2. Click on the triangle next to Video Transitions, this will open up a number of folders that have various video transition types.
  3. Find the individual transition that you use most of time in one of these folders.
  4. While holding down the Control button on your keyboard, click once on the individual transition file; this will open up a contextual menu. One of the options in this menu is “Set Default Transition” – click on this option.
  5. You have just set this transition as your Default Transition.

Now that you’ve set your system up with a Default Transition, use it on the fly by following these simple steps:

  1. While holding down the Control button on your keyboard, click once on a cut point in your Timeline.
  2. This will open up a Contextual Menu. One of the options is, “Add Transition ________”.
  3. Click once on this option and your Default Transition will appear!

Where possible, you might also consider adding transitions to your project when you’re relatively close to finished. There are times when adding a transition will help your edits based on timing and overall “feel,” but if you’re able to add most of your transitions at one time (toward the end of your project), then you’ll be able to focus on that one task and find yourself more efficient at it.

That said, another speedy way is to drop clips into the timeline with additions already applied. You can do this by dragging clips from a bin (or the viewer) into the Canvas. When you drag a clip over the window you’ll be presented with a number of choices for how to apply it to the timeline, and one of those is to use your default transition. This option will drop your clip into the timeline and apply your default transition between it and the prior clip.

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