MacMost Now 627: Final Cut Pro X Keyframe Animation

Learn how to use keyframes to animate video in Final Cut Pro X. You can scale and reposition video clips between keyframes to create a variety of special effects. The example used is video shrinking to the center and then moving to a corner. You can also use keyframe animation to rotate, distort, color adjust or fade a clip.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 627: Final Cut Pro X Keyframe Animation.

Hi, this is Gary, with MacMost Now.
On today's episode let's look at how to do basic animation in Final Cut Pro.
So I'm starting off here with a blank project on the bottom and some clips here on the top.
Let's drag the first clip here into the project and then I'm going to select a second clip, I'm going to drag it and put it above the first one starting at the very beginning.
Right there, so this clip of yellow leaves plays on top of the clip with the stream, you don't even see the one with the stream.
So now what I wanna do is I wanna animate this clip here to basically start off showing full-screen and then shrink and then move into a corner, revealing the video behind it.
So the way to add animation is to first, to click on the upper left hand corner of the the clip there in the project and choose Show Video Animation.
Then this brings up all the different things which you can animate.
The one we're interested in is the Transformations, right here.
We're going to switch from All, to just Scaling. I'm gonna go with Scale this right here.
We're gonna do it, let's go to four seconds into the video. Right there, you can see the time is set to four seconds.
I'm gonna add a Keyframe, which is the start of an animated sequence.
I can do that by either Option-clicking right there, but I could also go to Modify and Add Keyframe, which is Option-K will get me the same thing.
So I wanna use Option-K, and you can see it inserted a Keyframe right there.
Now I'm gonna move forward one whole second, right there, to the fifth second in.
And then I'm going to add another Keyframe, Option-K.
So what's gonna happen is the Scaling will change between this point and that point.
Now up here at the top of the screen, I can select here an* ability to scale and move, transform the clip.
I can see I can move back and forth between Keyframes, and you can see how it jumps between these two here.
On the second Keyframe I wanna shrink this, so that it's the end of the scaling animation.
So there are many different ways to grab this points here and hold * this different modifier keys to shrink it uniformly, I'm going hold Command and Shift, and drag the point here, which will obviously * shrink it.
I'm going to do it to exactly 25%, scaled appeared in the upper left hand corner, there.
So now if I scrolled * over this part of the video I can see it goes from being just full-screen to then shrinking during this animated part it get to 25% and it stays there for the remainder.
The next I wanna do is I wanna change its position.
So I'm gonna go from Transform Scale to Transform Position.
I'm going to return to this Keyframe exactly, right here at the end of the scale, I can use these to jump right to it.
And I'm going to add another Keyframe here, Option-K, and now I've added a Positional Keyframe, so you can see the dark one here that's the Scale Keyframe and there's another one there.
But I'm not looking at scale, I'm looking at position so, I see now a Positional Keyframe, I'm going to move forward another whole second and I'm gonna Option-K to add another Keyframe.
And now I'm going to move this, up to the upper left, and you can use those numbers there to get it precise, I'm just gonna do it in general right there.
Now I can see what happens.
It starts, this sequence here where it shrinks, and then this sequence here where it moves.
Now I wanna go down here, and I wanna hide the animation there so it doesn't get in the way, and I just see this two clips.
It's still there, it still animates, but I don't have to see the extra there *.
I'm going to add another clip here.
Let's add this one, and I want this one to be between the two of them and right to the left, where it starts.
So now I actually am revealing this one with the ducks, 'cause you can't see the one underneath of that.
I'm going to do a similar animation here with the ducks, but instead of doing it at from four to five seconds and from five to six I'm gonna do it a little further along.
So for the ducks I'm going to reveal the animation, right there.
I'm going to then, Transfomr Scale.
I'm going to go in, to let's say, seven seconds, Option-K.
I have to select that area there, Option-K, go to eight seconds, Option-K.
And then I'm going to scale to 25% as before.
Then I'm going to switch to Position, Option-K to add a Keyframe for position, go one more second ahead then Option-K again, and I'm gonna move this right here.
And now as I scroll* along the time line, I can see the first thing that happens is the yellow branches is on top, then that shrinks, move to the upper left, and the ducks are underneath it.
Then the ducks shrink revealing the stream below, that moves to the upper right, and I get my desired effect.
So that's just one example of how to use Keyframe animation, in Final Cut Pro.
You can change all sort of other things, you can rotate, you can trim, you can distort video, you can even change the color attributes and the oppacity of the video.
So there's lots of thing you can do between Keyframes, you can add as many Keyframes as you want, make your animations as complex as you want.
Hope you found this useful, till next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 9 Responses to “MacMost Now 627: Final Cut Pro X Keyframe Animation”

    7 years ago

    Thx for this. If I put two videos on the page and want each one to expand over the other at different times, how do I get the video underneath to go on top of the other video? In other words, how to I “bring to front” and “move to back”? Is one video always on the top and you can’t change it? I don’t want to cut them and paste them over and under each other.


      7 years ago

      Why don’t you want to cut and paste them over each other? That would be a good way to do it.

    7 years ago

    Hi Gary, I just bought a MacBook Pro for making videos, which I would like to post on U-tube. Thing is though I am new to this whole video making/editing thing. So what I am wondering is can I make videos as well as get good sound/video quality using the built in webcam/mic on my Mac without having to purchase Final Cut Pro? I have OS X Lion as well as iLife 09. If not, can you recommend a good quality Camcorder/Camera for a decent price and if I do need Final Cut Pro, would there be any other applications I might need in-addition? For video compression and quality, sound quality, etc. Thanks!

      7 years ago

      There is a big difference in quality between webcams and real camera with real lenses. I’m no expert here, but I know that. You also have the problem that you can’t really point your Mac at something like you work a camera. And the mic built into any computer is no where near as good as an external mic.
      But I don’t have any recommendations. I’m not a camera expert. You should ask one about this, not me.
      FCP is a better video editor than iMovie, certain. But you have to take the time to learn how to use it to get the most from it.

    7 years ago


    ive followed your tutorial through as carefully as i can. after my second clip shrinks and then moves it immediately pops back to where it started after the scrubber passes the last positional keyframe marker. i cant figure out why for the life of me. it retains the resizing of the clip, just not the postion. i have a feeling its a no brainer, but im stuck nonetheless.


      7 years ago

      Hard to tell without seeing what you are doing first-hand. Perhaps you have selected to only set a position keyframe instead of “all.”

    7 years ago

    Hi Gary,

    I’ve got the same issue as Adam – has Final Cut Pro X version 10.3 changed animations or something?

      7 years ago

      Perhaps try setting another keyframe at the end, or move the last keyframe all the way over to the right.

      7 years ago

      I had the same problem with 10.0.3. This issue is fixed in Final Cut Pro X version 10.0.4

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