The Complete Guide to Keyframing in Final Cut Pro

Keyframing in Final Cut Pro
Keyframing in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro by Apple is one of the most popular video editing apps in the market today. It is specifically built for those who lack the technical know-how or knowledge to edit videos like a pro. So, it is one of the best options for YouTubers and video animators.

In video editing, a Keyframe defines the shot or ‘frame’ that selects the beginning and end of a transition or animation in the video. Keyframes are essential because they add flavor to the video and show how an action will look to a viewer.

This short guide will tell you all about the Final Cut Pro and how you can use it for your videos.

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What Is Keyframing?

Keyframing is what video creators and editors use to create an animation on their video. For example, if you want a word that moves from one corner to the next and then disappears entirely from the video, you would use keyframing to do that.

Keyframing can be used on videos, audio, text, or any other element that you might use on a video. It is commonly used by every video editor these days to create highly animated videos.

What Is a Keyframe in Final Cut Pro?

A Keyframe in Final Cut Pro is nothing but two points inside a video that find some specific action or transition. 

For example, you want a particular scene to fade away from your video. So, you can set the Keyframe at the specific place and time when you want the fading to occur. That means it will slowly transition into darkness from being fully visible.

On the Final Cut Pro, the Keyframe appears as a diamond on the video editor. This diamond can be moved around or customized to add effects.

Trying to mask video in Final Cut Pro and struggling? You need to read our Complete Guide to Making Video in Final Cut Pro.

How Do You Keyframe in Final Cut Pro?

Keyframing is super easy in Final Cut Pro. All you need to do is follow the steps given below:

  1. Select the clip where you want the Keyframe. 
  2. Add the text, audio, or video to the chosen clip. You can find the options in the upper left-hand corner.
  3. Select the starting point on the video clip by moving the cursor over it.
  4. Click on the little square below the video preview screen in the center. A diamond will appear. 
  5. Click on the diamond and then click on ‘done’. This has essentially marked the text, audio, or video for Keyframing. 
  6. Take the cursor and move it over the video to select the endpoint.
  7. Add animations to the Keyframe element and click on ‘done’.

This short video is a great guide that will quickly tell you what the KeyFraming on the Final Cut Pro is all about:

How Do You Move Keyframes in Final Cut Pro?

Moving a Keyframe across your video in Final Cut Pro is very easy. All you need to do is select the Keyframe and drag it left or right. If you have multiple Keyframes, then the others will also move. You can also change the values of the Keyframes by dragging them vertically. 

Another way to move Keyframes on the Final Cut Pro is by cutting and pasting. You can also copy and paste if you want to duplicate a specific animation in another part of your video. 

You can learn more about this process from the Final Cut Pro User Guide on copying and pasting Keyframes.

How Do You Speed Up Keyframes in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro has a lot of handy features that truly personalize the user experience. Speeding up or slowing down a keyframe is one of the many effects that you can take advantage of.

To speed up Keyframes in Final Cut Pro, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Position the playhead (the grey vertical line) on the timeline where you want to begin the speed segment.
  2. Press shift+B to open up the Blade Speed. You can also access it from the retime pop-up menu.
  3. Either double-click the retime editor and select a new speed in the custom speed window or drag the right edge of the speed segment.

If you want to add a preset speed change to your video, do the following:

  1. Select the clip where you want the speed to change.
  2. Click the retime popup and select either speed ramp > to 0% to slow it or speed ramp > from 100% to speed it.

For more information, you should refer to the official Final Cut Pro user guide on keyframe speed.

If you are struggling with how to render video effectively in Final Cut Pro, check out our Rendering Guide for Final Cut Pro.

Can You Smooth Keyframes in Final Cut Pro?

Sometimes, you want your keyframes to move in a smooth motion. The transition doesn’t look forced or tacky and makes the animation look super good on the video.

To smooth keyframes in Final Cut Pro, do the following:

  1. Press shift+T to use the Transform option.
  2. Move the playhead to the starting position and drag your object you want to use to the beginning.
  3. Click on the Keyframe button.
  4. Move the playhead further ahead on your timeline.
  5. In the viewer, move your object to a new position. A new keyframe will be automatically added. You will also see a red line connecting the two.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 as many times as you want with different timelines.
  7. Hold ctrl and click on a keyframe. Select ‘Smooth’.
  8. You can also curve the path by stretching the curve handle that has now appeared.
  9. When you press play, the object will smoothly move across the keyframes.

You should check out the following video for a better understanding:

Key Takeaways

Keyframes are the beginning and ending point of an animation on a video. With Keyframes, there are unlimited options for animations and transitions for your video. 

They are an essential part of any video editing software. On Final Cut Pro, you can use them to animate objects, texts, audios, and videos. You can move them, speed them up, and even smoothen the transition between multiple Keyframes.

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