Custom Project Size

Now obsolete in FCPX 10.1.

This is a technique developed by T.Payton and popularized with an excellent and detailed tutorial on the Creative COW forum.

The basic problem is that FCP does not have the ability to create custom project sizes, only standard video formats. To create a custom size you have to use FCP’s ability to create Compound Clips in the FCP Event Browser. The trick to this is generate media in the format you want to edit, for instance 1800x1500, a popular size used in screen capture video.

If you capture media in this format and save it in a standard video codec such as H.264 or ProRes 422 with a standard frame rate, say 23.976 (23.98) or 29.97. If there is audio combined with the video, it’s important that it not be compressed. Make sure it is uncompressed or Linear PCM at the standard audio sample rate of 48k.

Another way is to create a project in a custom size in Motion. Here you can make a project into any rectangular aspect ratio you want. Make the project as long as you need, fill with a generator or anything you want and export it in ProRes. Import this media into FCP using Shift-Command-I. Before you start editing the media, it’s a good idea to duplicate the file. Select is and press Command-D. Rather than editing the duplicate into a standard FCP project, simply Control-click on the file and select Open in Timeline. You can now edit any other media, any clips, video, audio, titles, stills. As soon as you add additional media into the Timeline, the clip in the Event Browser will become a Compound Clip.

This process assumes you have media in a non-standard format. If you don’t have this type of media, there are a number of ways to generate it. One of the simplest ways is to use Motion. In that application you can create a video file or any size and frame rate. You can even export these non-standard video format using either the Animation or the ProRes 4444 codecs to maintain transparency. This is useful if your final output needs to have transparency.

When you’re finished editing your Compound Clip, you can use the Share>Export Movie or and other share function to output your program.

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