Using Key Frames in Final Cut Pro

A key frame is a frame used to signal the beginning or end of changes made between two points in a video. Here’s a simple way to create motion in Final Cut Pro using a technique known as keyframing. For this example, I’m using a still image with a duration of 4 seconds. I want to create a little zoom effect to bring the image to life.

Double-click the desired video clip in your FCP timeline to bring it up in your Viewer window. Select the Motion tab.

Click on the Motion tab in your viewer window

Locate the Insert/Delete Keyframe button by the action you want to create. We’re going to create a simple zoom by modifying the Scale of the image at the beginning and end of the clip.

Ins/Del Keyframe Button in FCPThe vertical line with the yellow triangle top lets you know where you are on your clip. Scrub (drag the vertical line) to the point of the clip where you want the motion to begin. Adjust the scale of your picture to frame the shot at the beginning of the motion. Click the Keyframe button to signal the beginning of your motion. You should see a little green point on the line next to your Keyframe button.

Scale Slider in Viewer - FCPScrub to the end of your clip and increase the scale of the image. Click the Keyframe button once again to set another marker at that point. Note: The larger the increase in scale, the more dramatic your zoom will appear. We just want something nice and subtle over the course of 4 seconds.

That’s it! You might need to render your footage to see your masterpiece. Make sure your timeline is selected and hit Command + R and it will render anything that needs it.

Here’s our final product! Pretty cool and a simple intro to keyframing. Once you’ve mastered this, try modifying other things in the Motion tab to create several different looks.

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