One of the true benefits of shooting in 4K is the ability to reframe your shots later in post. This method is extremely efficient when you apply it to 4K clips edited in a 1080p timeline. Final Cut X, for instance, provides a few excellent tools that will help you tremendously in the process. Instead of adjusting the Scale and Position parameters or using the Transform tool to manipulate your clip in the Viewer you can utilise the Crop tool instead. In the next episode of MacBreak Studio, Mark Spencer shows how to create quickly and efficiently a split screen effect by using the latter tool in Final Cut Pro X. As you’ll see in a minute, this tip is especially useful when working with 4K footage.
Unless you want to take multiple steps to change the position and scale of your clip you can select the Crop tool, available in the same menu at the bottom left of the Viewer as the Transform tool. Alternatively, you can also use the keyboard shortcut to quickly access the asset by pressing Shift-C. Once selected, three crop options will appear in the Viewer – Trim, Crop, and Ken Burns. To reframe you shot select the Crop option.
An outline should appear in the viewer with handles at the corners that you can easily drag to either side of the frame to reframe your shot. Drag a corner to scale your shot or drag in the center to move the outline. The best part of this workflow is that you can see the full context of your shot, so you know exactly what you are cutting out when reframing.
Further, there is an info bar that shows the exact size of your frame as well as what is the percentage of scaling you will apply to your clip. When you are pleased with the result just hit Done. To create the split screen effect you should apply the same technique to the other clip in your Timeline. Use the Trim mode of the Crop tool to position a portion of both clips side-by-side. Finally, you can use the Transform settings to tweak the position of both images so that you get the perfectly balanced split screen effect.
You can take the process one step further and animate the split screen effect by utilising a few keyframes to make either clip slide in your frame. For best results, always use higher resolution material so that you have enough room to perform reframing without any considerable loss of visual quality.