FCP X and Compound Clips

FCP X has a feature to group clips together into a single virtual clip in the timeline. While this works well for managing 2 portrait oriented clips side-by-side, it has some unwanted results when grouping many clips together. - by David R. Beebe
FCP X has the ability to group clips into a virtual single clip (option-g). I've used this to group 2 portrait-oriented still images side by side (refer to the Keyboard Maestro note from 2/26/12). Once grouped, titles and transitions can be applied to the combined clip. It is important to note that transitions will require a ripple trim so make the individual clips long enough to be able to absorb the transition's time.

With 10.0.3, I used Compound Clip differently in the past with unwelcome results. I was working on a project of various species nesting at Orlando's Gatorland during spring 2011. I thought it would be clever to group clips for each species to make it easier to work a species at a time.

The first problem was if I double clicked into the compound clip. It brings the timeline edit into the compound clip but any insert made here ends up trimming the overall clip as it stays the same exact length as when the compound clip was formed. Once I figured this out, I was able to drag out the end handle of the compound clip.

Because of this, I decided it best to Break Apart Clip Items and edit everything in the primary timeline. This uncovered a much larger problem when inserting still images into that part of the timeline. An insert (w) drops in the new still image from the event library in front of the last frame of the previous clip. This only happens when inserting a still image, inserting a video clip behaves as expected. It does this regardless of skimming setting. Snapping is on. Insert 2 still images in a row and it happens twice with both orphaned clips at the end of the insert. The constant is inserting a still image, doesn't matter if it is inserted between to video clips or 2 still images.

When I have a connected still image above the clip to the left of the insert point (2 portrait images side by side), it only cuts out the last frame of the bottom clip. The bottom clip is now 3:29 and the connected clip above it in the timeline remains 4:00. The connected still image above it now overlaps the first frame of the inserted still image. If I first "compound clip" the 2 still images, it inserts one frame less than the end of the combined clip, cuts its duration from 4:00 to 3:29 with the last frame at the end of the inserted image which is also 4:00.

Some additional testing: Insert a still image between 2 video clips in the portion of the timeline previously grouped as a compound clip and broken apart and the image is inserted in front of the last frame of the first clip as described above. Copy these 2 clips from the timeline and paste them at the end where a compound clip was never used and the same insert of a still image between them behaves correctly.

Project properties are 1080p HD (1920x1080 29.97p).

4/29 Update: Further testing has shown that this problem is not just related to Compound Clips. A new project starts out working fine with both image and video clip inserts to the timeline. Any change to the timeline like a clip delete or move seems to set up whatever condition causes this problem to happen. I started working within a separate project until the problem started then I would cut all the clips out and paste them into the real project. With the separate project's timeline now empty, it would work again for a short while. It is also interesting to note that the problem only occurred when inserting to the timeline from the menu or keyboard shortcut. It always worked as expected if I dragged the clip from the event viewer to the timeline. While that worked, it was incredibly tedious and really slowed my workflow.