I may be asking the question in an unclear way, because I come from an audio and graphics background. Apologies in advance. Hope this is makes sense...

My Final Cut Pro X project is 960x720, and I'm putting a clip on top of it that's larger, but scaled down using "Spacial conform" so it fits vertically, and there are black stripes to the left and right of the clip.

The clip is a Powerpoint and it's got a white background, so I'm using "Stencil Luma" blend to put a nice animated video behind the text. The effect is nice, but the black bars to the right and left of the clip prevent the animation from showing underneath those black bars.

I simply want those black bars to go away, or become white, so that the background video won't be clipped while the front video is on the timeline.


  • What video editing suite are you using? – filzilla May 9 '12 at 19:34
  • Final Cut Pro X. Good thing to mention. :) – reubengrafy May 9 '12 at 19:39
  • I should have picked that up with the tag. Sorry, I don't use FCPX, but in most pro editors you could try masking out the bars, or have you tried reversing the top vs. bottom layer, then mask the upper layer to only allow what you want to show over the bottom layer. – filzilla May 9 '12 at 19:42
  • @filzilla, I ended up going with your advice of finding a different way to mask and putting the "background" layer on top. If you write that as an answer, I'll mark it as the response. :) – reubengrafy May 10 '12 at 20:24

Unfortunately you can't create a project of any size. Larry Jordan posted a workaround, which doesn't solve you're problem.

There was a tutorial that showed how you can have sequence of any size in FCPX (and thus removing black bars), but I can't find it at the moment. (EDIT: I found it! Creative Cow) I remember what you need to do though:

  1. Go to the event library and pick a clip that has the final clips' resolution.
  2. Make a backup copy of said clip (right click, copy&paste)
  3. Right click and choose Open in timeline.
  4. Drag another clip into the timeline.

This creates what is called a compound clip. Compound clips can be handled like projects, but can have any frame size. A special icon in the Event Library shows you that the clip is actually a Compound Clip.
As long as there are at least two clips in the timeline, the clip's going to be a Compound.

If you really really really rather work with a project and want to have a custom background to cover up the black bars. I suggest to drag a solid color generator from the effects/generators section underneath your Main Storyline.

  • Sorry, not trying to change the size of the project itself (though that was enlightening advice), but I'm trying to figure out how to change the "matte" (or whatever those black bars to either side of a clip are called), when the clip is smaller than the project. – reubengrafy May 10 '12 at 20:23
  • If you keep on reading, I'm actually giving you an answer how to change the black bars to either side. If you don't know how the black bars are called. Simply search on Google. (I didn't mean to sound snarky.) – Zettt May 11 '12 at 9:58
  • I tried using a color generator, but it didn't work with the masking. Whether the generator was above or below the clip didn't make a difference, because the black bars were still present. – reubengrafy May 12 '12 at 17:55
  • And you scaled the generator to the size of your canvas? (i.e. so big that the background is covered entirely) – Zettt May 14 '12 at 9:35
  • Of course. The only way I could make this work was to put the "background" clip (a video loop) above the other clip, and mask that clip. I then put generators of the same color as the background of the smaller clip (the clip with the content) to either side of it to make it work. The effect works, though it's less than ideal. – reubengrafy May 15 '12 at 18:06

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