Why are my transitions too short? or why do I get the "Insufficient content for edit" error?

Why are my transitions too short? or why do I get the "Insufficient content for edit" error?

Watch the movie below for the probable solution.

When you trim a clip, there is (usually) “extra” media before and after the part of the clip you want in your timeline. (That’s what trimming does, allows you to select a portion of a clip that will show in your movie)

COOL TIP: If you select the Slip tool by pressing “S”, and click on a clip in the timeline, you’ll see a brown outline showing you the extra media on either side of your “trimmed” clip.

Another way to see what handles are on your clip is by double clicking it, then noticing how much footage lies on either side of your in and out marks.

When you add a transition between clip #1 and clip #2, FCP uses the media AFTER clip #1 to dissolve (or whatever) into the media BEFORE clip #2.

If there is no extra media after clip #1 or no extra media before clip #2, then your transition will be only 1 frame long! (Or give you the error message “Insufficient content for edit”)

Solution: always capture more of a clip than you’re going to use- “trim” the clip in the Viewer by setting in and out points.

Another cool tip: If you haven’t got it yet, our Final Cut Pro Foundations course has a lot of info on this topic- and all others!

WATCH MOVIE: Why are my transitions too short?


  1. tk 14 years ago

    perfect! Thanks for the info. Your video presentations are great!

  2. Darren 14 years ago

    Great Video, Solved it for me! Lifesaver!

  3. kaliko trapp 14 years ago

    Wow! That was GREAT! Sometimes a “brain fart” can really slow me down, and today I had a big one, not being able to figure out why I coulnd’t add a transition between two simple DV tape-captured clips (which of course had no handles before and after the I and O points since I used both clips entirely – duh!). Your explanation in the video was really excellent, and the production value first class! Thanks for sharing with numbskulls like yours truly! Sign me up for some more of this good stuff! 🙂

  4. Surya 14 years ago

    This is exactly what I was looking for and great explanation. However I am unable to use the slip tool. When I use the slip tool and try to drag it as shown in the video nothing happens. Any idea what I am doing wrong?


    • Josh 14 years ago

      Probably because you have no “handles” (extra media before and after the in and out points of the clip).

      Do you have Final Cut Foundations?

      • michael 13 years ago

        How do you get handles? I am having the same problem.

        • michael 13 years ago

          Something i just discovered i hope it helps. What i just did that seems to work was that i used the insertion with transition feature when putting the clips together, what that did for me was insert a transition on one clip not the other, then i deleted the transition and was able to roll the last clip a bit over the previous one ( using the selection tool not the ripple tool), and then i was able to insert a full transition….

  5. bidmead 14 years ago

    Contributors here aren’t necessarily numbskulls. It could just be that Final Cut is brain-dead.

    When you create a clip by inserting an in point and an out point, you are telling FC that you don’t want to see frames outside that perimeter. Yet when you cross-dissolve between two such clips, FC insists on fetching back some of the frames you don’t want.

    Why, for heaven’s sake? So that the resulting edit has the same number of frames as the original two clips? Did you ask for this?

    And you’re supposed to kick yourself for having forgotten to provide “handles”. Why is there not at least an option (better, a default) to cross-dissolve the material you’re actually working with, instead of bringing back frames that have already hit the edit room floor?


    • Josh 14 years ago

      Certainly there are pros and cons of both methods, but for professional use, Final Cut Pro has it right. If you are doing broadcast or film work, you never want your program length to change when you add a dissolve.

      Otherwise it would be a huge hassle making sure your :30 spot is :30, because it would keep changing- and in a film, your music composer, sound design people and others would put out a hit on you.

  6. Chris Bidmead 14 years ago

    That, of course, makes sense, but we can’t leave it at that. I need to defend my accusation that FC may be “brain-dead”. We’re using the word “professional” here in a very narrow sense — the bean-counter world of advertisements and TV soaps. Artistically — for creative professionals — the least important thing about a sequence is its duration. The look and pace of a dissolve trumps every other consideration.

    Pulling back discarded frames from scrap is surely as brain dead as if a literary editor were to add arbitrary words to his author’s prose or poem simply to fulfil some production-imposed page count.

    Rippling the dissolve (as opposed to introducing a ripple dissolve — confusingly something completely different) offers a solution. But tediously it involves redoing work already done, manually reinstating in and out points already established.

    IMHO, FC’s dissolve mechanism is ugly, and needs to be fixed.


    • Josh 14 years ago

      Often in a production, you arrive at a final cut, then get the music composer the hit points and times for a show. While they’re recording the music, you are color correcting, adding effects, and yes, dissolves. If Final Cut changed timing when adding dissolves and fades, once you received your music cues they would be off and you would have to redo them, delaying the project. The client finds this unacceptable and fires you, and you wander the streets, depressed, and accidentally fall into a manhole.

      See? FCP’s dissolve process just saved your life.

      Probably the best thing would be a simple preferences option, then everyone could have it their way. Personally I like it the way it is.

  7. Shuan 14 years ago

    as i was one of the stupid people needing this particular forum, in regards to the FCP’s dissolve effect, my needs were answered perfectly, i thought i might throw another question out as you seem to all know FCP well.
    I am filming things in HDV with a Sony FX1E, and editing them on FCP 6.0.1. I am having trouble getting the best quality edit once i have exported the project.
    Would anyone know how i could get the best quality out of my projects for DVD (not Blueray).
    If anyone could explain the process from capturing to exporting it would be much appreciated.

  8. rakesh 14 years ago

    Thanks for the info!!! best one..

  9. christine 13 years ago

    Thanks – that was really helful 🙂

  10. Nathan 12 years ago

    where is the video?? :S

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