Insider Tips: Edit Faster With Final Cut’s Scrolling Timeline

Every week, Insider asks one of our expert contributors to share a tip, tool, or technique that they use all the time and couldn’t live without. Reuben Evans shares how FCP’s new scrolling timeline does things a little differently.

Fans of Apple’s Final Cut Pro have had their wishes granted with the new scrolling timeline. During playback, FCP’s default behavior is to let the playhead scroll off of the screen. If you would like the playhead to stay in the middle of the screen and for the footage to scroll past it go to Final Cut Pro-> Preferences->Playback.

Select the option “Scroll timeline continuously during playback.” Now, when you play a video, the playhead will move from the start of the timeline until it hits the middle. At that point, the footage in your timeline will start to scroll past it.

The other major NLEs have implemented a scrolling timeline, but Apple always tries to put their own twist on things. As POST-PROfessionals-E point out in the video below, FCP doesn’t “jump” when you play a clip backward. Additionally, Final Cut allows you to edit the timeline while playback is happening.

And if you have any performance issues with playback, make sure to check if your viewer settings are on Better Quality or Better Performance. Also, unrendered footage will impact the smoothness of your playback.

Insider Tips are helpful weekly posts brought to you by’s awesome writers and industry experts. Come back for a new Insider Tip every Wednesday, or subscribe to our newsletter to get a reminder each week.

Reuben Evans

Reuben Evans is an award-winning screenwriter, executive producer at Faithlife, and a member of the Producers Guild of America. He has produced and directed numerous documentaries and commercials. Reuben’s tools of choice are RED Cameras, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve. He writes for Insider and is part of the Blade Ronner Media writers network. Reuben resides in Washington state with his wife, four kids, and one crazy goldendoodle puppy named Baker.

Insider Tips: How to Use FCP’s Segmented Exports for Long Edits

Insider Tips: Mastering the Premiere Pro Swap Edit

Insider Tips: Using Avid Sequence Templates to Save Time