Learn the Picture in Picture Effect in Final Cut Pro (Reaction Videos)

Final Cut Pro 29/04/2022 3 min read

Picture-in-picture effects are fantastic for a range of content, from reaction videos to sports coverage. Using the picture-in-picture effect can also cut down on your editing time, as you won’t need to cut back and forth between shots. There are a few ways to create this stylized effect, so let’s get started.

Part 1: Create Amazing Reaction Videos with the PIP Effect in FCPX

The idea of a picture-in-picture effect is to show two or more shots at once. Unlike split-screen, where each shot is given its own portion of the screen, PIP effects place one shot on top of the other in a frame. The advantage of the effect is you can show your viewer both shots without cropping or scaling the main focus.

You’ll need two clips for the picture-in-picture effect; one to fill the screen (focus clip) and a second to place in a frame (frame clip). 

Option 1: Transform Tool

The Transform Tool option is a quick and straightforward solution for picture-in-picture effects. Creating your composition using this technique is ideal for content creators producing long-form videos, such as gaming channels and movie reactors.

  1. Place your focus video in the timeline and edit as needed.
  2. Place your framed clip on the timeline above the focus video.
  3. Select the framed clip and hit the Transform button at the bottom of the Media Viewer.
  4. Drag the corners to change the scale and adjust the position to suit your footage.
  5. If you want to add a Frame to the footage, search in the Effects Control panel for Simple Border; change the color and width settings in the Inspector.

Option 2: Shape Masks

The Transform tool option is a fantastic quick solution, but it only allows for the 16:9 aspect ratio. If you want to create a square, circle, or rounded rectangle frame, you’ll need the Shape Masks method.

  1. Add your focus footage to the timeline and edit as needed, then add your frame footage to the track above.
  2. Select the frame footage and right-click > Compound Clip.
  3. In the Effects Control panel, search for Shape Mask and add it to the compound clip.
  4. In the Media Viewer, adjust the shape and size of the mask.
  5. Finally, click the Transform button in the Media Viewer and adjust the Position and Scale of the Compound Clip.
  6. If you need to edit your frame footage, open the compound clip; the mask will not be affected.

Top Tip: You can also use these steps with the Draw Mask effect to create any shaped mask you want.

Option 3: Shape Generators 

Using Shape Generators is a little more complicated, but it can create a fantastic result. One of the big advantages of using this method is you can quite easily create a template project to save you time on future videos, which is ideal for regular content creators. Whatsmore, the shape generator gives you a huge range of options, including diamond, heart, and arrow frames.

  1. Add both of your clips to the timeline as with the previous methods.
  2. In the Generators panel, search for Shapes, then add the Shape layer to the timeline on top of the stack.
  3. Adjust the Shape and Stoke settings to suit your needs and turn off the Fill checkbox in the Inspector.
  4. Adjust the frame clips Scale and Position, so it sits nicely within the Stoke.
  5. Select the Shape layer and drag downwards while holding Alt to create a duplicate.
  6. Select the bottom Shape layer and in the Inspector, turn the Fill on and the Stoke off.
  7. Find the Blend Mode dropdown in the Video Settings tab and choose Stencil Alpha.
  8. Select both shape layers and the Frame clip, right-click > New Compound Clip.
  9. You can now adjust the Scale and Position of the compound clip as needed.

Part 2: Top 3 Picture-in-Picture Effects for Final Cut Pro

Creating your own Picture-in-Picture Effects will ensure you have complete control over your composition, but there are plenty of PIP plugins available for Final Cut Pro; check out our top 3.

1. Picture Mouse Cursor

The Picture Mouse Cursor plugin offers a range of incredible PIP effects, ideal for tutorials, vlogs, and reactor videos. The animation includes internet pop-up window style Frames with a fantastic cursor animation flourish.

Download Picture in Picture Mouse Cursor Now

2. Portal Video Frame

The Portal Video Frame provides a range of futuristic-looking video frames, ideal for tech vloggers and music reactors. The glowing neon edge is in constant motion with the flickering liquid style animation.

Download Portal Video Frame Now

3. Bounce Pop Up Effects

The Bounce Pop Up Effects Plugin is ideal for content creators and editors looking to maximize their PIP capabilities. This pack features 9 shapes and 6 bounce in/out transitions and is a must-have.

Download Bounce Pop Up Effects Now

Whether you’re a reactor, vlogger, or editor, Picture-in-Picture effects can help you create a more engaging experience for your viewers. We’ve shown you 3 incredible ways to make a PIP effect, so you can add as many pictures within pictures as you want. If you want to discover more about Final Cut Pro Masks, check out this guide.

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