So whenever I put a still on the timeline it's 10 seconds. OK, go into preferences and change it to, say, 1 second (I'd prefer it to be 3 frames for the current project I'm working on). No matter what I change it to, it always defaults to 10 seconds, even though my changes are clearly reflected in the Preferences.
Now I know you're diving at your keyboard to tell me DeLeTe Ur PrEfEreNceZ! Please no. My preferences, other than this, are EXACTLY how I want them. I don't wanna spend who-knows-how-long to get them back to the way I like. And the other preferences work fine. Also, I have never once had a FCPX issue remedied by deleting preferences. I did try to restart FCP however. Didn't take. My next step will be rebooting but I'm having too much fun working. I'd be having even more fun if my still images were closer to 1 second than 10 though.
Unfortunately that method won't work as I'm doing animation. I need to be zoomed in on the timeline to work, and dragging a single image defaults to 10 seconds no matter what. I can change the duration once it's there but this only works if I drag the image to the timeline. If I press Q, then the playhead goes all the way to the end of the image which is 10 seconds long, way far away from the area I was working. If I could set the duration to default to 1 second (at most) then I wouldn't be taken away from where I'm working and have to work my way back for each and every frame. I don't like draging to the timeline because sometimes instead of dragging the image, it will instead highlight everything else in the BIN/BROWSER which is annoying as you can imagine.
I just opened FCPX (10.4.8, macOS 10.15.3, iMac Pro).
Imported 4 photos, default to 10 seconds duration in Browser.
Change default still duration in Prefs to .03.
Browser still reports 10 seconds, but when dropped into the Timeline, I find two different behaviors.
In List mode:
If I just select the photo with no range selected in Browser, it defaults to 10 seconds.
If I select the photo in the Browser, click again for the default range to highlight, it goes to the timeline as 1 frame.
I'm using both E and Q to add them to the Timeline in this test.
In Filmstrip Mode, you are selecting the default range when you click on the click initially, unlike in List mode.
Also, if my default it 10 seconds, and I change it to .03, the clips that already have a range selected (10-second default) remain selected with that 10-second range. I have to select all my stills, Opt-X to remove range selections, then they work fine.
To achieve what you want, first set your default to .30, then using the Library level smart collections, select Stills, Select-All, Opt-X. Now you're ready to work as desired. At least that works for me just fine.
Hmmm that didn't seem to work for me. However I had never tried clicking on the photo in the browser before. That works, but only if it is shorter than 10 seconds. If I change it to, say, 20 seconds, it is still 10 seconds.
The FCP preference is a selection preference not an import preference. By clicking the filmstrip in the browser you make the selection preference. If you drag it to the timeline you get the selection preference in the timeline. This is of course very clumsy for most people in a lot of instances as it means you can really only drag or Q one clip at a time. The more common technique is to dump the clips you want in the timeline, select them all, and use Control-D to set the one frame or one second duration you want for the stills.
The FCP preference is a selection preference not an import preference.
Actually it DOES seem like it's an import preference. If I drag an image from the desktop straight to my timeline, it is EXACTLY what I set that preference to. The preference does not seem to affect images already in my browser that were there before I changed said preference.
It's still a selection preference, except the selection is being made in the Finder. Just as if you clicked on an image, or command clicked on multiple images in Browser, you would make selections on them and dragging them to the project would use the selection length. If you import images into the browser they all come in as 10 seconds. This is import length. If you select the all the will and edit them into the project they will be 10 seconds.