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Most of us still deal in good ole 2 channel stereo audio for out projects. When the time comes to output 5.1 Audio, you will most likely do it in an application other than Final Cut, but you can do it in Final Cut, There are a couple of very important factors to keep in mind.

First of all how you actually make the switch. To change your audio from stereo to 5.1, you simply go into the Audio Outputs tab in your sequence settings, and load the 5.1 Monitoring preset. This will change your sequence to 6 channels of audio. Now it becomes very important to have the Tracks assigned to the correct clips. Channels 1 & 2 will be stereo, also known as Left & Right, or to some front. Channel 3 will be the Center channel, and this is where you will want any type of voice assigned. The channel will be defaulted -3 db less than Channels 1 & 2. Channels 5 & 6 are the Rear channels, aka surround. They too are defaulted -3 db less than Channels 1 & 2. The rear channels are often just a copy of some of the tracks also assigned to Channels 1 & 2. Channel 4 is the LFE (low frequency effect), this is what we hear out of our subwoofer. This is defaulted as off, and in most cases you won't be using it. Recievers are designed to send much of the bass into the subwoofer already.


The Audio tracks in FCP correspond to the respective channels, and when outputting simple 5.1 audio, you need to make sure that what is in each Track is what you want assigned to the corresponding Channel. Below is how you can lay out a 5.1 export, and not need to assign any tracks.

surround_audio_fcp.gifNotice that Track 4 is empty, this is because there is nothing going to the LFE channel. Channel 6 is also empty, because the only audio we wanted to come out of the rear channels is some music, and because it is automatically -3db from Channels 1 & 2, it will created the surround feeling we are lookinf for.

assign_channels.gifIf this was a typical FCP project and it had the 10+ audio tracks, we all always seem to end up with, then we would need to assign the correct Channel to each Track. We accomplish this by right clicking on the Track in the patch area at the left end of the timeline, and choosing the Channel that that particular Track is to be assigned to.


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What is XML? And why is it in Final Cut Pro? was the previous entry in this blog.

Using Avid FX with Avid Titles is the next entry in this blog.

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