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Final Cut Pro X audio key frames

Learn how to adjust audio levels in Final Cut Pro X by using keyframes to create an audio rubberband.

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Let’s take another look at adjusting audio levels within Final Cut Pro X.

When mixing audio within a project, you may find it useful to display the audio meters.

To do this, click on this audio meter icon within the time code display area.

The next thing you’ll probably want to do is drag the edge of the audio meter window so you can clearly see your audio levels.

Now without going into great detail, the key here is to keep the average volume level the same throughout your project.

Depending on where your final project is being delivered may determine the amount of headroom available when mixing your project.

For example, as of today, if you are mixing for television, most broadcasters have a limit of only 6 db in dynamic range, which means you have a very limited range between the highest and lowest level to be within their standards.

If you’re mixing for a theatrical release in a theatre, it can be much more forgiving, meaning you may have up to 20 db in dynamic range.

And of course what you’re seeing down here at the bottom, are your levels for Left, Center and Right.

The other three volume meters are for monitoring clips that are in surround sound.

First, I’m going go to the event browser and select a range for this audio clip and drag it underneath the primary storyline.

Okay, so let me play through the project.

You may have noticed that the music is a bit too loud, and it drowns out the voice of the fireman.

The first step is to get the audio levels consistent for all of the interviews.

I’ll start with this first clip by dragging the volume control line upwards.

When you drag the volume control line, if you drag it too high, the top of the audio waveform will turn yellow, indicating that you are approaching the maximum audio level of the clip without distortion. 

If the top of the waveform turns red, the level is too high and you should decrease the volume.

So now, I’ll move onto the next clip and increase its level to match the level of the doctor.

Ok, you can also raise the volume of multiple clips at the same time.

To do this, select all the clips and use the keyboard shortcut Control equals to increase the level 1 db each time.

Use Control minus to decrease the level.

Okay, so now, I’ll also lower the overall level of the music down just a bit.

Okay there you go, I’ve got a much better mix.

Alright, one more thing to add.

You can also adjust the audio level for just a section of a clip.

This is done by selecting the range tool. 

Or, you can press the R key.

So, select a range in the timeline, and then drag the volume line to raise or lower the audio level.

Now they are hard to see with the range selection still active, but Final Cut Pro X will automatically create key frames to create a ramp at the beginning and end of the range.

Let me play the project so you can hear part of the mix.

Okay, that’s sounding much better than before.

One last side note.

You can move the key frames created inside the range just clicking on a key frame and moving it to a new location.

You can also delete a key frame by selecting it and pressing the delete key.

And finally, if you’d rather add key frames manually hold down the option key and click on the audio volume line.

Okay, you should now have some of the basics when working with audio in Final Cut Pro X.


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Adjusting Audio Levels in Final Cut Pro X was the previous entry in this blog.

Picture in Picture Effect in Final Cut Pro X is the next entry in this blog.

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