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Final Cut Pro 7: August 2008 Archives

During Editing
You've laid down your sequence, you've got your clips sounding consistent relative to each other - now you should check for peaks.  In Final Cut, this is as simple as picking Mark Menu -> Audio Peaks -> Mark.  Markers will appear above the sequence anywhere there's a peak.  Now, you could just pot down the gain on those clips, but if you do that you'll lose the consistency between your clips' audio levels.  So instead, you can hack out the individual peaks themselves.

You can do it by hand, or you can do it with a single step in Soundtrack Pro.  Read on ...

B2B-Audio-PeakMeter.png During Shooting

The first step comes while you're producing your footage in the first place: if you happen to be a one-man show and you're doing your own taping, be absolutely sure to check your audio levels on your camera as you're shooting.  Most cameras can be set up to show some kind of audio meters on their display; as a last resort, though, almost all will let your plug in headphones and listen for gross distortion.

Ever seen your audio meters go into the red?  Marked those unsightly peaks in your audio?  Heard the raging distortion that happens when somebody shouts into a mic?


Oftentimes, despite your best efforts in production, you'll find yourself editing together clips shot with audio that sounds different.  Most importantly for our purposes today, some clips' audio might be louder or quieter than other clips'.  One way to bring every clip into the same volume range is called normalization - and, while audiophiles have good reason to turn up their noses, it's probably the best way we have to fix this kind of editing problem.

What does normalization do?  Read on now.  How do you actually do it?  Tune in again tomorrow for the cheat sheet ...


Just as a computer thinks of video as a set of images, it thinks as audio as a whole lot of "snapshots" of this sound wave - tens of thousands of snapshots every second.  Each of those tiny little snapshots reflects the energy of the sound wave at that point.  Now, the human ear is capable of hearing frequencies that repeat up to about 20,000 times per second (20,000 Hertz).  Because of some fancy math, we have a rule of thumb: if the computer taps in to the sound wave twice as many times as the highest frequency we want to represent, it will describe the sound fully for us.  That's where the most common full-quality sample rates - 44,100Hz and 48,000Hz - come from.

Creating a photo montage to the beat of music in Final Cut Pro can be much easier with a couple simple steps. The first step is to establish the beat of the music. Before doing this you will want to make sure your audio is ready for Final Cut. Once in your sequence you will want to set markers in the audio track to the beat of the music. By playing the music, and hitting the "M" key to the desired interval, you will create a template for your montage. If you have limited ability in this regard, another option is to load the audio into the Viewer, and apply the Markers visually, by looking at the wave form in the Audio Tab.


I'm going to shift gears into discussing ways we can enhance the audio on our videos.  In order to do this, we should take a whirlwind tour of how computers think about audio.

To avoid any issues with your audio, you will want to convert your audio files to AIFF. An easy way is to export using the Quicktime Conversion.  I had always done this in iTunes, but just discovered an easier way.

I locate the audio file I need in the finder, and drag it into the Viewer. If you don't know where it is, use the Spotlight to locate it. Once your audio file is in the Viewer, you will Export Using Quicktime Conversion. This is a good function to map to a key, because we are often exporting thru the Quicktime Conversion. When the Quicktime Conversion window pops up you will want to choose the location you want the converted to go to, and change the Format from Quicktime to AIFF.

When iTunes did the conversion it would put the converted file into the same folder the source was from. Using this method we can skip the step of moving the file from where it was saved to our Project Folder.


When using a still image in Final Cut Pro, consider down sizing the image based on the application. For example if you are using a 3456 x 2304 (8 Megapixel) photo in a DV sequence (720 x 480) then Final Cut needs to do the scaling. If you were doing a photo montage with 200 pictures, this would cause a serious slow down in performance, and you would have plenty of opportunities to stare into the spinning beach ball.

Depending on how much you are planning to zoom in on an image, you will choose the size to reduce to. If you are working in a DV sequence and not zooming in on the photo at all, or applying a subtitle Ken Burns effect setting the height to 700 will provide a 1050 x 700 image. which will work great. When working in an HD sequence size your pictures to a height of 1500, which will give you a 2250 x 1500 image. You can do the down sizing using iPhoto, Aperture, Photoshop, or many other applications. You can export 1 image, or an entire folder of images.

Not working with images larger than they need to be is certainly a easy way to increase your productivity with Final Cut Pro.
Keyframes can be added in the Motion Tab of the viewer, but do you realize what the Keyframe button in the Canvas does? The Keyframe button in the Canvas will apply multiple Keyframes. It is defaulted to apply a Keyframe to all of the attributes in the Basic Motion, Crop, & Distort categories within the Motion tab.

If you right (control) click on the Keyframe button in the Canvas, you can edit the types of Keyframes that are being applied when the button is used.


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This page is a archive of entries in the Final Cut Pro 7 category from August 2008.

Final Cut Pro 7: July 2008 is the previous archive.

Final Cut Pro 7: September 2008 is the next archive.

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