The use of roles within Final Cut Pro X is a very flexible way to organise media on the timeline and structure the video and audio that can be exported out. The downside is that the setting of roles on multichannel audio clips isn't straightforward or quick if you have a lot to work your way through. Charlie Austin had the same frustration and developed the free app Role-O-Matic to do the hard work for you.
You might have caught up with this on our Forum, however Charlie very kindly put together this information about Role-O-matic for FCP.co readers:
Anyone who works with lots of multichannel audio sources knows the process for setting Roles. Open each clip individually in a timeline, set the roles on each channel, repeat. It’s not bad with one or two clips, it’s sheer drudgery if it’s a dozen or more. So, being lazy, I figured there had to be an easier way.
Looking at Event xml, it seemed like just a simple find and replace function would work. Wrong. Since every audio channel is, by default, given the same “Dialogue” role, it wasn’t that easy. My skill set is… limited, so I was stumped. Luckily, as a part time nerd I participate in some coding forums, so I submitted my “challenge”. Half an hour later I had an answer. (thanks Hiroto!) I wrapped the code in a simple UI, and Role-O-Matic was born. Gotta love the internet.
Like other apps of this nature, R-O-M works with Event fcpxml files that you generate. In FCP X you organize an Event with all the files to which you’d like to assign common Roles, and generate Event xml. You can mix A/V and Audio Only files, as well as files of each type with different numbers of channels if you want.
Note: In fcpxml, each audio channel is assigned to a Lane, and Roles are defined in the lanes. Thus, you will be prompted enter Roles and Subroles for Lanes, not channels. Also, due to the way fcpxml is constructed, A/V clip audio channels start at Lane 1, but Audio-only channels start with Lane 0. So, when working with audio-only files, pay attention.
R-O-M opens the fcpxml, creates a new file, and examines the first clip of each type it finds the Event (video with audio or audio only) to determine the maximum number of audio channels to which it will map Roles. You enter Roles/Subroles for your A/V clips, confirm the result, then do the same for your audio-only clips. That’s it. Import the fcpxml that Role-O-Matic creates and off you go. The instructions go into more detail, but it’s really simple, and has saved me a ton of time. It doesn’t modify files or anything in your Library, so if you mis-apply a role or something just do it again.
Role-O-Matic is free. There may be some little tweaks made here and there, but it’s probably not going to change very much. Hopefully Apple will add the ability to batch apply multichannel Roles in FCP X and make this app unnecessary. Until then, give R-O-M a try. If you need to do this sort of thing regularly, I think you’ll like it!
Charlie Austin @fcpxpert1
A big thank you to Charlie for working this out and making Role-O-Matic free for everybody to use. You can find the app here on his website which is well worth checking out. He bills it as: "Deep Thoughts about FCP X, and why it doesn't suck."