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Auto Applying Audio Fades to Groups of Clips in Final Cut Pro X

Is it possible to apply audio fades to a group of clips all at once in FCPX? Yes, from the 10.3 update, batch cross dissolves between multiple clips has been possible, just a GUI bug gets in the way.

At the last FCPX Creative Summit back in October last year, I gave a demonstration on mixing audio for broadcast television. I included a trick, that to be very honest I hadn't thought about until I started to put together the session slides.

I had found a way to apply audio crossfades across a range of clips at once. It works, but there is a downside.

Blame the busy event for me getting distracted, but the trick completely escaped my mind until a YouTube video by Lee Warner surfaced recently that used a similar technique but with a macro.

So having had the memory jolted, here's my method:

There are a couple of things you need to do first before being able to apply fades across clips.

First of all you have to program the Audio Fades keyboard shortcuts (New in 10.3) in the Command Editor

audio fades fcpx 01

Before deciding on what keys to use, I spent a while Googling other editor's choices. I came to the conclusion that some multiple key presses were too complicated and more of a downside, they made me take my right hand off the mouse whilst editing.

So using the tried and tested 'Keep It Simple Stupid' philosophy, I plonked them on the 1 to 4 function keys. Nice and easy and more importantly, quick. F1 with Apply Audio Fades is the most important one here.

Next, you have decide the length of audio fade. I chose two seconds and set that in the Editing preference panel.

audio fades fcpx 02

With those set, we can do auto crossfades!

Take a look at this set of 5 clips.

audio fades fcpx 03

Show the audio components by using the shortcut CONTROL OPTION S

audio fades fcpx 04

Then with the audio components still selected, enter CONTROL D to change the duration.

Enter +2.0 to add two seconds on to the end of every audio component. This is of course the same duration as the preference we set earlier.

audio fades fcpx 05

Hit enter and you should end up seeing every audio component overlapping nicely in a chequerboard fashion. Unfortunately you won't.

There is a really annoying GUI bug in FCPX that adds this random 'staircasing' of audio components rather than laying them out on alternate levels. It even happens in Secondary Storylines and with Audio lanes showing. 

The worst news is that once you have triggered off this odd layout, there is no way of getting it back without having to toggle the audio off and then on again for each clip. It can get worse if you have a large number of clips, often scrolling off the bottom of the screen.

Apple please fix this annoying audio layout bug!

It still allows us to do the audio cross fades though. Just hit F1 and apply the audio fades to all the components. 

There you have auto audio crossfades across multiple clips!

audio fades fcpx 06

It works, but in practice, the layout bug is more of a hinderance than having to apply each audio fade manually. More bad news, the 10.4 update didn't fix this bug either.

Yes, I am aware that you can cheat this with a bodged audio only Motion transition, but that adds more complications and I rarely want to bring in audio before a cut anyway.

 Finally, I'll post the YouTube video from Lee as I really like the macro he has built.

  

peter wigginsPeter Wiggins is a broadcast freelance editor based in the UK although his work takes him around the world. An early adopter of FCP setting up pioneering broadcasts workflows, his weapon of choice is now Final Cut Pro X.

You can follow him on Twitter as @peterwiggins or as he runs the majority of this site, you can contact him here.

 


Written by
Top Blogger Thought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

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2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. 

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Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

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Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

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Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!

 

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