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Learn how to build and refine your story with the redesigned editing toolset in Final Cut Pro X. In this course, author Ashley Kennedy focuses on getting you comfortable with each aspect of the editing process in Final Cut—from preparation and organization, to editing and refining, to audio and effects, to media management and exporting. Each stage of the postproduction workflow is explained thoroughly and concisely, and uses real-world examples from both narrative and documentary workflows.
NOTE: This course and its exercise files are not compatible with Final Cut Pro X v. 10.1 or later. If you are running v. 10.1 or later, please watch Final Cut Pro X 10.1.1 Essential Training instead.
So, up to this point, we have mainly been focused on the art of video editing without specific emphasis on the audio. However, it's important to know that having good audio is one of the most important parts of the entire process. So, in this movie, we are going to take a look at some basic audio manipulations that you can do via the Inspector. So, I am going to go into 6.1, and I have my Farm to Table sequence loaded here. I have got everything edited in a basic rough cut. However, it definitely has some audio issues that I'd like to correct.
Before taking a look at the audio, let's make sure to open up the audio meters which I do by pressing this button here, and I'm just going to expand them, so I can see them pretty well. Normal sounds like the human voice should peak roughly right in here between -12 and -6. Quiet sounds can be quieter, and louder sounds can be louder, but nothing should really peak above 0 or it can be distorted. Generally, what I like to do is correct my main audio first in isolation which in this case is my dialogue, and then I can go back and turn on my supplementary audio and correct everything together.
So, when you do this in track-based editing programs, you just solo your track, and you have got to make sure that all of one type of audio like my dialogue is on the same track. In Final Cut Pro X, however, you solo clips. So, to solo a clip, I am just going to select it and then click on this button here or press Option+S. It's the only one in color, everything else is in black and white, so we are soloed on it. When I play back the main dialogue, I need to make some basic adjustments to make sure the audio is peaking properly.
I am going to open the Inspector, and again it's this button here, or Command+4. We want to make sure that we are on Audio tab, and we are primarily going to be focused right here on the Volume slider. Notice that when I drag to the right, this black line right here raises. And when I drag to the left, it lowers. You could either drag the slider, or you could actually also drag this black bar.
Notice that it gives you a visual indication when you are peaking. Anything that's red is distorted, and yellow is kind of right below that. What we're going to do, instead of dragging the black bar here is use the slider because it's really nice to be able to do this on the fly. I am just going to play Loop, and we know that we can play around by pressing Shift+Question Mark. So as it's looping, I am just going to adjust on the fly. All right, so I am going to press Shift+Question Mark and then ride this Volume slider accordingly.
(BD Dautch: It's not just here, it's worldwide, and in a way, like I said-- It's not just here, it's worldwide, and in a way, like I said--) So, BD is sounding pretty good without much adjustment. Let's move on to the next clip which is also BD, so probably not much adjustment there as well, Shift+Question Mark. (BD Dautch: ...people now are aware that getting it directly from the producer is the way to go... ...people now are aware that getting it directly from the--) So a little bit more adjustment there, and I will move on to Justin, Shift+Question Mark.
(Justin: ...I'd run my restaurant without all these farms, that's for sure. This is where the magic starts... ...I'd run my restaurant without all these farms, that's for sure. This is where the magic starts.) So, he required a lot more adjustment. There is definitely some other issues with his. He has a lot of background sound. But as far as levels, he is sounding good. We will fix the rest of the stuff later. We'll go on to Owen. I think that I am probably going to have to fix my Pre and Post Roll here because this clip is so short. Let's just go up to Final Cut > Preferences > Playback and go down to 1 second Pre- and Post-Roll.
I will use the keyboard this time, Option+S and play around, Shift+Question Mark. (Owen: Eating local is the way we should be eating. Eating local is the way we should be eating. Eating local is the way we should be eating.) Sounding good! And let's check out John Downey, Option+S, and let's bring our Pre- and Post-Roll back to 2 seconds and Shift+Question Mark. (John Downey: It's just a much better product, it really is. It's just a much better product, it really is.) He definitely has some issues with his background sound, but his voice is peaking right in the right place.
So, that's okay for now. So I am going to un-solo my dialogue clips, and let's take a look at the rest of the audio. Basically, after you get the main audio sounding okay, you want to make sure that the rest of the audio is falling in line. The music should not interfere, but we should still be able to hear it. And if there's background audio behind any of our B-roll, we want to make sure that it doesn't drown out the dialogue. The music in this case is a special case because we probably want to start off full strength and then dip down when the dialogue starts.
So, in this sense, we are going to be making many adjustments within the clip. Instead of doing that right now, we are going to do that in the next movie when we talk about keyframing. So, let's not worry about the music for now. Let's go ahead and see how the audio behind this B-roll sounds with our dialogue. So, I am just going to select everything here and solo, which means that I am not going to hear my music. And let's go ahead and play and see how the audio of the B-roll is sounding.
(BD Dautch: There is definitely a movement happening. It's not just here, it's worldwide, and in a way, like I said, it's a renaissance. So many people--) Well, I didn't mind the ambience behind these first two shots, but this one is a little bit loud. So, I am going to drag this black line down. And as you can see, we sort of visually can see the waveform here, it's very low, and this one is a lot higher. So, I am just going to visually try to match that and then play back and see if that sounds okay. (BD Dautch: So many people now are aware that getting--) And let's go forward and play this one here.
(video playing) And let's lower that. We are probably going to actually have to remove that person talking right there. I will do that in the next movie as well. But in general, I think this is sounding a little bit better. So, the B-roll is no longer interfering with any of the dialogue, everything is sounding okay. Later on, when we add the music back in and also correct the problems with the main dialogue, everything is going to sound really nice. I am going to un-solo all my clips, Option+S.
Now, one thing about Final Cut Pro X is that by default all of my audio is located within the primary story line in the connected clips with my video even when the footage was shot with multiple audio channels. This tends to confuse editors coming to the program for the first time because it seems you can't treat each audio channel separately. However, if you click on the clip and then come to the Inspector, you can see that you do have some control over this. Specifically, let's take a look at Channel Configuration.
If I wanted to, I could switch this from Stereo to Dual Mono, and then I could twirl this down, and you can see that I do have multiple channels. Now, I can adjust each of these separately, or I can even turn them off and on. So, in this sense, if you have the main audio captured on say a Lavalier mic, and then you had some audio via your onboard camera mic, you could just turn off your onboard camera to get the clearest audio possible.
Now, in this case we don't have that situation, but it's a really good thing to know that you have that option to just turn off an entire channel if you like. Another useful thing you can do is actually look at both of these mono channels right in the timeline. To do this, I just right-click right here on the clip and choose Expand Audio Components. So, as long as you have dual mono channels, you are able to view them both, and now you are able to adjust them both separately if you like. To collapse these back up, I just right-click again, and say Collapse Audio Components.
Now, there are a couple of more audio adjustment options within the Inspector that we will explore a little later in the course. But for now, figuring out the audio levels and channel configuration is a good start in building the appropriate audio foundation for your sequence.
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