Quicktips 2011 Day 21: Change multiple FCP audio clip levels at once

February 21, 2011 – This Reader Quicktip is an option for changing levels and parameters for multiple FCP audio clips

This Reader Quicktip comes from Matt Larson and is sort of a workaround for Final Cut Pro lack of ability to change source audio parameters of multiple clips at once. It’s the kind of thing that can come in very handy when you have a very full bin of clips and changing them one at a time isn’t an option.

Here’s Matt’s’s tip:

When I import music into FCP, the audio levels are always set to “0 dB” which is way to loud for my timeline. I never remember to lower the volume before I hit play which means I blast the music (and scare the client). Then I have to manually go through each music file and lower the volume. Today I figured out a way to do it in one batch.

Import your music files into the browser.
Create a new sequence called “audio levels” and open it.
Select all of your music files in the browser and drag them into the timeline.
Delete all of the original music files in the browser.
Select all of the music clips in the timeline and use the “Modify>Levels” (apple+option+L) to change the volume to what you want.


Drag all of the music clips in the timeline back to the browser. The audio levels on your clips have now all been changed.

You’d think that FCP would just let you select the audio clips in a bin and apply the apple+option+L command but it doe not so this is the workaround. Personally, I use this type of technique rather sparingly as dragging these clips from the timeline back into a bin creates an affiliate clip and that screws up one of my editorial techniques where I Match Frame to a clip and then Reveal Master Clip to see it in a bin. In fact I couldn’t replicate this technique exactly as listed as FCP would create new Master Clips when I dragged the clips from the timeline to the bin. I was able to make the audio level hold if I didn’t delete the original clips first. This did create duplicate files but I was able to sort by the IN point and delete all the ones that were Not Set as FCP set both IN and OUT points for the clips from the timeline.

As Matt said in an email exchange I had with him: “Inconsistent behavior in FCP? I’m shocked! I’m on 7.0.3 and working with aiff files. YMMV…”

What this type of operation does is allow the editor to explore this while Master Clip, Affiliate Clip thing that FCP utilizes. IMHO it’s one of the more confusing things about FCP’s media management. If you’ve tried Matt’s tip or something similar please post in the comments below with your results.

Thanks again to Matt Larson for the tip.

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PVC Staff
Scott Simmons was born in rural West Tennessee and didn't really realize that movies and tv had to be made by actual people until he went to college. After getting degrees in both Television Production…

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