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What’s new in Final Cut Pro 6: Improved Audio

Excerpted from her new DVD Tutorial “What’s New In Final Cut Pro 6” By Diana Weynand

With Final Cut Pro 6, you have several new audio features as well as enhanced integration with Soundtrack Pro.  One of the features I gravitated to first was the new Audio Normalization and Gain filter. Let’s look at the audio clip we have in the Timeline.

Notice how the audio level is a little low

You could drag the audio level line up to raise the level or down to lower it.


Sometimes this is a hit or miss proposition - you might raise it too much, or not enough and have to continue adjusting. You can also apply an audio Gain filter.

Here you can amplify the volume of the clip by raising it above +12 dB if you need to.

But again, how do you know exactly how much to raise the audio level?  Instead, let’s do it automatically with the new Normalization Gain feature.   First, select the clip.  And then access this new feature, by choosing Modify > Audio > Apply Normalization Gain.

Next to the Level field, you see a reference to dBFS.  If you’re not used to seeing this, these letters stand for decibels full scale. 

Here you enter the value of what you want the highest peak in the audio clip to be. The default is 0, and you don’t want to peak over that level or you will clip your audio.  I’m going to change it to -6 DBFS. When I play the clip again, the audio is raised to a healthy level without peaking.

You may notice that the audio level line on the clip didn’t change. What’s really happening here is that Final Cut Pro is adding an audio filter to this clip - a filter that automatically raises the level of a clip to its maximum without distortion. 

In the Filters tab, you see the filter and the setting you first entered. Here, you can modify the Gain filter to raise or lower the volume. Any normalization is applied only to the area between the In and Out points, not the full length of the media file. So if you trim the clip longer, you may need to reapply the normalization gain of the newly defined clip, which will simply change the level, it won’t add another filter.

Keep in mind, Final Cut searches for the peak in the clip and resets audio level to that.  For example, if you have a loud slate at the head of the clip, followed by quiet dialogue, it’s going to set to the slate clap. So if necessary trim the clip to after the slate before normalizing the audio. This is a non-destructive process – so any change you make will not affect your original clip.

Diana Weynand is co founder of Weynand Training International, an Apple Authorized Training Center located in Los Angeles and author of Peachpit's Apple Pro Training Series, Final Cut Pro 6, Final Cut Pro 5, Final Cut Pro HD, Final Cut For Avid Editors, Final Cut Express. In addition she has co-written How Video Works published by Focal Press and the soon to be published The Secrets of VideoBlogging.

Diana brings to her FCP training her many years as a professional editor. She was supervising editor for the Barbara Walters Series of Entertainment Specials, and recently was an online editor for the hit MTV series, “Real World.” Diana has also trained and consulted for many production companies who have switched from Avid to Final Cut Pro, including Bunim-Murray (producers of MTV's “Real World,” “The Simple Life,” and “Starting Over”), Pie Town Productions, (producers of HGTV programming), NBC/Universal (producers of “Monk” and “Psych”), Sony, and others.  

Diana is embarking on a road trip around the country to bring her Authorized Apple Final Cut Pro course to areas where quality training is not available.

For more information, check out her website, www.weynand.com.



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Diana Weynand is co founder of Weynand Training International,

Diana Weynand is author of the Apple Pro Training Series book, Final Cut Pro 7. She is co-founder of Weynand Training International, a Gold Level Apple Authorized Training Center that offers hands-on classes on Apple Pro Applications around the country as well as customized on-site training. She is also one of the creators of iKeysToGo Your Personal Shortcut Assistant in the Palm of your Hand! - a series of iPhone and iPod Touch applications for Final Cut Pro 7, Photoshop CS4, iPhoto, Word, etc. These Apps are available on the iTunes App Store. For more information, check out her website, www.weynand.com, call her at 818.995.1719 or email at [email protected].

Related Keywords:final cut pro, final cut pro 6, video editing, NLE, final cut pro audio, FCP 6

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  • What?s new in Final Cut Pro 6: Improved Audio by DMN Editorial at Sep. 23, 2007 4:11 pm gmt (Rec'd 3)

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