Adventures In Audio

NEW: Audio crossfades come to Final Cut Pro X 10.4.9!

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Audio crossfades are new in Final Cut Pro X 10.4.9. A simple menu item or keystroke crossfade has been missing for the first nine years of FCPX. But now pro audio has come to this video editing software. You can crossfade quickly, easily, and it sounds good. Watch and find out how.

Original script

Note: There may be small changes between the original script and the finished video narration.

Finally, after almost a decade, Apple adds a vital audio feature to Final Cut Pro X. So what is it? How will you use it? And why is it so much better than before?

I've been using Final Cut Pro since Version 2, and I successfully navigated the huge transition from Version 7 to Version X. There was no 8 or 9. But when Final Cut Pro X first appeared in 2011, it was quirky, buggy, and lacked a number of significant features. That's why when version X came out, I was able to sell my licence for Version 7 for almost as much as I'd paid for it. But over the years, Final Cut Pro X has become smoother, less quirky if not entirely quirk-free, and has acquired *nearly* all the features a video editor would want.

The clue is in the word - video.

Video, by definition, is not audio. And handling audio in Final Cut Pro X is nowhere near as smooth an experience as doing the audio edit in your favourite digital audio workstation. But I've persisted, and now I do all my audio editing for these videos in Final Cut Pro X. Do I enjoy it? No. Does it get the job done? Well yes I suppose it does. But there has been one feature that has been considered essential in digital audio workstation software ever since the DAW was invented.

Crossfades.

Answer this question for me - When you're editing or mixing in your digital audio workstation software, how often do you *not* need to use a crossfade? I'm guessing your answer is "never". Audio specialists use crossfades all the time, to smooth over edits, get rid of clicks, transition from one clip to another, crossfade from one song to another.

Suppose your favourite DAW dropped crossfades from its feature list? I would switch to a different software. It's that important.

So back to Final Cut Pro X. Yes it has had audio fades for some time. And you could manually overlap clips, fade out one and fade in the other. But really. Should it have to be that way? Well now at last in Final Cut Pro 10.4.9 we have proper audio crossfades. I could talk some more, but let me demonstrate instead.

So here I have two music tracks and I'm going to crossfade from one to the other. Let's play them, around 30 seconds of each...

(AUDIO)

You can ignore the sunflower. Obviously in video editing software I'm going to need an image to make things realistic. It isn't going to change or do anything.

What I'll do now is take a clip from each track and butt them together. I could worry about timing and musical meter, but in this case I won't. It'll make it easier to hear how well Final Cut Pro X handles the crossfade. This is what we have without fading or crossfading...

(AUDIO)

You can hear that there's an abrupt start, an abrupt end, and an abrupt edit in the middle. Clearly all of this needs to be fixed. Let's start with the start. I'll use Final Cut Pro X's new audio features to add a fade-in.

(AUDIO)

So far, so good. Now let's go the end and add a fade-out.

(AUDIO)

And now to what you've come here for - a crossfade between the two clips.

(AUDIO)

Wow, it works. I've no complaints.

Well maybe just one. I can make fades and crossfades, but how can I set their duration?

This is how I would do it in Pro Tools...

(AUDIO)

How easy is that? And it's just as easy in every digital audio workstation I know of. I just sweep the cursor over as long a duration as I want, and in Pro Tools press the F key.

Well in Final Cut Pro X, it's not quite so easy. Before you make your crossfade, what you need to do is decide how long you want it to be. Then go to the preferences window, then go to editing where you can set the default fade and crossfade durations.

Easy. Or not quite as easy as the DAW. It's a bit of a palaver but it can be done. And fortunately it doesn't change the duration of any crossfades you've made already.

(AUDIO)

If you want to *change* the duration of a crossfade after you've made it, then you can do it like this...

(Audio under video) I'll play the original crossfade. Then stretch out one of the clips so that we can see both of them overlapping. Then I can adjust the fade times of each clip, asymmetrically if I want.

To be honest, that's the way you would have done it before 10.4.9

Anyway thank heavens. Final Cut Pro X now has easy audio crossfades. Let's listen to my first crossfade again...

(AUDIO)

I'm David Mellor, Course Director of Audio Masterclass. Thank you for listening.

Monday August 31, 2020

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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