Final Cut Pro 6 - Changing Audio Levels in the Viewer

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Changing Audio Levels While a Sequence Is Playing

You can use keyboard shortcuts to change the audio levels of clips in a sequence
while it’s playing. Your changes affect the clip on the lowest-numbered audio track
whose Auto Select control is enabled. The level of the clip at the current playhead
position is adjusted. Use the following shortcuts:

 Press Control-+ (plus sign) to raise the level by 1 dB.
 Press Control- – (minus sign) to lower the level by 1 dB.
 When you use the shortcut, you hear a brief pause, and then playback resumes

almost immediately.

Audio level overlay

Drag the Level slider to

change the audio level.

Pan field

Level field

Pan overlay

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Part I

Audio Mixing

How these controls affect the level of your clip depends on whether or not you’ve set
keyframes for either audio level or pan.

 If no keyframes are set: Moving the sliders or entering a numeric value changes the

audio or stereo levels for the entire clip. Similarly, dragging one of the overlays
changes the audio level or pan setting for the entire clip.

 If keyframes are set: Moving the sliders or entering a numeric value modifies the value

of whatever keyframe is at the current position of the Viewer playhead. If there is no
keyframe at the current position of the playhead, one will be added. There must be
at least two keyframes on an overlay to change the audio level or pan setting from
one level to another.

Whether or not the audio item in the Viewer is a stereo pair also affects how audio level
and pan are set. Clips can have up to 24 tracks of audio, and each item can be mono or
part of a stereo pair.

 If you opened mono items: Each channel is in its own tab in the Viewer and is mixed

separately from all others.

 If you opened a stereo pair: Both waveforms appear in the same tab, named Stereo.

Adjusting the levels of one channel adjusts the levels of the other.

As you adjust the audio level and pan of clips in Final Cut Pro, your changes can be
played back immediately. Final Cut Pro mixes the audio levels in real time, so you don’t
need to render your audio as long as your computer can handle the number of tracks
you’re working on. Real-time audio processing is covered in more detail in “


Audio Mixing in Final Cut Pro

” on page 634.

Tip: Using effects like cross fades and filters requires processing power, which reduces
the total number of tracks you can mix in real time. If you exceed the number of tracks
your computer can handle, you’ll need to render your tracks. Audio is usually rendered
much faster than video, however, so it shouldn’t take too long.

When you edit a new clip into a sequence, its level is set to 0 decibels (dB) by default.
You can change the level to be any value you like, up to +12 dB. You can use three
controls to adjust the audio level of a clip. Each of these controls is mirrored by the
other controls as you make adjustments. If no keyframes are set in the clip in the
Viewer, using these controls adjusts the level of the entire clip.

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Chapter 6

Mixing Audio in the Timeline and Viewer



To adjust the audio level using the Level slider:


Drag the Level slider to the left or right.

To adjust the audio level by entering a numeric value:


Enter a value in the Level field.

To enter a negative value, type – (minus sign) and the number.


Press the Return key to apply this value to your clip.

To adjust the audio level by dragging the audio level overlay:


Place the pointer over the audio level overlay of your clip in the waveform display area
of the Viewer (the overlay looks like a pink line, or—for stereo items—two pink lines).

The pointer turns into an Adjust Line Segment pointer.


Drag the overlay up or down to change the level of the clip.

As you drag, a box displays the new audio level.

Tip: Hold down the Command key while you drag to “gear down” the speed at which
the level is adjusted.

Enter a new value
in this field.

Adjust Line Segment

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Part I

Audio Mixing

To adjust the audio level by using the Modify menu:


Select one or more clips in the Timeline, or place the Canvas or Timeline playhead over
the clip whose audio level you want to modify.


Choose Modify > Audio, then choose one of the Gain items from the submenu to
indicate how much you want to modify the level.

The audio level of your clip is increased or decreased from its current value by the
increment you choose. If you selected multiple clips, all clips are modified relative to
their current values.