Edit, Export Audio with Final Cut

Edit, Export Audio with Final Cut

Importing audio into Final Cut will often require you to follow the same basic instructions used when importing video:

• If the audio file you need exists in your own Video Storage folder, then you can Import the file by selecting File > Import > Files…. When the window opens, find/select the file(s) you wish to import from within your folder in Video Storage. Click the “Choose” button.
• Any preloaded and non-copyrighted audio/music files can be imported from your local hard drive, labeled “Macintosh HD”.
• Visit the website flashkit.com for non-copyrighted sound loops and sound FX.

Note: you can get audio from YouTube videos by using keepvid.com, listentoyoutube.com, or other conversion websites; however, be aware of copyright laws. You have to make sure that your instructor is okay with you using copyrighted elements in your final project.

Creating a Voice Over:

1. Before you can create a Voice Over in Final Cut, you must first set your ‘In & Out’ points. These tell the system where to place the audio when you are done recording it.

a. Click on the timeline ruler and set your in point by hitting the “i” key on the keyboard.


b. Click further down on the timeline ruler and hit the “o” key on the keyboard to set your out point.

Note: often, if not always, Final Cut will require you to set “In & Out” points before the record button in the Voice Over widow even becomes clickable. Therefore, it is best to just set those points every time.

2. Now you need to open up the Voice Over window. Click on Tools at the top of the screen and select Voice Over in the dropdown menu.

a. See next page for Voice Over window image.

3. Before you record your voice, you need to make sure the recorded audio will be coming through the boom microphone. You can check this by clicking on the Source: menu bar and changing the options from “Built-in Microphone” to “Builtin Input”.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 8.54.06 AM4. Now use the audio mixer (the beige device in the black rack next to the computer) to set a proper recording level, in order to avoid over modulation. You can adjust your levels by turning the Master and Mic knobs. On the image to the right, you will notice an audio level that measures the loudness of your voice. You must make sure that, when speaking, your voice is peaking in between -12 and -6 on this meter.

5. Once you are ready to record your voice, click the red Record button. You will get a five second countdown before the recording begins. After you have finished recording your voice over, the new audio clip of your voice will appear in the audio track of the timeline.

6. To listen to your new voice over track, click the lighter gray area in the timeline at a spot just before the beginning of the audio clip. Then press the spacebar (the shortcut key for “Play” and “Stop”).





Editing Audio

Once you have your audio files imported into Final Cut, and placed on the timeline, you can begin editing. The first things to look at would be your playback audio levels. Make sure that the levels peak in between -12 and -6, or the sound can become over modulated and distorted.

1. Take a look at the audiometer, located on the left-hand side of the timeline, while your project is playing back.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 9.03.45 AM

2. To make audio adjustments, click the “Toggle Clip Overlays” button on the bottom-left corner of the timeline. Clicking this button will add a solid red line that runs through the middle of your audio clips.

a. You can adjust your audio levels by clicking this line and moving it up and down on the audio clip—scale ranges from -inf dB (mute) to +12 dB.

3. Having the red line on your audio clips also allows for you to create fades in the audio.

a. First press and hold the “alt/option” button, then hover over the red line with the arrow/cursor.
b. The arrow should change into the “Pen Tool” ( )—located on the Final Cut toolbar on the right-hand side of the timeline. c. Click with the pen tool to create a point on the red line. Next, move a bit along the line and click to create second point. Then release the “alt/option” button.
d. Once you have two points made on the red line, you can click either the points or the line to create and adjust an audio fade.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 9.05.26 AM

4. To shorten any clips on the timeline, click the “Razor Blade Tool” ( ), on the toolbar to make cuts in video or audio. a. You can also click the edges/ends of a clip and drag in or out for a similar effect.


Exporting Audio: These particular instructions are universal for most/all J-school audio assignments.

1. Set your ‘In & Out’ points around the clips and elements that you want to export as your final project.

a. Not doing this will almost certainly result in unwanted errors with your final product.

2. To export, click File > Export > Using QuickTime Conversion….

a. Give your project a title, preferably your name and type of project.
b. Set it export to your file in Video Storage.
c. Change the format to AIFF.
d. Click the “Save” button.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 9.08.25 AM


Converting AIFF to MP3: Some instructors require you email or post your final audio project to them for grading. If that is the case, you will need to convert your new AIFF file into an MP3 file.

1. Open your AIFF project file in iTunes. It should play.
2. In the iTunes drop down menu, click Preferences…. Then, in the General Preferences window, click the “Import Settings…” button.

a. An Import Settings widow will open up. Change the “Import Using:” option to from AAC Encoder to MP3 Encoder, and then click the “OK” button.

3. Right-click your audio file in iTunes and select Create MP3 Version in the dropdown menu. An MP3 copy of your project will appear in the iTunes window.

4. Right-click the MP3 version and select Show in Finder to locate where this version is saved. It is recommended that you save a copy of this version to your file in Video Storage before you submit it to your instructor.