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How to use auditions in Final Cut Pro X

Mark Spencer | April 18, 2013
Editing video involves a lot of trial and error. Which shot works better--the close-up or the wide? Which take? Should I make the shot look warmer or cooler? What kind of sound effect should I use? How about music? This title looks good, but it what if the animation were different?

Editing video involves a lot of trial and error. Which shot works better--the close-up or the wide? Which take? Should I make the shot look warmer or cooler? What kind of sound effect should I use? How about music? This title looks good, but it what if the animation were different?

Final Cut Pro X's audition feature makes it fast, easy, and downright fun to try out different creative options for your edit. Here's how the feature works.

Creating auditions in an event

If you aren't familiar with Final Cut Pro X's terminology, events are containers for organizing your media, and projects are timelines for editing that media. You create auditions in an event before editing them into a project, or you create them directly in a project.

In my first example, I have several clips in an event of some folks playing catch with a flying disc. For my project, I just need one shot, but I'm not sure which would work best. In the event, I've set ranges on each clip for the best catches. Notice that I've even set multiple ranges on some clips, since there were several catches in the same clip.

To create an audition for these ranges, select them all (click one and Command-click the rest) and then either choose Clip > Audition > Create, right-click one of the clips and choose Create Audition, or simply use the keyboard shortcut Command-Y.

Final Cut Pro X creates a new audition clip and adds it to the event (naming it after the last selected clip). I've renamed it Catches. The badge at the top-left corner identifies it as an audition clip. Note that if you don't first set a range, the entire clip is added to the audition.

This audition clip contains references to all the selected ranges. Although you can audition each of these ranges directly in the event browser (by clicking the badge or pressing Y), I find it most useful to do so in the context of the project. So let's edit the audition into the project as we would any other clip--in this case, we'll insert it between two existing clips by moving the playhead between the clips and pressing the W key to perform an insert edit.

Now for the fun part. First, you can play the clip to see the default choice. Then, to see the other options, click the badge or press the Y key to bring up the Audition window. Here, you can select any of the clip ranges in the audition by clicking the thumbnails, or by pressing the Left Arrow or Right Arrow key. The selected clip is placed into the project. Each clip range has a different duration, and Final Cut Pro X's magnetic timeline automatically adjusts as you switch clips.

 

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