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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?

You can skim each thumbnail to see just the currently active clip play in the Viewer--or, you can leave the Audition window open as you play the project to see how each audition works in the context of the neighboring clips and music.

From here, you can click the Done button to use the selected audition. At any time, you can go back and select a different audition. If you're sure you're happy with your choice, right-click or Control-click the clip and choose Audition > Finalize Audition, which replaces the audition with just your selected clip. (Note the keyboard shortcuts available in this menu for selecting other picks without needing to first open the Audition window.)

Creating auditions in a project

Most of the time, I prefer to create auditions directly in my project timeline. For example, I have a clip in my project of someone being hit with an egg--but I know I have another angle of that shot that may work better. All I need to do is locate that shot in the event, set the clip range that I want, drag that event clip over the clip in the project, release the mouse, and select Replace and add to Audition from the pop-up menu.

I can add as many clips as I like to an audition with the same method, and then try them out by opening the Audition window or by using the keyboard shortcuts (Control-Left Arrow or Control-Right Arrow). You can even drag multiple clips from an event to add them all at once.

While auditions are great for trying different shots, you can also use them to test variations on the same shot. For example, you may want to show a client several different color-correction options for a shot--or you might want to see how the same shot would look with assorted effects applied.

To view multiple versions of the same clip in a project, select the clip and then choose Clip > Audition > Duplicate as Audition or press Option-Y (if you already have applied effects and you don't want to see them in the copy, choose Clip > Audition > Duplicate from Original). Now you can color-correct or add effects to the copy, and then easily toggle back and forth between the two clips with the keyboard shortcuts.

You can even use auditions to try different titles or music, or to audition sound effects. Audio-only clips work just as video clips do: Drag an audio clip from an event to an audio clip in a project, and choose Add to Audition or Replace and add to Audition. For titles, drag a title from the Titles Browser onto an existing title in your project and choose one of the same options.


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