Among Final Cut Pro X’s innovative features is Auditions, a function that combines multiple clips, or copies of clips, into a single clip, letting you quickly and easily compare different takes, angles and scenes to help select the right one to properly tell your story. While most editors will happily take advantage of Auditions’ ability of combining multiple clips to help refine their storytelling, you can also use Auditions to compare video or audio effects used to change to look, feel, or sound of your project to ensure the best result.
This tutorial will demonstrate how to compare various effects using the Auditions feature.
You can easily group any number of clips into an Audition clip in the Event Library as well as a Timeline Project. The Audition clip can then be edited like any other clip into a Project.
1. Launch Final Cut Pro X.
2. In the Event Library, click to select an Event that contains clips you want to combine into an Audition clip.
3. In the Event Browser select the clips to be included in the Audition clip.
You can click and drag a marquee over the clips to select them, or use the Shift and Command keys to add or remove clips from the selection.
4. From the Clip Menu choose Audition > Create, or press Command – Y on the keyboard to create the Audition clip.
Notice that the new clip’s thumbnail image now has the Audition badge at the upper left corner. Also note that the clip’s name is that of the last clip selected. An Audition clip’s name reflects the current pick or selected clip in the Audition. By default, the last clip selected is the current pick. The pick is the clip in the Audition that is displayed in Final Cut Pro’s Viewer when the Audition is selected.
5. In the Event Browser click on the Audition clip’s Audition badge to open the Audition Window.
Below the clip thumbnails are a number of dots and one star. The dots indicate the number of clips in the Audition and the star indicates which clip is the current pick. If the dot or star is blue, that indicates the currently selected item.
6. In Audition Window click on any of the alternate clips in the Audition to display it in the Viewer.
7. You can also use the Left and Right arrow keys to switch between alternate clips.
8. In the Audition Window, click done to close the Window.
9. Whichever clip is highlighted when you close the Audition Window will become the current pick.
Effects for the Cause
Now that you have the basics for creating and using an Audition, lets see how you can use it to compare effects.
1. In Final Cut Pro’s Project pane click the Show Project Library button to access the Project Library.
2. In the Project Library, click the Create New Project button and add a new Project called Audition Effects.
3. In the Project Library, double-click the Audition Effects Project to open it into the Timeline.
4. In Event Browser, select a clip and drag it down to the Timeline to edit it into the Audition Effects Project.
5. You now have a single clip in the Timeline, but it’s not an Audition clip yet, you’ll change that next. There are two ways to change a standard clip to an Audition clip in the Timeline and you’ll try both.
6. In the Event Browser drag a second clip down over the clip in the Timeline until you see the green plus badge below the cursor, and then release.
The replace shortcut menu will appear with several options for replacing the current clip with the new clip. The two options to note for this tutorial are: Replace and add to Audition, which adds the new clip to the current clip in a new Audition clip and makes the new clip the pick so that it appears in the Timeline and the Viewer, and Add to Audition which simply adds the new clip to the current clip in a new Audition clip, but leaves the current clip as the pick.
7. From the Replace Menu select Add to Audition.
8. In the Timeline, click on the Audition badge or Press the Y key to open the Audition Window.
Note that both clips appear in the Audition. Since we don’t need this second clip for the exercise you will undo the last step.
9. From the Edit Menu select Undo or press Command – Z on the keyboard.
10. In the Timeline Right or Control – Click on the clip and choose Duplicate as Audition from the shortcut menu. You can also select the clip and press the Option – Y keyboard shortcut.
This is the second method to convert a standard clip to an Audition clip. The clip once again displays the Audition badge in the upper left corner.
11. Click the Audition badge to open the Audition Window or press the Y key.
In the Audition Window you now see two copies of the same clip.
12. In the Audition Window click the Duplicate button to add another copy of the clip.
Now that the clip is an Audition additional copies can be added by clicking the Duplicate button.
Compare and Constrast
You now have an Audition clip in the Timeline cointaining three copies of the same clip. One will be the control copy having no effects applied, and the other two will have an effect added.
1. In the Auditions Window click to choose the second clip copy and click Done.
Clicking done will make the new selection the pick. Note that the clip title next to the Auditions badge has copy 1 appended to it.
2. In the Timeline Toolbar click the Effects Browser button to access Final Cut Pro x’s effects.
3. In the Effects Browser select the Basics category.
Final Cut Pro’s effects are organized into categories to make is easier to quickly locate the desired effect
4. In the Effects Browser, double-click on the Black & White effect to apply it to the current copy of the clip.
Once you move the cursor over an effect it will be previewed both in the effect’s thumbnail image and in the Viewer.
5. In the Timeline, click on the clip to select it, then press Control – Left Arrow to switch to the original copy.
You could have clicked on the Auditions badge or pressed Y on the keyboard to open the Audition Window and switched clips there, but this technique keeps you in the Timeline while you compare effects.
6. Press Control- Right Arrow to switch back to the Black & White clip. Practice switching back and forth for a moment by alternating pressing Control – Left or Right Arrow.
It’s that easy to compare effects while editing using Auditions.
7. Press Control – Right Arrow until the clip title displays copy 2.
8. In the Effects Browser click the Distortion category and then double-click on the Glass Block effect to apply that effect.
9. In the Timeline, click on the clip to select it and press Control – Left or Right Arrow to compare the clips.
The Big Reveal
A couple more tricks to show you before you’re on your own. You can create copies of your clips with effects without having to convert the clips to Audition clips first, allowing you to jump right in and start comparing effects on any clip in your project.
1. In the Event Browser Drag a new clip down to the Timeline and edit it after the current clip.
2. In the Effects Browser select the Looks category.
3. Drag the Cool Tones effect over to the new clip, but before you release it, press and hold the Control key, then release the effect.
The clip is converted to an Audition clip and the effect is added to a copy of the current clip and made the current pick. You can compare them by pressing Control Left or Right Arrow on the keyboard
Finally you can compare the effects of multiple clips by adding an effect then duplicating the clip in the Auditions Window and then adding additional effects. You can then compare the progression, or building up, of the different effects. You should also note that everything we’ve done in this tutorial with video effects, also works with audio effects, so you have a wide range of options when comparing different kinds of effects while editing to achieve the best look and sound to tell your story.