Tip #1696: The Hidden Audio Animation Editor

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #1696: The Hidden Audio Animation Editor

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

This makes keyframe timing changes faster than the Inspector.

This composite image shows where to enable pan controls, the Pan Mode menu and the clip’s Audio Animation bar, with pan enabled.

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Attached, but hidden, to each clip in the Final Cut timeline is the Audio Animation Editor. This “bar” provides another way to adjust effect parameters, create fade-ins or fade-outs, or change effects over time using keyframes.

The Audio Animation Editor appears above a timeline clip. To make it appear, select one or more clips in the timeline, then type Control + A or choose Clip > Show Audio Animation. (See screen shot.)

By default, when this bar first appears, no adjustable settings are displayed.

NOTE: Audio volume is already displayed as a horizontal line in the audio clip.

To enable an audio effect, either apply one from the Effects Browser, or go to the Audio Inspector and change the Pan Mode from None to Stereo Left/Right. (See screen shot)

This displays the Pan: Amount setting in the Audio Animation Editor. (See screen shot)

  • Click the check boxes on the left to turn an effect on or off (they are on by default).
  • Double-click the box on the right side (not shown) to expand the setting vertically to make adjustments easier to make.

The dotted line that appears is used to set, adjust or remove keyframes for that parameter.

  • To create a keyframe: Option-click the line
  • To move a keyframe for timing, drag horizontally.
  • To adjust a keyframe setting, drag vertically.

NOTE: Once you start dragging, Final Cut constrains movement. For example, once you start dragging horizontally, FCP will only allow horizontal movement until you let go of the mouse. This prevents unintended changes to settings when all you wanted to do was change the time, or vice-versa.

  • To convert a keyframe from a corner to a curve, Control-click it and select from the menu.
  • To delete a keyframe, Control-click it and select from the menu.

NOTE: As you add effects to a clip, they are also added to the Audio Animation Editor.


You can also add keyframes using the Inspector and they will appear in the Audio Animation Editor. This bar is faster than the Inspector to change keyframe timing, but the Inspector is easier to change settings.

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