Final Cut Pro: The Differences of Editing Audio in the Viewer vs. the Timeline

There are a number of differences between editing your audio files in the Viewer windows and using the Timeline. These differences occur in the way that you handle the changes between marking the audio file, and placing it into the media file which is holding your film. Importing audio files into your Final Cut pro is the beginning of some hard work, as you need to cut and edit the file to make it fit into the movie that you want to use. If you are trying to work out the best way to get this work done, then you may be torn equally between the Viewer and the Timeline windows. However, there are some differences which affect the way in which you manage the system.

Viewer Window

The Viewer window allows you to perform three-point editing. This allows you to operate the playback functions, so you can fit the length of your audio file to that of the piece of film that you are creating. The Viewer is ideal for making close contact work, for example by putting in the Mark-In features which allow you to specify a particular section of the audio file (which can then be extracted). You can combine this with the Clip Duration box, which will allow you to work out the distance between these points, so you can make your audio file marks with the video file in your mind.

Three point editing will allow you to perform all of these edits in one single move, so you can decide where you want the In and Out markers to go, and then accept this position by pressing a button. You can also use this window to make any specific additions to your audio clip, including sequencing.


The Timeline window is completely different. Here, you can use the Insert or Overwrite buttons to place the clip into a specific point in your file. If you have an audio clip already in place, and want to insert the new one before it, you can do this in the Timeline window, rather than the viewer window. Alternatively, if you want to replace the clip with the completely new one, then you can also do this in the Timeline, rather than the viewer. In both these instances, you can quickly manage the clip using the Timeline feature.

Viewer vs Timeline

Both of these features could be considered vital in their own way. The Viewer is necessary for the quick kind of marking which will allow you to sequence your timelines between the movie and the audio files. However, if you want to fit the audio file into a new position, you will have to use the Timeline. Combining the use of both windows will help you to get the best out of your system, and without both of the windows, you will struggle to do this work quickly and easily.

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