Final Cut Pro: How To Adjust Audio Levels in the Timeline

The fastest way to edit audio is to do so in the Timeline. The Timeline allows you to view where you need to set your keyframes, which makes it easier to decrease and increase the audio of a clip. Before you can begin adjusting audio levels in the Timeline, you need to turn on clip overlays. This can be done by opening a sequence in the Timeline and going to Sequences, then Settings. Click on the Timeline Options tab and then select the Show Keyframe Overlays checkbox. You may also want to consider displaying audio waveforms in the Timeline, as this makes it easier to adjust audio levels. To display audio waveforms, select the Show Audio Waveforms checkbox in the Timeline Options tab.

Keyframes

If you need to add an audio keyframe to the audio level overlay of a clip, press the P key to display the Pen tool. Click the exact location on the overlay that you wish to set the new keyframe. The Selection tool can also be used to adjust keyframes in the Timeline. When you place the Selection tool over a keyframe, it will turn into a crosshair pointer. To adjust the audio of a single keyframe, all you have to do is drag the keyframe up or down using the crosshair pointer. You can also move the keyframe forwards and backwards by dragging the keyframe from side to side. 

To adjust a section of a clip's overlay, all you have to do is drag that specific section of the overlay up or down. If you need to select a range of keyframes to modify at once, simply use the Range Selection tool to select the keyframes that you need to adjust. You will then be able to adjust the audio volume of only those keyframes.

Adjusting Audio while a Sequence Is Playing

Final Cut Pro allows you to adjust the audio of a sequence while the sequence is playing, by using keyboard shortcuts. Pressing Control and = raises the level by 1 dB. Control and - will lower the level by 1 dB. To raise the the level by 3 dB, press Control and ]. Control and [ will lower the level by 3 dB. Your sequence will quickly pause when the audio is changed. 

Adjusting Audio with No Keyframes

If you need to adjust the audio of a single clip that has no keyframes, all you have to do is use the audio level overlay. By dragging the audio level overlay up or down, you can increase or decrease the audio volume. When you have the clip selected, the overlay is displayed as a pink line.

Deleting Audio Level Keyframes

You have 3 options if you need to delete audio level keyframes. The first option is to Control-click the keyframe you want to delete and select Clear from the shortcut menu. The second option is to open the Tool palette and select the Delete Point tool. Using the Delete Point tool, simply click on the keyframe that you wish to delete. The third option is to select the Selection tool and hold down the Option key. The Selection tool will turn into the Delete Point tool, so you will just have to click on the keyframe that you want to delete.

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