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Changing Edited Clips

Once you’ve edited several clips into your primary storyline, you may be distracted by one clip that’s too yellow or another clip that’s too loud. There are stages during the editing workflow when you will correct all of the color problems or perfectly blend each audio clip. But for now, you just want to view the project without cranking up the volume control or checking to see if you’re wearing amber sunglasses.

As you learned in Lesson 2, you can access the Inspector window to view video or audio information about your clip. In this exercise, you will use the Inspector to make a few adjustments that will make viewing your project more pleasant. This is an important part of building a rough cut. Although you aren’t making final changes, you are tweaking the Timeline to determine whether or not the clips you’ve edited are effectively telling your story. Let’s start by adjusting the Timeline view.

  1. In the Timeline, click the Clip Appearance button and click the third thumbnail button. Then drag the Clip Height control to make the clips taller.

    With this clip appearance option chosen, the clip waveform appears beneath the video thumbnails. This makes it easy to see which clips need an audio boost and which are already raising the roof.

  2. Skim to the first clip and press Command-= (equals) to zoom in to this area. Then play the first three clips in the project and watch the waveforms as they play.

    Notice that the first clip’s audio waveform is shaded blue and falls safely beneath the horizontal audio volume line. The waveforms of the second and third clips, however, go above the volume line; those portions of the waveforms appear yellow and red. You can easily lower the volume of these two clips in the Timeline.

  3. In the Timeline, move your pointer into the crowd ots clip and position it over the volume line. When it turns into a vertical resize pointer, notice the 0 dB info flag, and then drag down until the waveform is at a similar level to the first clip.

    When you lower the volume of the crowd ots clip, the waveform no longer displays yellow areas or red peaks. But notice that the top portion of this clip is flat. When the audio was originally recorded at the racing location, the loudness of the race caused the audio to clip.

  4. In the crowd wide clip, drag the volume line down to match the first two clips. Play these clips in the Timeline. To enable skimming again, press S.

    Now when you play these clips, you can get a better idea of whether or not their audio content will work in the project.

  5. Select the fourth clip, Tony Schumacher, and play it. Notice that the background sounds of the shop are too loud, and the video has a yellow tint. Leave the playhead over the clip so you can see it in the Viewer.

    This type of show is often shot under extreme conditions where you have to grab a few minutes with a racer whenever you can, no matter what’s going on around him. You may not have time to color balance the camera or ask everyone to leave the shop and reduce the background noise. Final Cut Pro can help in both situations. To get a closer look at this clip’s properties, let’s open the Inspector.

  6. In the toolbar, click the Inspector button, and then click the Video tab at the top of the window. In the Color section, select the checkbox next to Balance, and notice how the clip changes in the Viewer.

    By selecting Balance, Final Cut Pro automatically color balances this clip, pulling out the yellow cast, and making it look much more pleasing.

    One of the uses of the playhead is to park it to identify a location, like a bookmark, and hold that place while you skim to look for other content. In this situation, it would be nice to compare the Tony Schumacher clip you just color balanced with the clip featuring Tony later in the project.

  7. Click in the first Tony Schumacher clip to position the playhead, and then skim down to the second Tony Schumacher clip. Skim back to the playhead to compare the clips.

    In the Inspector, you can also adjust the volume of the selected clip as well as mute individual channels.

  8. If it’s not already selected, select the first Tony Schumacher clip. In the Inspector, click the Audio tab. Make sure the Channel Configuration area displays four mono channels. If it doesn’t, click the disclosure triangle next to Channels.

    This clip has four audio channels. For this shoot, a lavaliere microphone recorded two channels of Tony’s interview, and another microphone recorded two channels of ambient sound from the shop. By deselecting each channel, you can identify which is which.

  9. In the Timeline, play the first Tony Schumacher clip, and as it plays, deselect the third and fourth mono audio channels in the Inspector window. Notice how doing this changes the volume displayed in the Timeline clip waveform.

    The lower two channels contain the background ambient noise from the shop. By deselecting these channels, you can hear Tony’s interview more clearly.

    Now let’s adjust the clip volume in the Inspector.

  10. In the Timeline, select the Tony Pedregon clip and look at the top of the Inspector window to see the clip name change.

    The Inspector window displays the selected clip’s properties, whether that clip is from the Timeline or the Event Browser.

  11. Play this clip and deselect the third and fourth mono channels. Then select them again.

    In this clip, deselecting and turning off these channels leaves the clip sounding a little tinny. Leaving them turned on gives the clip a fuller sound, but also raises the overall volume.

  12. In the Inspector window, drag the Volume slider to the left until the clip waveform in the Timeline no longer has yellow areas or red peaks. Then close the Inspector. Now the clip plays at a lower volume.
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