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Reference 4.7 Editing Below the Primary Storyline

Audio clips are typically edited "below the line" meaning physically beneath the video clips. In Final Cut Pro, you may place audio clips below or above the primary storyline. The vertical positioning of audio clips is not as critical as when prioritizing video clips because Final Cut Pro mixes together all audio clips–such as sound effects and music–and plays them simultaneously.

Exercise 4.7.1 Connecting a Music Clip

For this first rough cut, you will include a music clip that plays in the background during the entire edit. The music contains an apex moment towards the end that you will synchronize with a specific clip.

  1. In the Audio Only Smart Collection, select the Tears of Joy-Short clip.

  2. With the playhead cued to the beginning of the project, click the Connect button, or press Q.

    The music clip is added to the beginning of the project.

    The music will be a little too loud, or hot. You can adjust its volume level in the Timeline. Every audio clip has a volume control: a black, horizontal line that overlays the clip's audio waveforms.

  3. Move the Select tool over the volume control in the Tears of Joy-Short music clip.


    The current volume level setting appears as 0 dB (decibels), which means that Final Cut Pro currently plays the clip at its original volume level.

  4. Drag the Volume control down to around –15 dB to play the music clip at 15 dB below its original recorded level.


    As with all the other clips, this is not the final volume setting for the music. This was simply a "sanity" adjustment so the rest of the audio clips are audible while editing. There is more audio work to be done.

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