The beat . A blog by premiumbeat

FCPX Shortcut: Adjusting the Volume of Clips in the Timeline

In this post we’ll take a quick look at a shortcut that allows you to quickly adjust the volume level of any clip, or group of clips, in the Final Cut Pro X timeline!

This is one simple — yet extremely handy — shortcut that will work in both FCPX as well as earlier versions of Final Cut Pro.  If you’re looking to bring the level up or down of an entire clip (or group of clips) it beats the heck out of dragging the volume bar with the mouse!  This shortcut will give you control of exactly how many decibels difference you’re applying to a clip!

  1. Select a clip or group of clips in the timeline.
  2. Hold down CONTROL and tap -/_ to bring the levels down.
  3. Hold down CONTROL and tap =/+ to bring the levels up.
  4. Each time you tap the – or = keys you will change the volume by one decibel.
  5. While holding CONTROL you can also hold down the – or = keys to more severly change the audio level.

    **It’s easy to remember, “minus symbol key” takes away decibels and the “add symbol key” adds decibels.

A few notes about using this shortcut:

  • Each time you use the shortcut it will adjust the level of the entire clip… audio keyframes and all.  Again, everything gets raised or lowered.
  • You can apply the shortcut during playback in the timeline without stopping play.  However, you must have the clips you’d like to effect selected BEFORE beginning playback.
  • If you have audio waveforms enabled, you will see the adjustments being made in the waveform bar.

I’ve been using this shortcut for years and use it daily.  I especially like the fact that you can make quick and precise dB adjustments without touching the mouse. When I review footage I’ll often take notes and include things like “01:02:33  +2 dB” (timecode and decibel adjustment needed).  I can quickly go back to that exact spot in the video and make the change — quick highlight of clip, hold down control (and in this example) tap = twice.

Commit this shortcut to memory!  If you’re like me, it will become an important one in your Final Cut Pro workflow!

Have you used this shortcut before?  Do you have a shortcut you can’t live without?
We want to hear from you in the comments!

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  • http://YourSite(Optional) Allen Minor

    I would love to be able to do this; however, my system does not seem to want to do it. I have the MacPro with 10.6.8. It is Final Cut Pro 7. Is there another way to do this on this system?

  • Tony

    Thanks, great reminder for an essential keyboard shortcut.


  • editor4tv

    I use this on a regular basis, but even more, I use control-[ (open bracket) and control-] (close bracket) to raise and lower audio levels by 3dB increments.  Great for creating quick “ducking” of music under dialog or VO.  A quick add edit on the music, control-[ (3-4 taps) and a quick transition and BOOM, I’ve got my music ducked with the ability to make fast changes if needed.  

    • Danny Greer

      Every editor needs to know these shortcuts. HUGE timesavers. Thanks for sharing!

  • ngray101

    awesome tip!! Thank you :)

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