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How To Record Quick Voiceovers In Final Cut Pro X

Danny Greer

With FCPX, Apple has made several improvements to the built-in voiceover function, making it even easier to get live audio into Final Cut Pro.

Adding scratch VO or sound effects to your Final Cut Pro X project is a breeze.  The FCP Voice Over function (present in earlier Final Cut versions) has been updated with the now more appropriately dubbed “Record Audio” tool. Along with the standard options of the Voice Over tool, this new FCP function allows you to assign the recording to a particular event and gives you the choice to send out to an external audio monitor when recording.

How To Use the “Record Audio” Tool

  • From the menu bar choose Window > Record Audio (seems like an odd place for it if you ask me).
  • Choose a destination (which event you would like to assign it to) and an input device.Recorded audio will always appear in the active project / timeline, however choosing a destination determines where it will be saved in the event library.  Note, earlier FCP versions did not automatically save internally recorded audio in the Browser… one nice feature of FCPX.

    In regards to input devices, if you are only recording a scratch track or placeholder and you’re using a MacBook or iMac, you will most likely find it easiest to leave it set to Built-In Microphone.  If you are using a USB microphone or external audio interface (such as those made by M-Audio, KORG or Mackie) that device should also appear as an input device.

    For audio monitoring you can choose an external option if necessary, however FCPX defaults to Built-In Output.   Unless you have a separate soundcard installed or are using a digital audio interface to monitor while recording, you will likely leave this box unchecked.

  • Place the playhead where you would like to add audio in the timeline and hit the red record button.

    Whereas earlier versions of Final Cut Pro required you to specify in and outs (or a slug) in the timeline,FCPX will utilize the magnetic timeline to automatically add the audio without overriding any existing clips.  As I’m not a huge advocate of the magnetic timeline, this is one instance where I feel it is quite advantageous.

It might be worth mentioning one feature of this tool that Apple discarded in FCPX… the ability to choose your audio sample rate. Although I never took advantage of this function (I typically use the VO tool to create placeholders only) it might be a missed element for some users.

The Voice Over / Record Audio tool is one that I use quite often.  It’s perfect for experimenting with different reads and will help time out programs before any actual voice takes place.  Having to have professional voiceover reread because the script didn’t work with the edit is a huge drag, not to mention costly. Use the Record Audio function in FCPX to get a head start on your edit by recording audio placeholders and insure that the VO is a home run before it ever gets recorded.