6 Replies Latest reply: Aug 4, 2009 8:29 PM by huk730
huk730 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Is there a way to normalize audio across multiple clips? I'm new to Final Cut and I've been able to adjust audio within clips, but the levels appear to be relative to the original sound, and though I adjust them to a set volume, they still need adjustment in the final version. Can I adjust in final cut or do I need to use an external editor?

macbook pro, Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • Shane Ross Level 8 Level 8 (42,285 points)
    You can adjust audio in FCP. This is called mixing. On the bottom of the timeline, on the left are what looks like two mountain peaks. click that and you have lines on the clips you can drag up or down. Or you can have the Audio Mixer open and mix audio there. Yes, it will be relative to the original sound...if you make it louder the original sound gets louder...I don't know what you mean by that. You can't just say "I want this audio to be -6db." You adjust it until it hits that point on the VU meters.

    You can do this with FCP, or send to Sound Track Pro.


  • StingRay67 Level 1 Level 1 (100 points)
    huk730 - YES! you can indeed apply a normalization filter across multiple clips.. heres how:

    It makes good practice to expand the audio tracks and turn on Audio Waveforms.

    1. Select all clips you want to modify
    3. Then set a value for the dBFS (normalization Gain Dialog)

    Now.. What happens here is that Final Cut will analyse all of the selected audio for the loudest portions and will set those points to the value you have selected in the normalization Gain Dialog .. Usually set somewhere between -20db & -12db depending on your project needs of course.

    In effect what has happened here is that FCP has applied a Gain filter to each and every clip altering its value to suit the new dBFS parameter.

    Hope this helps.
  • Studio X Level 7 Level 7 (26,965 points)
    The great problem with any "normalization" filter is it doesn't make any distinction between a clip that has been properly recorded with very reasonable levels (let's say averages around -20 with peaks around -12) and one that is has much lower levels (say -32 but a spike that is -8). It will normalize both peaks to whatever you set (lets say -12) so that the original material will stay at the good levels but the poorly recorded clip will be DECREASED by 4db lowering the average to -36. An unsatisfactory result for sure.

    What you want is the compressor/limiter function.

  • huk730 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    The other answers don't really solve the problem of normalizing across different quality sound clips. You seem to get it, but I don't know what the compressor/limiter function is. What I have is imported video with very low quality, my own video with good quality, and other imported footage with varying quality. I don't want my viewers to be constantly adjusting their sound.

  • Studio X Level 7 Level 7 (26,965 points)
    Send the clips to Soundtrack Pro and read up on the Compressor/Limiter function in that app.

    What it does is compress the dynamic range and limit the top end by rolling off spikes yielding a reasonable clip. Almost all material recorded on a pro audio environment will be processed through something like this (though usually in hardware).

  • huk730 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    that sounds reasonable. Hopefully I can import multiple clips at one time. I'll let you know if it works.