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Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX

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Gary Goldblum
Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 4, 2015 at 4:39:57 am

Hi,

I am just learning FCPX. I have used ProTools,FCP7, Audition and numerous other editing software programs and I am completely lost by how the audio waveforms are displayed in FCPX. Every program I have ever used displays audio as a waveform; if there is no sound there is no waveform and it appears flat. In FCPX it only displays the peaks above the center line.

Is there a way to display audio like I am used to seeing it?





Thanks!

Gary


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Noah Kadner
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 4, 2015 at 4:52:59 am

If you mean top and bottom channels-not really. You are looking at a rectified waveform, i.e. top half only. Here are your options: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH12568?locale=en_US

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP eXchange - FCPX Workshops


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Bret Williams
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 4, 2015 at 6:42:32 am

That's how X, Premiere, and Resolve show audio now. As they're not really DAWs the top half of the waveform seems adequate 99% of the time and saves screen real estate. I'm not sure I've ever seen a waveform be anything but a mirror image of itself anyway. But I'm not an audio guru and I'm sure there's a reason for seeing it in the older style still preferred by DAWs.


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Brett Sherman
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 4, 2015 at 1:28:07 pm

Not only adequate, but better. It's easier to see volume changes with a rectified waveform and the level adjustments better match what you see on the screen. Since up is louder, down is quieter. Plus it's a good way to save screen real estate. You have to ask yourself, would you like to have double the height of the waveform just to see a mirror image? For me the answer is no.

What can you see with a full waveform that you can't with rectified? DC offset, that's about it. I don't know the last time I've had a DC offset issue. Or in really exceptional cases, weird electronic phase issues. I've never seen this.


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Gary Goldblum
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 5, 2015 at 3:25:56 am

As someone who has used Pro Tools for 15 plus years I can see where I need to make an edit before I hear it. I am at a loss to why they use rectified waveforms now as I think the audio is as important as the video.

Thanks for the response

Gary

Thanks!

Gary


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James Culbertson
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 6, 2015 at 2:05:28 am

[Gary Goldblum] "As someone who has used Pro Tools for 15 plus years I can see where I need to make an edit before I hear it. I am at a loss to why they use rectified waveforms now as I think the audio is as important as the video."

I've only done audio editing from within the context of video editing and video editing apps, but I've never had a problem seeing an edit (using only audio) before I hear it, using a rectified waveform. I'm not sure what a full waveform would add to the experience, or to my speed of editing music or dialogue.


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John Rofrano
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 6, 2015 at 1:20:59 pm
Last Edited By John Rofrano on Dec 6, 2015 at 1:21:44 pm

[James Culbertson] "I've only done audio editing from within the context of video editing and video editing apps, but I've never had a problem seeing an edit (using only audio) before I hear it, using a rectified waveform."
+1

Unless you have some serious DC offset problems, the top of the waveform and the bottom of the waveform are the same. Why would you have any less functionality by just seeing the tops? I get that you are not use to it... but it in no way changes what you can do. The zero crossing is now simply the bottom instead of the middle and peaks are still at the top. No difference at all really. All of the information is still there to make an informed edit decision. Just a different way of looking at it.

In my 17 years of editing video, I have never, not once, at any time, looked at the bottom of a waveform to make an editing decision. I only look and the height to determine amplitude and the difference between the zero crossing and peaks to determine an edit. I have all of that information in a rectified waveform in FCP X.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Bret Williams
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 6, 2015 at 8:49:40 pm

I'm not an audio guy either. I used regular waveforms for 20 years and when X came out I instantly understood rectified. I'm not even sure I noticed the difference. If anything I wondered why the hell we were wasting specie looking at a mirror image all these years. Why don't audio meters go up and down or left and right with 0 being the middle if it's such an important concept? Of course I wouldn't mind it being an option but really don't see the point.


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Michael Hancock
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 4, 2015 at 3:35:39 pm

[Bret Williams] "That's how X, Premiere, and Resolve show audio now."

Premiere actually gives you the option for full or rectified. The default in the newest release seems to be full waveforms but you can check a box in the sequence to show rectified waveforms, and they even have an option for Logarithmic Waveform Scaling, whatever that is (I haven't played with it yet).

I wish FCPX (and all the NLEs, actually) had the option for full or rectified, on a global or track by track (or role by role in FCPX maybe?) basis. I find full waveforms much easier to read when looking for clappers for syncing, or when looking for beats in music. And I find FCPX waveforms to be horribly inaccurate in list view (you have to adjust the list viewer width to find the sweet spot to accurately display them, and it seems to change for every shot).

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Gary Goldblum
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 5, 2015 at 3:18:58 am

Thanks for the responses. This is going to take some getting used to as I often use waveforms to make cuts when editing video (I do a lot of music video work). I really wish there was a way to view waveforms the way I'm used to vs "rectified".

One other question,

When I import footage from a P2 card (HD setting) I always had four separate audio channels in FCP7. 2 from the XLR ins and 2 from the built in mic. I recently filmed a show and need all four channels (The XLRs were a stereo feed from a mixing board and I need the 2 internal ones for crowd noise ect).

How do I do this? In FCP7 it always imported all 4 tracks when I did a log and transfer.

Thanks again!

Thanks!

Gary


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John Rofrano
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 5, 2015 at 6:00:56 am

[Gary Goldblum] "When I import footage from a P2 card (HD setting) I always had four separate audio channels in FCP7. 2 from the XLR ins and 2 from the built in mic. I recently filmed a show and need all four channels (The XLRs were a stereo feed from a mixing board and I need the 2 internal ones for crowd noise ect).

How do I do this?"
When you select the clip on the timeline and open the Inspector (⌘4) to the Audio tab, do you see both stereo streams and are they both checked? If you do, select the clip and press ^⌥S to Expand Audio Components and you should see two stereo audio clips connected to the video clip. Those should be your L+R XLR and L+R internal mic. If not, then you didn't get all 4 channels to import.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Gary Goldblum
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 5, 2015 at 4:53:22 pm

It says it's a mono file. I think I imported it incorrectly. I still have the footage on my P2 card. Do you know how to import all four tracks as mono files? As I've said I'm an absolute beginner with FCP X.

Thanks again.

Thanks!

Gary


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John Rofrano
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 5, 2015 at 5:26:42 pm

[Gary Goldblum] "Do you know how to import all four tracks as mono files?"
I don't have any cameras that capture more than stereo so I don't know if you would need to do anything different. On the Import screen, there are Audio options in the lower right that will affect the import. They are:

Audio
[x] Analyze and fix audio problems
[x] Separate mono as group stereo audio
[x] Remove silent channels

Depending on how you check these options you will get different results. I know if you select Remove silent channels it will do just that, so if you have 4 tracks of audio and 3 were silent you would get one mono track. The option to Separate mono as group stereo audio will analyze and group you audio channels as dual mono or stereo depending on the analysis. You can always change this later in the inspector. See how you have them checked because that may have affected the import.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Bill Davis
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 5, 2015 at 7:33:15 pm

If you want to see all the audio tracks in a muxed multi-track source - select the clip and invoke Open in Timeline.

It should give you all the embedded tracks laid out as separate files.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Gary Goldblum
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 5, 2015 at 8:53:09 pm

You rock! That fixed it.

Thanks

Thanks!

Gary


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John Rofrano
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 5, 2015 at 10:15:17 pm

You're welcome but what was it? Remove silent channels?

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Craig Alan
Re: Understanding audio waveforms in FCPX
on Dec 10, 2015 at 1:39:32 pm

I know I'm late to this thread since you're happy but thought I'd add this:

I use P2 cams and they record the external mikes and internal mike as four mono or two stereo which appear in FCP X even though when you play it back from the camera you do not hear the internal mike channels.

But they do play back in FCP X which can save you on occasion but mostly the internal mike channels ruin the sound.

Easy fix:



I know the screen grab only shows two channels but it will display four for P2 footage.

You can now select the configuration and use the check boxes on each channel to deselect the unwanted channels.

So I pretty routinely uncheck channels 3 and 4 (or the 2nd channel of stereo) which are the internal mike tracks.

I can do this clip by clip or select the entire timeline and then do it all at once.

The on-board mike can come in handy for room tone or just a clip with problems with the recorded external mike.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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