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Is it possible to apply audio fades to a group of clips all at once in FCPX? Yes, from the 10.3 update, batch cross dissolves between multiple clips has been possible, just a GUI bug gets in the way.

At the last FCPX Creative Summit back in October last year, I gave a demonstration on mixing audio for broadcast television. I included a trick, that to be very honest I hadn't thought about until I started to put together the session slides.

I had found a way to apply audio crossfades across a range of clips at once. It works, but there is a downside.

Blame the busy event for me getting distracted, but the trick completely escaped my mind until a YouTube video by Lee Warner surfaced recently that used a similar technique but with a macro.

So having had the memory jolted, here's my method:

There are a couple of things you need to do first before being able to apply fades across clips.

First of all you have to program the Audio Fades keyboard shortcuts (New in 10.3) in the Command Editor

audio fades fcpx 01

Before deciding on what keys to use, I spent a while Googling other editor's choices. I came to the conclusion that some multiple key presses were too complicated and more of a downside, they made me take my right hand off the mouse whilst editing.

So using the tried and tested 'Keep It Simple Stupid' philosophy, I plonked them on the 1 to 4 function keys. Nice and easy and more importantly, quick. F1 with Apply Audio Fades is the most important one here.

Next, you have decide the length of audio fade. I chose two seconds and set that in the Editing preference panel.

audio fades fcpx 02

With those set, we can do auto crossfades!

Take a look at this set of 5 clips.

audio fades fcpx 03

Show the audio components by using the shortcut CONTROL OPTION S

audio fades fcpx 04

Then with the audio components still selected, enter CONTROL D to change the duration.

Enter +2.0 to add two seconds on to the end of every audio component. This is of course the same duration as the preference we set earlier.

audio fades fcpx 05

Hit enter and you should end up seeing every audio component overlapping nicely in a chequerboard fashion. Unfortunately you won't.

There is a really annoying GUI bug in FCPX that adds this random 'staircasing' of audio components rather than laying them out on alternate levels. It even happens in Secondary Storylines and with Audio lanes showing. 

The worst news is that once you have triggered off this odd layout, there is no way of getting it back without having to toggle the audio off and then on again for each clip. It can get worse if you have a large number of clips, often scrolling off the bottom of the screen.

Apple please fix this annoying audio layout bug!

It still allows us to do the audio cross fades though. Just hit F1 and apply the audio fades to all the components. 

There you have auto audio crossfades across multiple clips!

audio fades fcpx 06

It works, but in practice, the layout bug is more of a hinderance than having to apply each audio fade manually. More bad news, the 10.4 update didn't fix this bug either.

Yes, I am aware that you can cheat this with a bodged audio only Motion transition, but that adds more complications and I rarely want to bring in audio before a cut anyway.

 Finally, I'll post the YouTube video from Lee as I really like the macro he has built.


peter wigginsPeter Wiggins is a broadcast freelance editor based in the UK although his work takes him around the world. An early adopter of FCP setting up pioneering broadcasts workflows, his weapon of choice is now Final Cut Pro X.

You can follow him on Twitter as @peterwiggins or as he runs the majority of this site, you can contact him here.


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