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Introducing Roles in FCP X
David Smith on Mon, November 28th 0 comments
Since the recent 10.0.1 update to Final Cut Pro X some very useful new features have been added. David Smith explores one of the most interesting of these new additions, Roles.

In FCP X, Roles are Metadata tags that enable a simple but effective method to manage media based on simple categories. How can you use them I hear you ask? Well let's have a look at using roles to manage audio clips. 

Step 1 - Viewing Roles in the Event Browser

During import FCP X will automatically assign roles, clips with pictures and sound will be categorized as dialogue, media imported from music libraries like iTunes will be categorized as music, while media from a sound effects library are tagged as Effects. 

Group by roles

To manage media based on their Roles click on the gear icon at the bottom left of the Event Browser to open a pop-up window and choose Group Clips by Roles. Listing media by their roles is a great way of grouping media together by type, similar to creating bins for each category in other applications. 

Events listed in Roles

Final Cut Pro X cannot however predict how you intend to use the Media, and often the automatically assigned role will not be the correct one for your project. It is very easy to re-assign another Role in the event browser.

Step 2 - Modify a Role to Dialogue in the Event Browser

To change a role to Dialogue in the event browser, choose Modify > Assign Roles > Dialogue or press Control-Option-D

Dialogue roles assigned

Step 3 - Modify a Role to Music in the Event Browser

To change a role to Music in the event browser and choose Modify > Assign Roles > Music or press Control-Option-M

**Pic 4 Music roles assigned

Step 4 - Modify a Role to Effects in the Event Browser

Select a clip containing Effects in the event browser and choose Modify > Assign Roles > Effects or press Control-Option-E

Effect roles assigned

Tip: If the role you hope to use is grayed out and therefore unavailable, the clip you are modifying is not appropriate. It may not contain an audio track for example, and so wouldn’t be Dialogue.  

Step 5 - Displaying Roles in the Timeline

Once clips have been edited to the Timeline, Roles can be used again to improve your edit workflow. 

Change Appearance Icon

To view clips by their role in the Timeline click on the Clip Appearance button below the Timeline and choose Show > Clip Roles

Clips in Roles

The edited clips will now appear with their assigned role visible in the timeline.

Step 6 - Change Roles in the Timeline

I have some sound effects that were captured from tape with pictures and therefore have the role dialogue assigned. To change the assigned role in the Timeline, select the clip and choose Modify > Assign Roles > Effects or press Control-Option-E

Modify TL Roles

Step 7 - Displaying Roles by Group in the Timeline

Because FCP X has no Track workflow it becomes difficult to manage clips by their type or function. However, with Tracks you could assign dialogue to A1 and A2, effects to A3 and A4 etc. 

Roles in TL index

Instead, Roles can be used to perform a similar function: To view clips by roles in the Timeline click on the Timeline Index button or press Shift-Command-2 and choose Roles.  

**Pic 10 Selected Roles

In the Timeline Index window click on a Roles category, such as Dialogue and all the clips assigned the Dialogue Tag highlights across the timeline. 

Step 8 - Collapse Roles

When the Timeline begins to get busy with dialogue, music, B-Roll footage, sound effects etc, use roles to collapse categories that are not required at that moment. 

Collapse Roles

In the Timeline Index simply click on the Minimize Clips button next to the Role categories to collapse all the clips with that role assigned. Clicking the button again expand the clips.

Step 9 - Mute Roles

Another useful task for Roles is the ability to mute clips by their roles. Not unlike muting tracks in legacy versions of Final Cut Pro. 

Mute Roles

Uncheck the Select checkbox next to each role to suspend (mute) those clips and enable a more focused sound edit. Check them again to unmute. 

As you can see Roles are a very valuable addition to Final Cut Pro X, and this is just an introduction. See if you can get to grips with them and look out for more advanced tutorials here on The MPV Hub.

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