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FCP X: Introducing Auditions

Check out our Final Cut Pro: Editing In The Magnetic Timeline course!

Auditions for me has to be one of the coolest (and there are many Cool things that make my coolest list) features provided in FCP X. It's such a simple idea and yet like most simple ideas it makes a huge difference to my workflow. 

I’m going to get you started on using Auditions, and hopefully you will go on to explore it more to find out how best to utilize it in your editing workflow. 


Step 1 - Adding Clips

Select a 2 second clip in the event browser (it's not important that it be 2 seconds, but for this article that's what we'll be using).

A 2 second clip

A 2-second clip.


Drag the selected clip from the Event Browser to the Timeline and place it over an existing 2 second clip in your edit (it is important that this clip be the same duration as the clip you marked, in this case 2 seconds).

The White Highlight Clip

The White Highlight Clip.


When the original clip turns white, release the new clip. Be careful not to end up with an inserted clip or a connected clip; it's got to turn white. 


Step 2 - Choose to Replace and Audition

From the shortcut menu that pops up, select Replace and add to Audition.

Replace and audition

Replace and audition.


The new clip replaces the old clip, and because they are the same duration (see it was important...for now) the timeline is not affected. 

Replaced 2 second clip

Replaced 2-second clip.


Step 3 - Change your Mind

Press Shift - / to play around the edit, perhaps that wasn’t the right thing to do after all? Let's switch back. 

Spotlight icon

Spotlight icon


Notice the spotlight icon that has appeared next to the clip's name? This icon represents the audition that you just created. Click on the spotlight to open the Audition Clip Container:

Audition container

Audition container


Step 4 - Switching Clips

The original 2-second clip and the new 2-second clip are both visible in the Audition Clip Container. To switch back to the original, click on that clip's thumbnail and choose Done. 

Original Restored

Original Restored


The Auditions Clip Container closes and the original clip is restored. You can repeat steps 3 & 4 as often as you like during the edit. 

Tip: be careful not to spend all day on it, it may prove to be a curse for an indecisive editor.


Step 5 - Adding More Clip Choices

This time select a clip in the Event Browser that is 5 seconds long. 

5 seconds long clip

5-second long clip.


Drag the 5-second clip over the same 2 -second clip you used earlier. When it turns white release the clip, as before.

Add to auditions

Add to auditions.


This time in the shortcut menu, select Add to Audition. The clip is added to the Auditions Clip Container but it is not as a replacement. 


Step 6 - Choosing from the 3 options

There are now 3 clips in the Auditions Clip Container: Two at 2 seconds and one at 5 seconds in length. This time you can swap them around without the use of the Spotlight Icon. 

This time in the timeline, select the clip and press Control-right arrow to cycle through the clips in the Audition Clip Container to the right and Control-left arrow to cycle through the clips in the Audition Clip Container to the left. All in the timeline, so simple and efficient. 

Longer Clip

Longer Clip


Notice what happens when you cycle to the 5 second clip: the Magnetic Timeline shifts all the clips in the edit along automatically, to compensate for the variations in length between each auditioned clip. Wow!

OK, so there you have it, if you don’t love Auditions then make an appointment to see your Doctor first thing! Otherwise keep playing, you won't be disappointed. 

Check out our Final Cut Pro: Editing In The Magnetic Timeline course!

David Smith

David Smith | Articles by this author

David Smith is Scotland's most qualified Apple and Adobe certified trainer. Having completed his education at Edinburgh College of Art's BAFTA winning Film School, David moved straight into TV production, first as a Vision Mixer then quickly becoming, at the age of just 24, a director of live TV studio productions. In 2001 he moved into Higher Education where he became a lecturer in TV Production, specializing in post-production and live studio production. During this time, and working with the support of the BBC, Channel 4 and independent production companies, David was instrumental in the design, development and implementation of industry-approved vocational courses across Scotland's Colleges. In 2006, after working closely with Apple Computers to create a unique multimedia studio for education at the Music and Media Centre in Perth, David became Scotland's first Apple-Certified Trainer for Pro Apps. This led on to David forming the first Apple Authorized Training Centre for Education, north of Manchester. In 2008 David made the move to full time training and joined the ranks at Academy Class, Ltd. where he continues to train industry professionals as a certified trainer across the Adobe Creative Suite and Apple Pro Apps range.

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