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FCP X vs. Adobe Premiere, Part 4: Crossfading Audio

Great editing requires one thing more than probably anything else: great audio. Both FCP X and Adobe Premiere offer a great range of tools and methods to keep your edits sounding great. This article will look at how both applications compare when adding and editing an audio crossfade.


FCP X Step 1 - Getting a better look

Open the Clip Appearance button and from the options select the second button. 

Clip Appearance


This gives the Audio more emphasis in the timeline. Next choose View > Expand Audio/Video > For All

Expanded audio


Now the Clip Audio in the timeline is more visible and so easier to edit.


FCP X Step 2 - Assistants for monitoring Audio

Click to the right of the Timecode display in the Dashboard to activate FCPX's Audio Meters. 

Dashboard


The audio meters help with the visual monitoring of sound levels. To help further with the audible monitoring of sound levels, try switching off Audio Scrubbing by pressing Shift-S. This will keep distraction to a minimum.


FCP X Step 3 - Create a Crossfade

Create an overlap by dragging the in point of the audio from the second clip back into the first, by about 2 seconds. The magnetic timeline really helps here: dragging one clip over another to create an overlap is not something most editing packages would allow. However in FCP X the audio collision is avoided as the audio will move down to another "track" automatically.

The selected clip and handles


Select the outgoing clip in the Project Timeline. From the top corner of the selected clip, grab the handle and drag it to the left (into the clip). 

Audio Fade


This action creates the outgoing audio fade. The length of the handle dictates the length of the fade (for anyone used to working with Soundtrack Pro, this will feel very familiar). 

Second fade


Repeat the audio fade on the incoming clip. 


FCP X Step 4 - Choose Fade Style

Right-click on an Audio Fade handle and from the pop-up window select a type of fade. Of the 4 options, Logarithmic is FCP X's default. 

Fade Style options


Repeat this action for both fades. Then press Shift - / to play around the edit.


FCP X Step 5 - Removing Crossfades

To remove a crossfade, grab the crossfade handle again and drag it back to the start/end of the clip. Do this for both clips.

Crossfade gone!


Premiere Pro Step 1 - Set up for Audio

On the Sequence timeline click the disclosure arrow next to each audio track to expand its view and reveal levels: 

Premiere's Audio Levels


Next set the Audio Tracks Display Styles to Show Waveform.

Show waveform


Premiere Step 2 - Create an Audio Overlap

To create an audio overlap grab the audio track from the second clip and drag it down to Audio Track 2. Then use the trim handle to expand the clips and create an overlap.

Overlap


Step 3 - Add Audio Fades

Open the Effects Panel, then navigate to the Audio Transitions and then Crossfade folders. 

Effects Folders


There are 3 types of crossfade to choose from: Constant Gain, Constant Power and Exponential Fade. Choose Constant Power. 

Crossfade added to out


Drag the Constant Power crossfade over the out point of the first Audio Clip and place it. A purple marker appears on the clip: this is the first crossfade. 


Premiere Step 4 - Modify Crossfade

To change the duration of the crossfade grab one end and drag it back until it's the desired length. 

Drag length


For a more elegant option, double-click on the Purple Audio Crossfade and open the Effects Control Panel: 

Duration in Effects Control

 

The duration of the Crossfade is indicated by the orange duration timecode. Click on the timecode and type the desired duration instead. 


Premiere Step 5 - Create second crossfade

Add a similar crossfade to the start of the second clip's audio by dragging another Constant Power Crossfade from the Effects panel to its head. Resize to the desired length, this time by dragging to the right. 

Second crossfade


Play back the sequence to hear the crossfades. 

Tip: Premiere Pro has no default 'Play Around' shortcut, but you can assign one yourself using the Keyboard Customization tool.


Step 6 - Removing Crossfades

Select one of the Purple Crossfades in the timeline and press Delete, repeat this for both Crossfades. 

Crossfade gone


As you can see there is a similar workflow for both applications. Final Cut Pro X's Magnetic Timeline probably gives it an advantage in this particular instance however. 


Learn more with the full range of FCP X tutorials here and Adobe Premiere tutorial(s) here.


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.

Comments

Oct 11, 2011
funwithstuff
Good to see a comparison.

Another FCP X method: use Motion to create a new Transition. Change nothing, but simply Save as "Audio-only Transition". Launch FCP X. Apply the transition where needed.

There will be no visual transition, but the audio will crossfade, and the style and length of the crossfade can be adjusted.
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