Adding audio and video transitions between two clips is as easy as selecting the edit point and typing Command+T. This applies the default one-second cross-dissolve to the video, with a one-second cross-fade to the audio.
However, things get trickier when you want to apply a video-only, or audio-only, transition. When I was first taught the program, I was shown how to detach the audio from the video, convert it to a connected storyline, then add the transition.
While this works, it has three large problems:
1. It runs the risk of knocking audio out of sync with video.
2. The audio cannot be re-attached to the video, only combined into a compound clip
3. It takes a lot of steps.
However, there’s an easier way and I want to show you what that is.
Here are two clips in the Primary storyline, to which I want to apply an audio-only cross-fade. I selected both clips – you can’t just select the edit point, you need to select the clips.
Choose Clip > Expand Audio/Video or type Control+S. This expands the clip so we can see both the audio (bottom) and video (top) portions of the clip. However, the audio and video are still linked; if the clip is moved, both audio and video move together with it in sync.
Drag the Out of the out-going clip to the right. Notice that the two audio clips now overlap, though the video edit has not moved.
Drag the In of the in-coming clip to the left until you have the overlap you want.
Two key points:
1. Since each clip is adjusted individually, transitions can be asymmetrical; you can move one side of the edit more than another.
2. Dragging the audio of an expanded clip does not affect the video, or the video edit point.
From the edge of each clip, drag the fade handle to determine the length of the fade on each clip.
To change the shape of the fade, Control+click the fade handle to display the fade shape popup menu.
Linear is best for fades to/from black.
S-Curve offers an “ease-in/ease-out” to the fade.
+3 dB is best for transitions between audio clips
-3 dB is best when you are trying to avoid a pop at the beginning or ned of the transition.
Use these suggestions as guides, whichever transition sounds best is, obviously, the best choice.
Select the fade shape you want to use – you can apply a different fade shape to each side of the transition – and FCP X displays the results in the shading at the end of each clip. In this example, I’ve added an S-curve to the top clip and a -3 dB curve to the bottom clip. (In real-life, I’m either using the +3 dB or -3 dB curve to most of my edits.)
I really like the speed, and flexibility, this method offers to improving the sound of our audio transitions, without running the risk of clips going out of sync.
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