FCP X: Auditions Create FAST Previews

Posted on by Larry

Auditions are a feature in Apple Final Cut Pro X that allow us to quickly bundle and compare different clips, voice overs or effects in our projects to see which one works best for our project.

In general, Auditions are created in the Browser and viewed in the Timeline. They can include video, audio, stills and effects. Here’s an overview of how they work.


Here’s the easiest way to use an Audition. In the Browser, set Ins and Outs on the clips you want to test. (This step is optional, as Auditions allow us to use entire clips.) Select the clips you want to bundle into an Audition; the fastest way to select multiple clips is to Command+click them.

NOTE: Clips can be different lengths and Auditions can mix clips that are silent with clips that have sound.

With the clips selected, choose Clip > Audition > Create.

NOTE: While you can create Auditions in the Timeline, the process is limited and awkward. It is far easier to create the Audition in the Browser.

This creates a special clip bundle, called an Audition, that acts like a separate clip in the Browser. (See the Audition “spotlight” icon in the top left corner – that’s how you know its an Audition.)

Creating an Audition does not change any of your source clips. You can modify or remove the In or Out on the source clip without affecting the Audition. The Audition acts like a stand-alone clip.

Edit the Audition clip into the Timeline. Now, the magic can begin.


The whole purpose of an Audition is to quickly preview different clips to see which one works the best in your project. Here’s how.

With the Audition edited into the timeline, choose Clip > Audition > Preview (shortcut: Cntrl + Cmd + Y). Several things happen at once:

In the Audition preview window, click an image to the left or right of the image in the center. This switches the Audition to a different image. Press the space bar to preview this clip.

COOL TIP: To see the contents of an Audition, without automatically playing the timeline, click the Audition icon in the top left corner of the Timeline clip.

Keep cycling through the different clips until you find the one you like, then click the Done button. (The Clip > Audition menu also provides both menu and shortcut options for cycling between clips.)

The Audition clip remains in the timeline, in case you want to change your mind later.

When you are happy with your decision, choose Clip > Audition > Finalize Audition (Shortcut: Shift + Option + Y). This releases all the hidden clips and converts the selected clip in the Audition into the Timeline as a single clip.


You can add clips to an Audition located in the Timeline, by dragging the clip from the Browser, dropping it on top of the Audition clip in the Timeline, and selecting: Add to Audition.

NOTE: You can also replace the currently selected clip by choosing Replace and Add to Audition from this popup menu.

SECOND NOTE: The Clip > Audition menu also provides options for adding to an Audition, but I prefer dragging because, to me, it is more intuitive.


You can easily use Auditions for audio, the process is the same. This is a very useful technique for quickly comparing sound effects, music cues or voice overs to see which “fits” the best.


A hidden feature of an Audition is that we can use it to test different effects on the same clip.

Once a clip exists as an Audition in the Timeline, a new menu appears when you Control+click on the clip; you need to use the Clip > Audition menu to convert a Timeline clip into an Audition the first time. You can also use this contextual menu to preview the Audition, or duplicate the clip, again, to add more effects.

In this example, I’ve applied three different effects to three versions of the same clip. (The three dots at the bottom of the center image indicate the number of copies, or clips, are contained in that Audition.)

To test these different effects:

At this point, you can use Clip > Audition > Preview (shortcut: Cntrl + Cmd + Y) to preview the different effects by selecting them in the Audition preview window.

When you find the effect you like, click Done.

When you are totally happy, choose Clip > Audition > Finalize Audition, or Control+click the Audition clip and select Finalize Audition.


Auditions are a fast, flexible tool that allow us to preview different clips, sounds and/or effects in the Timeline. They are easy to create, simple to use and a worthwhile addition to your Final Cut toolkit.

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One Response to FCP X: Auditions Create FAST Previews

  1. Kasey says:

    Thank you.
    I realized how I initially underused Audition. What I discovered is how valuable it is when I need to view various (potential) clips “in context” of the clips before after it in the timeline. Otherwise, when I try to view various takes or shots in the browser, for a particular moment, sometimes I feel I lose the momentum of the flow by not being in the middle of the storyline.

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