[ This article was first published in the March, 2009, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
Updated June, 2009. ]
I got an email recently asking me how to add reverb to an audio clip in Final Cut. The problem the writer had was that the reverb cut off as soon as the clip ended.
The trick is that you need to have the effect of the reverb filter continue after the clip ends. It requires nesting. Here’s how.
Edit the clip you want to add reverb into the Timeline. Move it to a different track to separate it from other clips. Then, add a 3-5 second audio slug after the end of the clip.
NOTE: To add a slug, click the Video tab in the Viewer, then go down to the lower right corner and click the Generator menu – it has a small letter “A” on it. Adjust the length of the slug in the Viewer before editing it down to the timeline.
Select both the audio clip and the following slug and choose Sequence > Nest items.
Name the nest something that will help you remember it. In this case, I called it Clip with Reverb, and click OK.
FCP has replaced your original clip and slug with another sequence, called Clip with Reverb. This process of putting a sequence into another sequence is called nesting.
What nesting allows us to do is to treat a group of clips (either audio or video) as a single clip. In this case, to apply a reverb filter so that when the sound ends in the clip, the reverb will continue, or ring out, over the slug.
The last step is to apply Effects > Audio Filters > Final Cut Pro > Reverberation.
NOTE: To adjust the amount of reverb, OPTION+double-click the sequence to load it into the viewer. To make changes to the audio clip or the slug, double-click the sequence.
Settings for this filter that I like are to adjust the effect mix to around 10 and the type to either Hall (Large) or Thin Plate (Long).
As with any effect in Final Cut, experiment until you find the settings you like.
Andy Wilson, from Scotland, asks:
I have an audio problem which I can’t easily get round and I’d be pleased if you could help. To end an edited clip of a door-slam for example say I need a large plate reverb fading to inf. As there’s no timeline space after the cut for the reverb to die out, how can I add reverb only to this door-slam in FCP/Soundtrack?
Larry replies: Andy, reverb needs to apply to a clip after it ends. This can’t be done by applying the filter to a clip. Instead you need to apply the filter to something that CONTAINS the clip. The only way to do this is to either manipulate the clip in Soundtrack Pro or create a nest in FCP.
1. In Final Cut Pro you can edit the clip into a new sequence. Add black after the clip that is at least as long as the reverb tail you want to create. Then, edit the sequence that contains the clip you want to add reverb to into your project.
Apply the reverb filter to the nested sequence (the one that has your clip) and the reverb will ring out over the black at the end of the clip.
2. Or, send the clip to Soundtrack Pro as part of your mix. Create a reverb submix and apply the filter to the submix track, rather than the track that contains the clip. The reverb will then ring out as long after the clip ends as you want.
Reverb is almost always applied to a submix track for exactly this reason.
UPDATE – May 19, 2009
Charlie Wilson writes:
One comment on the person wondering about reverb and nothing left after the clip, here is something I’ve done for several years that helps with opening the timeline for shuttling clips around for later use when building a scratch sequence and general editing.
When I edied on both AVID and FCP, I noticed that FCP’s timeline is not all open like in AVID. So to fix this, I have a template sequence with a Valid8 bars for 1 minute, then slate and countdown. That’s pretty standard, but what i add is about 10 minutes down (since I edit news features that rarily go any longer) I put a another 3 second clip of bars. This makes the last thing in the timeline NOT freeze at the end or almost fade out. Also I can put alternate possible sound bites or broll down stream and grab them later for use.
Once I showed this to the other editors here at the BBC they all love it and it is standard practice. Also that means I have “best rendering” set in the Sequence Settings that is defualt to Normal.
Larry replies: Thanks!
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