Finding your mono channels in FCPX

Posted on September 19, 2012


Imagine you’re shooting an interview on a camera with two XLR inputs, and you have each assigned to a separate mic. It’s a common scenario: one mic for natural sound, another for something else, generally a lavaliere mic. FCP will often interpret the video in these situations as having stereo audio, but that’s wrong; rather than a true stereo pair, you’ve actually got two mono channels. How can you adjust the levels of each of these mono channels in FCPX to make the mix work? At first, it might seem impossible, but it’s really not.

FCP7 made it easy to see how many audio channels you had, as well as their stereo/mono relationship.

FCPX collapses video and audio into a single blob.

If you’re a “legacy” FCP user, you know what to do: disable Stereo Pair under the Modify menu, then adjust the volume of each channel as you please. Pretty straight-forward, pretty easy.

But when you bring that same clip into FCPX, things look a little different. The clip comes in as one of FCPX’s signature bubbles–audio and video collapsed together into a single media blob, without even the suggestion that the two channels exist independently

Well, they do. You just have to know how to get to them. Here’s what to do.

  1. First select the clip in the timeline.
  2. Open the inspector and select “Audio” from the inspector menu at the top. At the bottom, under Channel Configuration, select “Dual Mono” from the drop-down menu.
  3. With your clip selected in the timeline, right click and choose “Break Apart Clip Items” from the popup.
  4. And that’s it: You should now see each channel or mic input as a separate, controllable audio channel.

With the clip selected, open the Audio Inspector. Under “Channel Configuration,” select “Dual Mono” from the drop-down.

Right click the clip and choose “Break Apart Clip Items” from the popup.