FCPX Change audio connection point

Connection point before adjustment
Connection point before adjustment

Changing Audio Connection in FCPX

Changing the connection point of the audio to a clip in FCPX is easy. That is, once you know how to do it. If not, you’re always guessing where the connection will end up and it’s a problem. To change the connection point of an audio clip, all you do is press

COMMAND+OPT and click on the audio track you want to connect under the video clip you want to connect it to. That’s it.

Connection point after adjustment
Connection point after adjustment

Fixed timelines

Along the same theme, perhaps you need to lock something into position in FCPX. At first, it doesn’t seem possible with the magnetic timeline. Apple giveth, Apple taketh away.

One of the difficulties in understanding how FCPX works is that the magnetic timeline is always floating. At first this seems irritating, as you might want to lock your piece of media at an exact time in the timeline. You can’t directly do that in FCPX. But what you can do is use the Place tool, slide things around and create a gap.

Position tool
Position tool

Then, in the gap, you create a sub-timeline or child timeline and edit in there. That way your main timeline stays fixed but you can work inside of your fixed time, say for a commercial spot or such.

We rarely use the position tool, as the select tool is generally much more powerful and (somewhat) non-destructive. But when you need to place a clip at an exact point, the position tool is what you want.

We’re working on the final editing stages of Antarctic Tears the film and it doesn’t have a fixed time space, but once or twice both the audio connection point and the position tool have come in very handy. FCPX is quite powerful but it can be mystifying when you’re not sure about a “secret” keystroke.

Recording voice overs

AT2035 in case
AT2035 in case

Recording voice overs isn’t as simple as it seems. Apple would have you believe you can just hook your ear buds into the computer, click the Record Voice Over in Final Cut Pro X and everything will be good. Only if you want room noise, the dog next door barking, and lots of static hiss to ruin your otherwise good film.

How about the built in microphone on your $4,000 Macbook Retina? Only if you want to record fan noise, your keyboard strokes and who knows what else.

No, you have to go to some effort to get good audio and a great deal of effort to get excellent audio. People spend a lot of money on it! How do you make a basic voice over that sounds decent?

  • Buy a great mic
  • Buy an awesome audio recorder
  • Build a sound booth [you’re an audio engineer, right?]

10k later, you’ll be set for your first audio book. Maybe.


Don’t believe it? Here are 2 audio samples of what you’ll get if you chose

A bad recording location: Wood floors, cathedral ceiling, lots of windows. This was recorded directly into a Zoom H4n into the stereo mics

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”″]

You can hear the room echo. It’s terrible and makes the voice over difficult to hear.

Now, listen to this audio recorded on a Audio Technica AT2035 connected to the Zoom H4n in mono mode (mono input mode makes it possible to use a single microphone and record on both stereo tracks).

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”″]

You can hear the voice, it’s clear and there’s no high or low frequency echo. Would this be better if it were recorded on a Schoeps CMC641G microphone? Sure! But you’ll be set back $2000 or more just for the microphone.

FCPX 10.1 disable audio without detaching

Double click clip expand
Double click clip expand

FCPX 10.1 Control clip audio without detaching audio

It is possible to disable the audio of a clip without detaching it. We’ve struggled with this some time, as after FCP 7, there seemed to be no way to independently control if the audio of an individual clip is active or not. The wrong way to do this, as suggested by other forums, is to take the audio level and just drag it down to -(infinity). This is a problem because if you’ve already adjusted levels, then you’ll have to fix them again.

Instead, use this simple trick:

Double click the audio track in a clip in the timeline while holding the OPTION key down.

OPTION + double click
OPTION + double click

The audio must be visible in the clip for this to work and you must click the audio waveform to make this work. If you just double click the audio track in the timeline without holding the OPTION key down, you will not be able to independently select the audio track. If you look at the two pictures on the right, the one with regular double click and the one with OPTION double click, you’ll see there is a small speaker icon in the audio track.

This little audio icon lets you know that you can now disable the audio by hitting the ‘V’ key. Then OPTION+double click the audio to collapse it back.

If that doesn’t work, right click on the clip and select Expand Audio/Video, then select the audio track, and select Expand Audio Components. You will now be able to Enable/Disable the audio track without losing your audio edits by just clicking ‘V’.

Before, we would Detach Audio, then create a compound clip, and enable/disable the audio there. The risk was that the audio and video could be misaligned, causing a sync problem. Using the Expand Audio Components with the OPTION+double click or right click, now the tracks stay attached, just like in FCP 7.

Export file names to text

Terminal file listWe have had the need to export the names of files in certain folders for clients or our records. We have two methods to do this:

1. Use the Mac Terminal

2. Use TextWrangler, a free program


To use the terminal, open Terminal (applications>utilities) on your Mac, navigate to the folder you want to make a text file out of the file names in the folder, then type:

ls -R > contents.txt

This command lists all files in the current folder and its subfolders. That file is then placed in the current folder. Hidden files can also be added to the listing with:

ls -a -R > contents.txt


Open TextWrangler. Create a new blank file. In the Edit menu, select Insert / Folder Listing…

Navigate to the folder you want the file name listing from, then select it. All subfolders will be added, too.

Sharing FCPX 10.1 projects

FCPX projectsThere are questions all over the net about how to share Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) 10.1 projects between different sites and editors. There are some discussions about how to use XML to transfer the files, or having shared drive locations. Those all may work, but they’re not useful with a 2 hour film’s worth of media (30+ hours) shared between different sites.

We at TVL Video have been using this technique to work on films between our locations in San Diego and Jackson Hole. The process has worked flawlessly and we thought we’d share the procedure with the rest of the FCPX community.

This procedure is wordy but meant to lay everything out as clearly as possible. Using this process, you will have a file small enough to fit in email, without having to transport video files around. This whole procedure is reliant on both sites have the same video files in the same Library and Event. That’s the one trick to it. As we’ve added files to the project, it’s easy to transfer them around. But there was no practical way to ship 168GB worth of footage around. So we shipped a drive to our Jackson site, brought both up and everything is working perfectly. We can review dailies and share our edits without issue.

Here’s the procedure:

Create a copy of the project to be transferred

– Click the project
– Right click and select Duplicate Project

Rename the duplicated project to the next version
Click and select the new project

File -> Copy Project to Library -> New Library
Select Movies on System Drive
Name the library “Transfer lib Vxxx”, where xxx = current project name
Click Save

In the popup window, make sure Optimized Media and Proxy Media are UNSELECTED
click OK
Wait a few seconds, then cancel any rendering activity
Select the new library
Right click on the created library and close it out of FCPX


Go to finder, find the created transfer library
Select transfer library
Right click on transfer library, select Show Package Contents
Go to the event folder (probably just a date)
Go to the Original Media folder
Delete all media out of that folder
Empty the trash

Go back up to the Movies folder or wherever you created the transfer library
select the library
Right click on the library
Compress “library name”
This creates a ZIP file that can be emailed
Delete the transfer library so only the zip file remains

Email or WeTransfer the ZIP file

Drop received ZIP file into the Movies folder
Right click on ZIP file and click “Open”
This will create an unzipped Library file
Delete the received ZIP file

Open FCPX 10.1
File -> Open Library -> Other
Click the Locate… button
Find the transfer library and open it

At this point, all of the clips will be broken. That’s okay.

Copy (click and drag) the video project to the Event folder (Antarctic Film)

When the copy control pop up appears, make sure Optimized and Proxy media are UNCHECKED
Click OK

Close the transfer library (right click, select close)
Open the transferred project in the Event folder

The project should now relink to all of the media, the project thumbnail may still show broken links, Eventually it seems to recover

In finder, delete the Transfer Library file (to eliminate confusion)

Good luck and enjoy sharing FCPX projects.


Snow King Pond Skim 2014

We shot a short video at the Snow King pond skim on March 16, 2014. It was a great time running with a few cameras and putting together a video. One of our cameras received a thorough soaking during the shooting but is none the worse for wear. The Nikon D800 performed admirably!

The pond skim event was for skiers, snowboarders, tubers, sledders and anyone else who thought they could skim across water.

Apolo Creed
Apolo Creed

Mavericks 10.9.2 and Black Magic

Black Magic Ultrastudio Mini Recorder
Black Magic Ultrastudio Mini Recorder

If you are using the Black Magic UltraStudio Mini Recorder and have updated to Mavericks 10.9.2, you will find that your HDMI settings have been reset. As soon as the update came out, we added it to our machines in hopes that it would fix some of our FCPX woes, though it doesn’t look like it.

Instead, what we ended up with is a non-functioning HDMI to Thunderbolt converter. Very quickly we figured out that the only thing that had changed on the machine was the Mavericks update. So, we went into the System Preferences, into BlackMagic Design and, sure enough, the Set Input setting had reverted back to SDI Video and SDI Audio. As soon as we changed the settings, we were back in business and recording off the Nikon D800 for some demo work.

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 4.56.27 PM


People complain about this little wonder box because they have to go in and change the settings so it works with the HDMI rather than the SDI input. The people with SDI cameras have no issues, so there are never any negative reviews about this.

In any case, we were able to produce an entire video using the Nikon D800 and the Black Magic UltraStudio Mini Recorder. It allowed us to record directly to the computer in ProRes 422, something that camera does not do when recording directly to a compact flash or SD card. This little converter was well worth the money for us.

Setting change
Setting change

The only problem we have run into is it occasionally loses sync when disabling the camera and then restarting it. All you have to do is switch from Log and Capture to Playback and then back. It seems to work every time. Compared to some other solutions, this really has been a salvation for us to shoot very high quality without the need for an external recorder like the Ninja or Aja Ki.

The laptop is not practical in the field, for the most part, as a Ninja might be, but in the studio, recording directly to the computer has made things so much faster. We can review and check our work immediately, without having to unplug a drive, swap cards, or anything. It’s right there, on the computer, ready for review.

Now all we have to do is watch out when the latest Mac Maverick’s update comes out and changes our settings.

Mac OS 10.9 slow finder and open / save dialog box workaround

After upgrading to Mac OS 10.9, Mavericks, our computers have been running slowly when using Finder or using

File open dialog
File open dialog

the File – Save/Open dialog box in any application. It took up to 30 seconds to get files to show. It was a real time waster. In our business, time is everything.

Our first workaround was to close then re-open the application. Though it worked, that was pretty wasteful and miserable. So we tried trashing the Finder preferences file:

Preferences library
Preferences library

It can be found in Library – Preferences. You can get there by opening Finder, selecting the menu option Go, then holding the OPT key, then selecting the Library option. Navigating down to Preferences, you can find the file. Just delete it. Doing so will reset the Finder preferences and, hopefully, fix the Finder slowness for you.

That didn’t work for us. A general solution to any Mac problem is to trash the preferences file. It’s inconvenient but it usually works. Just not in this case.

Instead, we learned that the workaround was to modify one of the system files. If you aren’t sure what you are doing, take your computer to a professional. We aren’t responsible if something goes wrong(!).

Here are the steps we followed to fix the issue:

Nano interface
Nano interface
  • Open a Terminal window
  • Type  sudo nano /etc/auto_master
  • Enter the administrator password
  • Find the line that says this: /net -hosts -nobrowse,hidefromfinder,nosuid
  • Use the arrow keys and add a pound sign (#) before the / character
  • Now you have  #/net -hosts -nobrowse,hidefromfinder,nosuid
  • Click Control+O to save the file
  • Click Control+X to exit the Nano editor
  • Type in sudo automount -vc
  • This will flush the cache

Now, go to a File Open/Save dialog and see what happens. It fixed the lag for us completely.

It’s important to note that you have made this modification, so when the next Mavericks updates come out (10.9.2 or higher) and there is a fix for this problem, you will have to remove this workaround. Otherwise, something might not work. We’re not sure what might break, but we’ll deal with that and post it here when the time comes.

Production case ready

We have the product case ready for retail sale for the video Introduction to Off-Camera

Strobe intro case back
Strobe intro case

Strobe Flash Photography. It is always satisfying to see the case with the slip cover and the DVD inside. With the barcode, it looks like a finished product for retail sale.

It’s exciting to have this latest video out. We have already made sales in Jackson, WY, to students of Aaron Linsdau’s “Introduction to Strobe photography” class at the Jackson Hole Art Association.

Strobe case back
Strobe case back

This video would not have been possible without the production expertise of the entire TVL Video staff.

We can’t wait for it to be available for video streaming and DVD purchases on Amazon as well. Updates for this will be posted in this blog as they become available.

Presale prices are still available on our website. Once the video appears on Amazon and through our other retail channels, we will no longer be able to offer this 33% off discount. Take advantage while you can.

Add a PayPal button to WordPress

To add a Paypal button to WordPress, you do not need a plugin or any other tool. All you need is the logo from paypal buttonPaypal and the email code to do it. What’s that you ask?

Read on.

Follow these steps and you can add your own Buy It Now or Donate button to your WordPress website or blog.

How to add a Paypal button to your WordPress site  or blog

Create a Paypal button.

Do not check these options, otherwise this will not work.

no options


Create the button.

Then you will see two options:

email options


Select the email option and copy the text. If you do not see the email tab, you have selected an option that does not allow email links, such as custom text fields or the like. You have to make a very stripped-down button.

Then either copy a Paypal button and insert it as a picture into your page or switch to Text edit and enter the codes found at the bottom of the page:

If you use the text edit to enter the button picture URL, like

<img alt="Buy Now Button with Credit Cards" src="" />

Then switch back to Visual mode.

Then here’s the magic to make this work. In Visual edit mode, click the button picture and select link:

Create link


And then enter the URL you copied from the Email tab in Paypal.

That’s it. You will now have a secure Paypal link with a button in your WordPress page. No plugins, fighting with website code or anything else. WordPress does not support forms, so you must either use plugins or this very easy method. Copying the regular code Paypal generates and entering it into the WordPress Text mode does not work.

This technique does.