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Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro

COW Library : Apple Final Cut Pro Legacy Tutorials : Jiggy Gaton : Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro
CreativeCOW presents Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro -- Apple Final Cut Pro Tutorial


Phoenix Studios
Kathmandu Nepal
CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


The COW's Jiggy Gaton owns an audio studio -- but has created a tutorial for those of us who don't have an audio studio within earshot when editing video in Final Cut Pro. He's not sure if he's being lazy, or just efficient, to use an integrated Soundtrack Pro project inside FCP. Either way, read on to learn how to do it yourself.



This tutorial was created for those of us who don't have an audio studio within earshot when editing video in Final Cut Pro. As a studio owner, I do have a full Protools/Logic 8 setup at my disposal, but that means that I actually have to get out of my chair to get some audio processed. On my lazy days, I just do some of my audio editing within FCP, without ever leaving the timeline. There are many cases when I don't need an audio engineer nor a $1000 AKG microphone to get the job done.

Read on to find out how you too can be this lazy (or efficient, depending on how you see it) and expand FCP's audio editing capabilities using an integrated Soundtrack Pro project.

Tools Needed

  • Apple Final Cut Pro Studio 2 with Soundtrack Pro installed

Overview

From Final Cut Pro to Soundtrack Pro Soundtrack Pro From Soundtrack Pro to Final Cut Pro
Step 1: Using an FCP project we'll create a Soundtrack Pro project right on the timeline using our video's audio tracks. Step 2: Once in Soundtrack Pro, let's do some basic audio editing and then return to our timeline with just a click or two. Step 3: Back in FCP, let's listen to the changes and then return to Soundtrack Pro if needed.


Step 1: Create an Audio Project right on the FCP Timeline

There are many times when you just need a quick edit to your audio track and FCP Studio users are in luck - just select the track you need to edit and right-mouse the tracks, choosing Send To > Soundtrack Pro Audio File Project. You are then asked where and how to save your new audio project.

Create a Soundtrack Pro project on the Final Cut Pro timeline


Alternatively, you can select just a portion of the track to be edited (Send only referenced media) by specifying the in and out points of the track in question. Best to save the new project with clip metadata, as Apple recommends, and to leave the filenames at the defaults for easy organisation. A new Soundtrack Pro project is created [audiotrackname (sent).stap] and Soundtrack Pro opens up, ready for you to edit the new project.

Tip: If you select Send To > Soundtrack Pro Multitrack Project, you have the option of creating a multitrack project with included video preview right off the bat. This is useful if this is a new FCP project and you know, for example, you are going to later add a voice or soundtrack to your video. Use this option to save time there!

Soundtrack Pro Multitrack project

Save the project with metadata



Step 2: Make your tracks sing!

Once Soundtrack Pro opens and displays your new audio track or multitrack project, you can edit at will, doing all those things that otherwise you would have asked your audio engineer to do: adjust amplitude, reduce noise, add fade-ins and outs, etc., without ever even leaving your video-editing bay. If you chose to open a multitrack project, now is the perfect time to record a voiceover or mix in a soundtrack from your favourite iTunes number.

Multitrack project opened in Soundtrack Pro

When done with your audible improvements, simply close Soundtrack Pro remembering to select Save when asked. :-)

Not only is this a big time saver, but it saves you from doing any audio editing using FCP's rudimentary audio editing tools.

Note: The first time you round-trip like this for each FCP project, you are prompted with a window to change your preferences in this regard: I always use the default in these cases of ambiguous apples

Soundtrack Pro default preferences

Step 3 - Back at the Timeline...

Once Soundtrack Pro closes you should see the changes immediately. If you were editing an audio track, that track has been replaced with the new Soundtrack Pro project - check your bin to see, it's named [audiotrackname# (sent)]. If you had chosen to create a multitrack audio project in Step 1, then you will see a new Sequence added to your bin instead, also named likewise [sequencename# (sent)]. Double click that sequence in the bin to edit further in FCP.

To re-edit your embedded Soundtrack Pro projects, just right-mouse the item in the bin or on the timeline, and select Open in Editor. FCP knows what to do, and in a moment or two you are back where you were during Step 2 of this tutorial.

Select "Open in Editor" to return to Soundtrack Pro

For the geeks in the crowd, we call this "roundtripping," but not to be confused with anything we used to do in the '60s.

Summary

In this tutorial you have successfully used a round-tripping method of editing an audio track on the FCP timeline, without ever leaving your chair. If you got stuck, or need some clarification, let me know in the Comments, below. You can also find me in any of The COW's Final Cut Studio forums (including Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro) to get more info or to suggest another tutorial.






Jiggy Gaton is an expat living in Kathmandu Nepal, running a small A/V studio with family and dog. He is an author/cartoonist, filmmaker, and overall geek from way back. Not the kind of geek who would ever be sitting in a Star Trek Captain's chair - more likely to be sitting on the back of a 500cc Royal Enfield Bullet somewhere out in the middle of the Himalayas - but only when he's not behind his Macbook Pro hacking out whatever needs to be done in the studio.

And hey, if you've ever wondered what it's like to run a studio in Kathmandu, check out Jiggy's COW Blog, as well as more great stuff by the rest of the herd.



Comments

Re: Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro
by Seth Pepper
Right after selecting 90% of the my audio tracks to be sent from FCP to STP for round-tripping, I realized that I didn't want to do it now. So I shut off my computer, and when I reopened the project I was shocked that the audio in FCP was no longer audible - it had changed to a light grey/white color shade in the timeline with no more audio wavelengths and the now has a "(sent)" added to the name. But no audio. FCP tries to reconnect the audio at the the startup and wants to find all these render sent files in the trash which of course is no longer. Can I at least get the audio back to the original state before the "sent" round-tripping? Please help.
Re: Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro
by Tobi Schuhmacher
Hey Jiggy! I'm using STP to remove hiss from a project with several audio timelines. In FCP I select the sequence and "Send to Mulitrack Project". then in STP using "Set noise print,reduce noise...". It works and sounds well, but then when I go to save the project and switch over to FCP the "updated file" does not replace the old one. Also there apears no new file (blablah (send)) in the browser window.

When I pick only one audio sequence in the FCP timeline and select: "Send to Audio Project" and work on it in STP, save it and go over to FCP then its shown in the browser as blablah (send) but its not updated, neither the new file in the browser got the changes i just made in STP.

Any ideas?
@Tobi Schuhmacher
by Jiggy Gaton
Hi there, it seems to be working fine here, so not sure what to say. But looking back about 5 months ago, it had stopped working but then started working again, and at the time I attributed that to an OS update that broke it, then another fixed it, as that's all I ever change on this test bed. Are u using the latest of everything? Cheers,
jigs
Ps. I don't use STP much anymore as soon as I realized that I could just spit out the audio, give it to my brother who is a Protools wizard, and get back perfect audio from him and his rig everytime.

Phoenix Studios Nepal: A small A/V Production House in Kathmandu.
Re: Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro
by Jiggy Gaton
Multi-track project roundtrippin is now working, see it happen here in my new tut:
http://library.creativecow.net/gaton_jiggy/dialogue-fix_soundtrack_fcp/1
Not sure why it's working now, but it is. I noticed it takes a bit of time to complete the trip, but it does make the journey. Perhaps one of the recent OSX updates did the trick?
Jigs

Phoenix Studios Nepal: A small A/V Production House in Kathmandu.
Re: Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro
by Jiggy Gaton
Just got a report that "Send to Mulitrack Project" does not rountrip as "Send to Audio Project" does. I confirmed, and it dunna work. Perhaps someone can explain why...cheers,
jigs

Phoenix Studios Nepal: A small A/V Production House in Kathmandu.
Hi Jiggy! This tip is great,
by Mario Vizcarra
Hi Jiggy! This tip is great, I could fix lots of problems with my audio, but here is the problem I had. I was working on an 30 sec. intro for a TV show with 5 audio tracks that need to be sincronyzed with the video, so I did choose to work with Multitrack Editor, no problems sending to STP and fixing things but after saving and finding my new seq.sent in FCP I found out that none of the changes I did in STP where on my new seq.sent. I did work around it by importing the tracks from STP but I spent some time sincronyzing again. Do you have any idea what could be wrong? why the new seq.sent doesn't show any of the changes from STP?
Non-Destructive?
by Dave Wilkinson
In my experience, STP Audio File projects rewrite the original audio files. Once saved there is no undo. Is this still true?
I once had a bad wind problem with interview tracks. My efforts to fix in STP sounded worse, but this was not clear until the Audio File Project had been saved.
I had to re-import the field tapes to restore them. Since then I've stayed away from STP.
Can the saves be non-destructive, as they are in FCP? I usually have no need for the video preview.
Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro
by Jiggy Gaton
Tim, I am very happy u like the guide. Your problem does sound like a permissions one on the external drive. The rountripping code is very similar to that used to roundtrip Motion files, so after you set your permissions on the external directory that you are saving files to "let anyone do it." and it still fails you can try and roundtrip a motion file to isolate the problem. See my guide on that also here on the COW is its not obvious by now how to rountrip motion projects.

Well, let us know how it goes! I have used this procedure on almost a dozen different boxes now without a hitch. But I always have permissions set to "let anyone do what they want" as we work in a very closed environment. Cheers,
Jigs
Success! by Tim Vause
by Jiggy Gaton
Glad u got it fixed. if lots of users are using one machine, then preferences manager is really useful there, as prefs can be saved on a project basis. no more surprises left by the last person. well, cheers!
jigs
Success!
by Tim Vause
Ah, finally got something to work, somewhat of a workaround. Exported the whole project to a .mov (hiss and all) threw it on a thumb drive (project only 6gb) and moved on to my personal Macbook pro. Open that file up in STP and performed the same noise reduction process and it finally saved! Moved it back to my work comp and dropped it into the timeline and I'm printing to video as I type. Sounds PERFECT! Thanks for all your help, had to get this to air by the weekend so I was really just madly trying anything and everything. Now, without time constraints, I'm going to use your other tut to isolate the problem, fix it (hopefully or I might be back!) and also use the preference manager once I get it working. I'm not the only person using this editor and different external drives are constantly being used and ejected on this thing everyday so I have a feeling that that could be part of the problem. Pref Manager sounds like the perfect solution to restore settings back to where they should be when I'm using this box. Thanks a whole lot my friend! This is the 3rd time the Cow has helped me immensely! You guys are great and thanks again! Thanks once more for good measure!
Can't make last leg of roundtrippin'!
by Jiggy Gaton
Tim, it's probably not that kinda permissions error...the disk permission thingy is only for installed apps and not folders on external drives. Go to Get Info and look at the permissions there to see if it makes sense. If you set ur destination dirs to "drwxrwxrwx" (777) things may improve.
Can't make last leg of roundtrippin'!
by Tim Vause
Thank you my friend! Well, its a project on my work comp so I will work on repairing the disk permissons when I get in there around 3(gmt-5) so I let you know how it turns out! Thanks again!
Tim, I know, I hate when
by Jiggy Gaton
Tim, I know, I hate when things break in FCP, cause the fix us not usually simple. But did you try this tut and get the same results: http://library.creativecow.net/articles/gaton_jiggy/fcp_motion.php
That might give you a clue on what's broken. If motion won't round trip that would rule out STP and point more to FCP or the file system. Anyway, once you do get it working, try this program to back up all your preferences for the next time things go wacky, and then you can just restore all your settings to working order:
http://www.digitalrebellion.com/blog/posts/preference_manager_2.0.3_release...
Its free and works great!
Can't make last leg of roundtrippin'!
by Tim Vause
Well I believe I fixed the permissions within finder. I went to support.apple.com and figured it out there, I didn't wanna burden you too much with that nonsense. But after that I still get the same error. Should I mess with the permissions thru the terminal? I cant imagine that makes much difference. My only other thought is to move the entire project and all it files over to local HDD and try working with it there. I hate when things that should take 5 minutes take 5 hours. Thanks in advance!
Can't make last leg of roundtrippin'!
by Tim Vause
Could you explain that last part in a little more detail? The part about "If you set ur destination dirs to "drwxrwxrwx" (777) things may improve." I not sure I know how to do that. Sorry, I know we are getting into technical stuff which isn't the purpose of this site, but if you could point me in the right direction that would be great!
Can't make last leg of roundtrippin'!
by Tim Vause
Hello Jiggy! Great guide! I'm using this method to use STP to remove hiss from 3 clips using "reduce noise..." in STP. So here is my dilemma. I send the clip from FCP to STP no problem. STP opens up and I remove the hiss (Set noise print, then use reduce noise..) and get it to sound great, but then when I go to save the project so it applies itself to FCP, it says that I cannot save it! Just a dialog that pops up and says "Blahblah.stmp cannot be saved." ??? Mind you I am working off an external drive (like most), so I am uncertain if this is a problem with FCP and STP or if this is and error with my file system or something (disk permissions??) Any thoughts would be greatly appreciatted. Thanks in advance!
Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro
by Jiggy Gaton
I see now what u mean: try unchecking "Include Background Video" and see if the tracks come in ok that way. If FCP has a problem with the video, it will kick out errors and stop the process. I'm like u, i use this method for quick fixes to audio - anything needed more then that, it goes to Protools (which also struggles somedays if you want a video preview:)
Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro
by Michael Cummins
I need to be more descriptive. When I select the talents audio clips and the music bed, then select "send to multitrack project", I get the error. Sending to Audiofile project works fine and is what I used to get around it. I've not really had a lot of experience using Soundtrack. I really only use it for more advanced EQing, reducing noise, and bumping up levels.
Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro
by Jiggy Gaton
Hi Mike! Not sure where you are in this tut, or IF u are when you get those errors - at no point here are u "writing" out any audio or video per se. In the FCP system settings (for this tut) you do have to have your audio editor set to Soundtrack Pro.app: Click Final Cut Pro, System Settings, External Editors, Audio Files, Set... Let us know more if you are still having trouble!
Jigs
Make Your FCP Timelines Sing By Roundtripping to Soundtrack Pro
by Michael Cummins
Once the status bar pops up in FCP and begins to write the video and audio. Once it reaches 100%, an error box pops up saying "Error sending selection to Soundtrack Pro", and after I click that one away another pops up saying "General error". Any ideas?


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