Roles overview

Roles are metadata text labels that you assign to clips in the Browser or the Timeline, and they provide a flexible and powerful way to manage your editing workflow. You can use roles in Final Cut Pro to organize clips in your events and projects, control the appearance of the Timeline, and export separate video or audio files (also known as media stems) for distribution, audio mixing, or post-production.

Role selected in Timeline Index, and clips with that role assigned appearing highlighted in Timeline

When you import clips (video, audio, or still images), Final Cut Pro analyzes existing clip metadata to assign one of five default roles to the video and audio components of each clip: Video, Titles, Dialogue, Music, and Effects. For example, if a source media file has an iTunes “genre” metadata tag, Final Cut Pro assigns the Music role to the resulting clip. Final Cut Pro assigns the Video and Dialogue roles to clips that contain both video and audio.

You can use roles for the following workflows:

  • Reassign roles: You can view and reassign clip roles in the Timeline Index, the Browser, the Info inspector, or the Modify menu. See View and reassign roles. You can also create custom roles and subroles to further organize your clips.

  • View clips by role: In the Timeline Index, you can organize clips by role, turn roles on or off, and highlight or minimize clips for viewing in the Timeline. For example, you could easily identify all your dialogue clips and play them back in isolation from other audio clips. See View clips by role in the Timeline.

  • Export media stems: You can export roles as media stems in a combined, multitrack QuickTime file, or as separate audio or video files. During the export process you can assign mono, stereo, or surround output for your audio channels. See Destinations preferences.