Adjust audio effects using keyframes

With Final Cut Pro, you can use keyframes to create simple changes to audio over time, such as fading the volume or an effect in or out in the middle of a clip.

You place keyframes at specific points in a clip to change the parameter value of an audio enhancement or effect at those points. For example, you can keyframe specific points for volume or for an effect such as reverb or distortion.

You can set keyframes to adjust a clip’s volume directly in the Timeline or in the Audio inspector. To see keyframes in the Timeline for all other effects, you need to display the Audio Animation Editor.

For information about keyframes for video clips, see Adjust video effects using keyframes.

Add keyframes to a clip

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Select the clip in the Timeline, and choose Clip > Show Audio Animation (or press Control-A).

    • Control-click the clip in the Timeline, and choose Show Audio Animation from the shortcut menu.

    If you’re adding keyframes for volume adjustment only, go to step 4.

    Each effect in the Audio Animation Editor has a separate area for adding keyframes.

    Audio Animation Editor showing effects applied to clip in Timeline

    Some effects have more than one parameter and allow you to add keyframes to individual parameters separately. They appear in the Audio Animation Editor with a triangle next to the effect’s name or in the Audio inspector as additional parameter controls.

  2. Select the effect for which you want to add keyframes in either the Audio Animation Editor or the Effects section of the Audio inspector.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To see expanded parameters in the Audio Animation Editor: Click the triangle to choose an individual parameter from the pop-up menu, or choose All to see all keyframes.

    • To see expanded parameters in the Audio inspector: Click the disclosure triangle next to Parameters for the effect.

  4. Do one of the following for each effect parameter:

    • In the Audio Animation Editor (or the audio clip for volume only): Option-click (or press Option-K) at a point on the horizontal effect control where you want to add a keyframe.

      Keyframes for volume adjustment appear as white diamonds.

      Audio Animation Editor showing keyframes for volume adjustment

      For effects with more than one parameter, keyframes for the selected parameter appear as white diamonds, while keyframes for other parameters appear gray.

      Audio Animation Editor showing active and inactive keyframes

      Keyframes appear as white diamonds for all parameters when you choose All from the effect pop-up menu. Double diamonds indicate that you added a keyframe for more than one parameter at that point.

      Audio Animation Editor showing keyframes for multiple parameters at same point
    • In the Audio inspector: Position the playhead in the Timeline at the point where you want to add a keyframe, and click the Keyframe button (or press Option-K).

      Keyframe button for effect in Audio inspector

      Once you add a keyframe, the Keyframe button changes to yellow, indicating that the playhead currently sits on this keyframe.

      When you move the playhead in the Timeline, arrows appear next to the Keyframe button in the Audio inspector to indicate which side of the playhead has keyframes. To go to the previous keyframe, click the left arrow or press Option-Semicolon (;). To go to the next keyframe, click the right arrow or press Option-Apostrophe (’).

      Arrow button next to Keyframe button for effect in Audio inspector
  5. Add keyframes as needed.

    Tip: After you’ve added one keyframe, you can add another automatically by moving the playhead in the Timeline and then adjusting the effect parameter (or the Volume slider when keyframing volume) in the Audio inspector.

Add keyframes automatically across a selected area

For volume adjustments to a clip in the Timeline, you can use the Range Selection tool to add keyframes automatically across a selected range.

If an effect appears in the Audio Animation Editor with a disclosure button, you can use either the Select or Range Selection tool to add keyframes across a selected area.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Select the clip in the Timeline, and choose Clip > Show Audio Animation (or press Control-A).

    • Control-click the clip in the Timeline, and choose Show Audio Animation from the shortcut menu.

    If you’re adding keyframes for volume adjustment only, go to step 3.

  2. Select an effect, and click the disclosure button to expand it in the Audio Animation Editor.

    Disclosure button for effect in Audio Animation Editor
  3. In the Timeline, do one of the following:

    • If you’re adjusting volume only: Choose Range Selection from the Tools pop-up menu in the toolbar (or press R).

      Range selection tool in Tools pop-up menu

      The pointer changes to the Range Selection tool icon .

    • If you’re adjusting an effect in the Audio Animation Editor: Choose either Select or Range Selection from the Tools pop-up menu in the toolbar (or press A for Select, or R for Range Selection).

  4. Drag across the area where you want to adjust the volume or effect.

    Range being selected with Range Selection tool
  5. Adjust the volume or effect within the range by dragging the effect’s horizontal control up or down.

    Horizontal control within range being dragged to adjust volume or effect

    Keyframes are automatically created along the adjustment points within the range.

    Resulting keyframes shown in Audio Animation Editor

Adjust keyframes in the Audio Animation Editor

You can move keyframes left or right in the Audio Animation Editor. If an effect appears with a disclosure button, you can expand the effect view and move keyframes up or down to change the parameter value.

  1. Select a keyframe.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To change its position in time, drag a keyframe left or right.

      As you drag, the timecode value appears.

      Keyframe being dragged in Audio Animation Editor, with timecode value appearing above keyframe
    • If an effect appears with a disclosure button, click the button (or double-click the effect) to expand the effect view.

      Disclosure button for effect in Audio Animation Editor

      With the effect view expanded, you can drag the keyframe up or down to change the effect’s parameter value.

      Keyframe being dragged in Audio Animation Editor to change parameter value

      To add another keyframe, Option-click (or press Option-K) at a point on the effect control where you want to add the keyframe. To add a keyframe and change the effect’s parameter value at the same time, Option-click while dragging the effect control up or down.

Adjust keyframes in the Audio inspector

For many effects, you adjust the parameter value of individual keyframes using the Audio inspector.

  1. Select a keyframe or position the playhead on a keyframe, and adjust the parameter value in the Audio inspector.

  2. To change the value at the next keyframe, go to the next keyframe and adjust the value again.

Adjust all keyframes at once in the Audio Animation Editor

  • Hold down the Command and Option keys, and drag either a keyframe or the effect control up or down.

    All keyframes are adjusted by the same amount, preserving the original shape created by any keyframe adjustments.

    However if you “flatten” the curve by dragging all the way to the top or bottom of the graph, the keyframe values remain in that flattened state, with all keyframes sharing the same value.

    Keyframe curve in Audio Animation Editor before adjustment
    Keyframe curve in Audio Animation Editor shown flattened after adjustment

View only one effect at a time in the Audio Animation Editor

You can collapse the Audio Animation Editor to view only one effect at a time. This can be useful if you have multiple effects applied to a clip and want to preserve screen space.

  1. Choose Clip > Solo Animation (or press Control-Shift-V).

  2. In the Audio Animation Editor, click the triangle next to the displayed effect’s name to choose an effect from the pop-up menu.

Note: When Solo Animation is turned on, you can’t delete effects from the Audio Animation Editor.

To turn off Solo Animation, choose Clip > Solo Animation (or press Control-Shift-V).

Delete keyframes

Do one of the following:

Hide audio animation

Do one of the following:

  • Select the clip in the Timeline, and choose Clip > Hide Audio Animation (or press Control-A).

  • Click the close button in the upper-left corner of the Audio Animation Editor.

  • Control-click the clip in the Timeline, and choose Hide Audio Animation from the shortcut menu.

In addition to the tasks described above, you can manipulate multiple keyframes simultaneously. This works the same way for audio keyframes as it does for video keyframes. See Modify groups of keyframes.

You can also copy specific keyframes between different attributes or between different clips. See Copy and paste keyframes.