Record voiceovers and other audio

It’s easy to record voiceover narration or other live audio directly in Final Cut Pro from input sources such as built-in and external microphones.

By default, Final Cut Pro includes an automatic countdown when you record, and also automatically groups multiple takes into auditions so that you can quickly preview recordings and choose the best one. The recorded audio files appear both in the Browser and as connected clips in the Timeline.

Record live audio

  1. Position the playhead where you want to start recording in the Timeline.

  2. Choose Window > Record Voiceover.

    Tip: To start recording immediately without adjusting settings, press Option-Shift-A and go to step 7.

    Record Audio window
  3. To adjust the input level of the microphone, do one of the following:

    • Drag the Input Gain slider right to increase the input level, or left to decrease it.

    • Type a dB value in the Input Gain field.

    Use the Audio meter to make sure the volume doesn’t exceed peak levels (colored red), which may result in audible distortion.

    Note: If the Input Gain slider is dimmed for a selected input device, try adjusting the gain on the device itself or its software utility (if available).

  4. To name your voiceover clip, click the Name field and type a new name.

  5. To specify other voiceover settings, click the Advanced disclosure triangle and do any of the following:

    • To change the input device or the number of input channels (mono or stereo): Choose an option from the Input pop-up menu. The default choice of System Setting uses the first channel of the input device currently selected in OS X Sound preferences.

      Tip: If you always want to record with a particular device or a particular channel on a multichannel audio device, choose that device/channel pair from the Input pop-up menu instead of System Setting. Final Cut Pro remembers the setting and indicates in the Input pop-up menu whether the device is available.

    • To listen to your microphone input as you record: Set Monitor to On. The microphone audio plays from the output device currently selected in OS X Sound preferences. There is no input signal when monitoring is off.

      Tip: To listen to a live mix of both microphone and project audio, set Monitor to On and deselect the “Mute project while recording” checkbox below.

    • To adjust the monitoring level: Drag the Gain slider right to increase the monitoring level, or left to decrease it (or type a dB value in the Gain field).

      Note: If the built-in microphone is selected, the Gain slider automatically resets to zero to prevent feedback from the built-in speakers when monitoring is turned on. To avoid feedback, use headphones or external speakers placed away from the microphone.

    • To turn off the automatic countdown before recording: Deselect the “Countdown to record” checkbox.

    • To unmute project audio while recording: Deselect the “Mute project while recording” checkbox.

    • To turn off automatic grouping of multiple voiceover takes into auditions: Deselect the “Create Audition from takes” checkbox.

    • To change where the recording is saved: Choose an event in the current library from the Event pop-up menu.

  6. To start recording, click the Record button (or press Option-Shift-A).

  7. To stop recording, click the Record button (or press the Space bar or Option-Shift-A).

Your audio recordings are attached to the primary storyline at the playhead position.

Audio recordings shown in Timeline

Record multiple voiceover takes

You can record multiple versions, or “takes,” of voiceover recordings for the same section of your project. By default, Final Cut Pro creates an audition from all the takes you record. After you’ve finished recording, you can review the different takes in the audition and choose the one you want to use.

  1. To record your first voiceover take, follow the instructions above.

  2. Without moving the playhead, click the Record button (or press Option-Shift-A) to record another take for the same section of your project.

  3. To stop recording, click the Record button again (or press the Space bar or Option-Shift-A).

    By default, Final Cut Pro creates an audition containing both recordings.

    Audition clip shown from multiple voiceover takes

    To add another take to the audition, repeat steps 2 and 3. Each new take you record is added to the audition.

To learn more about auditions, see Add and remove clips in auditions.

Preview and select a voiceover take

  1. In the Timeline, select the audition containing the voiceover takes you want to review, and open it by choosing Clip > Audition > Open (or pressing Y).

    Voiceover clip audition window shown
  2. In the audition window, select the take and press the Space bar (or press Control-Command-Y) to play it.

  3. When you decide on the take you want to use, make sure it’s selected under the spotlight, and click Done.

  4. If you’re sure of your decision and want to finalize the audition, choose Clip > Audition > Finalize Audition (or press Option-Shift-Y).

    The audition is dissolved, leaving the voiceover clip in the Timeline.

To learn more about previewing auditions, see Use auditions to try out clips in your project.

Combine audio from multiple takes

By default, an audition lets you choose only one voiceover take to use in your project. If you want to combine portions of two separate takes into one “comp” take, you can break the audition into separate audio clips, which you can then edit and combine as needed.

  1. Select an audition in the Timeline, and choose Clip > Break Apart Clip Items (or press Shift-Command-G).

    Final Cut Pro replaces the audition selected in the Timeline with the individual recordings that made up the audition.

    Voiceover audition clip shown broken into separate clips
  2. Edit the clips as needed.