Final Cut Pro X Tutorial: Syncing Audio


Most DSLR shooters are already aware of PluralEyes and DualEyes. But the new version of Final Cut X will also sync external audio recorders with DSLR audio files. This lesson shows you how. Frankly, I’ve never been able to get my version of PluralEyes to work successfully. As more users try this new feature in Apple, perhaps it’ll be hit or miss — but when I did a test this morning, it worked well.


Syncing external audio

I tested with a Rode NTG-2 shotgun microphone hooked up to the left channel of the Tascam DR-100, and just used my Canon 5D Mark II’s built-in mic as a reference.


After importing the files, follow these steps:


1) Select the video and audio clips to synchronize

Film Post Production


This will create a new synchronized compound clip:


new final cut pro


2) Drag this to the storyline and right click it, selecting “Open in Timeline”


This will reveal the compound clip:


post on Final Cut X


3) Play the clip and make sure that everything is lined up properly. Next we need to replace the original.


4) In the Inspector window, click on Audio, and uncheck the original source file, while keep the new file checked:



5) Make the mono channel stereo

Since the shotgun mic recorded only in one channel (left), you will only hear the audio coming from that one channel. If you want it coming through both left and right, then select the external audio clip and open the Inspector panel (Command-4). Expand the Channel Configuration and select: “Dual Mono.”


Final Cut X


This will put the one channel of audio into both channels.


Steps to fix a synchronized clips issue:

Re: synchronized clips default to 720 not 1080

created by Jarrod1856 in Final Cut Pro X – View the full discussion

Here is an easy work around…

FYI – I shoot video with the Canon 7D and record audio with the Zoom H4n.

  1. Syncronize your clips
  2. Select the new synced clip; then select New Compound Clip in the FILE menu
  3. Select the appropriate settings with the CUSTOM options
  4. The new compound clip is Synced in your desired settings and can be dropped into the timeline

BTW- Be sure to deselect the audio captured by the camera mic in the audio menu for best results, otherwise the synchronization process will defualt to including the audio from the camera and your external mic.

11 thoughts on “Final Cut Pro X Tutorial: Syncing Audio

  1. When you have multiple takes of the same scene or multiple scenes, do you have to sync each video track to each audio track individually or can you choose six video tracks and six audio tracks, choose synchronize and have all six result in new synchronized clips? Thanks for your help.

  2. Do you think Final Cut Pro X is that much better than Imovie, meaning is it worth dropping $300 for it. I’m very comfortable on Imovie but FCP seems like a much bigger pain in the butt and the quality really isn’t better. Is it me?

    1. Jessica:

      Yes, Final Cut X is much better with a lot more features. Will the image quality be different? It all depends what you’re trying to do with the features of it. I would go to an Apple Store and do a demo to see if it’s worth the extra features.


  3. Hi Kurt,

    Do you know if there is a batch system for combining separate audio with video?

    The Scenario I’m thinking is video and audio recorded with synced time code.
    Then uploaded to a computer. Software then reads the timecode of the vid and audio and merges them together. Potentially sorting out a few hundred takes at the click of a button?

    What do you reckon?

  4. Hi Kurt,

    Wish I had seen this post before I did my first edit in Final Cut X last year. I seriously made every mistake possible including rendering my final version with the mono audio on the right channel. I was so frustrated after that first round with FCX, especially the auto save feature. I have since jumped back into FCX and now totally love it. Thanks to you and Mr. Bloom, I was able to see the freedom in this new mode of editing and why FCX is going to be bigger as we move towards tablet editing. The audio synching feature is really awesome and a serious time saver.

  5. Hi Kurt and thanks for this. A very simple way of explaining how to sync audio.

    I have a 5D II with a Rode videomic pro to pick up background sound and then use a lavalier mic for interviews.

    In FCP 7 I used to pan my audio left for interviews and right for background sound etc. What do you advise for FCP X? Cheers.

    1. Be sure to wait until files have processed. I ran into some issues when files were being converted in the background. I don’t worry about panning. I switch to dual mono and uncheck any empty tracks. I want my audio to come out of both speakers. The panning trick is useful for syncing audio manually.

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