Recording Great Audio into Final Cut Pro X
Make sure your Final Cut Pro X recordings are as good as they can be with this handy guide
Well recorded and clear voice overs are an absolute necessity for professional quality videos. Budget sound is much more likely to get people clicking off your video than budget visuals, that’s why it’s essential to learn how to record great audio in your video editor.
In this guide we’re going to be showing you how to record audio on Final Cut Pro X, but if you use a different editing suite we’ve also got you covered. Check out our guides to recording great audio in Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer (DaVinci Resolve coming soon).
You can use the techniques we discuss to record audio with any microphone, but it’s important to bear in mind that the better your mic, the better your recordings will be. Recording technique is also really important, so important that we’ve included some tips on getting it right at the end of this article.
Once you've finished your recording, for some FCPX voice over enhancement tips, check out more from our series on audio for video production.
Recording audio in Final Cut Pro is a simple process, once you’ve got used to it it will become second nature.
To begin with – especially to record voice on Final Cut Pro X – you’ll need to connect your microphone to your computer. If you have a USB microphone, that just means plugging it directly into your computer’s USB port. If you’ve got any other type of mic, you’ll probably need an audio interface which you’ll need to connect to your computer.
If you have a condenser microphone, you’ll need to make sure you’ve activated phantom power on your interface. If you forget this your recordings will be silent!
Don’t have a microphone? You can still record using your computer’s in-built mic, however if you really want a pro sound from your FCPX audio, it’s definitely worth investing in one.
Once your mic is set up, open your project in Final Cut Pro and go to Window >> Record Voiceover. This will open a dialog box. To access the settings you’ll need to use an external mic click on the arrow next to the ‘Advanced’.
For more techniques on how to record voice on Final Cut Pro X or in any other video editor, check out 11 Common Problems When Recording Audio and How to Fix Them.
From the input dropdown menu choose your microphone or audio interface. There are also options for how to record your voice on Final Cut Pro, including whether to monitor your video audio whilst you record your voiceover, enable a countdown before you start recording, and more.
You can adjust the gain of your recording here as well. One of the most important things to remember when recording voice overs is to not let your recording clip. If this happens, your FCPX audio will be unpleasantly distorted, no matter how much voiceover enhancement you attempt.
You can also set a name for your voiceover before you record it, really handy for keeping your project organised.
Once you’re happy with your settings, just hit that big red record button to start recording, it’s as easy as that.
You can edit your voiceover as you would any audio clip in Final Cut Pro X, we’ve got a full guide to working with audio in FCPX over on our blog.
Setting up Final Cut to record using your mic is one thing, but you’re not going to get pro level recordings by just speaking into a mic. To have great sounding audio, your recording technique is crucial, although for an article on how to make audio sound better in Final Cut Pro X, you can check out our guide to All You Need to Know about Audio Editing in FCPX.
There are a few things to bear in mind for how to record audio in Final Cut Pro X with a professional quality. One that a lot of budding video makers don’t consider are plosives. When you pronounce Bs and Ps air rushes out of your mouth and hits the diaphragm of your microphone creating a loud bassy response - this can render an otherwise excellent voiceover unusable.
The solution to this is to use a pop filter. These cheap but effective bits of kit disperse incoming bursts of air without affecting the sound waves being picked up by the microphone, dealing with the problem at the source.
Another problem that people often face is unwanted room noise. This may come from an air conditioning unit, passing traffic or your fridge, either way it can totally ruin a recording.
The best way to deal with noise is at the source – it’s always a wise move to turn off any mechanical equipment you may have in your recording room. If there’s really nothing you can do about the noise in your recording environment then you can always deal with it in post production, noise removers can be a very effective way of dealing with unwanted background sound.
Microphone technique is an art form, how you use your microphone will vary depending on microphone type, the purpose of your recording, your voice type and much more. However, for good recordings every time a fail-safe rule of thumb is to position yourself about six inches from the microphone and to keep your head still whilst you record - simple but effective.