Get faster in final cut pro – 7 – Normalize audio

Normalize effect
This isn’t the primary use of normalize. The primary usage is to even out audio so that it has a more uniform volume. This usage is still very very useful.
The timeline only allows you to change audio levels up to +12dB. Sometimes you have a very low clip that needs more of an audio boost. Short of bringing the clip to protools or soundtrack there isn’t a good way to do it in FCP. Or so I thought.

The normalize effect allows up to +97db gain, but it takes a few steps… Here is where you can find the effect.

I usually set it to -2 (for no apparent reason)

Once you have applied it, open up the audio clip in the viewer window and click on the filters tab. Here you can go an impressive 96db up! Trust me: that is not a good idea. But if you need something higher than 12dB and lower than “way too freaking LOUD!” then this is very useful.

Now one weird quirk of the normalize filter is that it behaves strangely with keyframed audio. It is best to run it on a stock clip, then put your transitions and fades in.


These are the kinds of tips and tricks you usually learn by watching someone else edit. If you have something that drastically speed up your editing, let me know in the comments!

~ by ross on February 17, 2010.

7 Responses to “Get faster in final cut pro – 7 – Normalize audio”

  1. This is saving several steps for me….¡¡¡¡!!!!~

  2. Helpful for many. Although you can also access the gain filter in your Audio Filters bin. So if an entire reel was around 6db less than others, apply a +6db gain to all the clips and then you don’t have to crank up the audio level rubberbands in the timeline.

    Btw, the level you normalize to is the max level it will bring your audio peaks too on that clip. So if you want your peaks at -6db or -12db, just enter it there. But keep in mind, if you have a pop or a loud sound in the middle of a quiet clip, it will normalize based on the loudest sound.

  3. Yeah, I always bind it on cmd-opt-n. Nothing beats it if you have to batch normalize a shitload of clips. Works from bins too. :)

  4. Hey, just discovered this blog and absolutely love it. Great design and articles.

    ‘Folder with a date’ script is especially useful.

    As for other useful scripts, I often have a folder containing many other folders each harbouring footage to be transcoded. I found a small script by Jeff Fischer called “Copy Folder Tree” which duplicates the folders (none of the files), allowing me to direct the compressed footage easily into an identical folder structure.

    Can be found here: http://mac.softpedia.com/get/System-Utilities/Copy-folder-tree.shtml

    Look forward to more useful scripts!

  5. totally posted that on the wrong post. whoops!

  6. Anyone know a way to normalize multichannel BWF files so that the new levels will show up in an OMF? I’m editing a feature and, while the Normalize filter is great, it doesn’t export to OMF. So when I do an export for the “real” sound post guys my levels will all be wonky. Not a desirable thing.

  7. I’ve been using final cut pro for 3 years and sometimes have a need to average all the audio clips to that the lowest levels are averaged with the highest levels. Is there a compressor in the FC programs that brings the low gains up and takes the hot ones down?

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