FCP X: Using Auditions

Posted on by Larry

Auditions are a new feature in Final Cut Pro X that allow you to compare two or more shots in context in the Timeline. They are easy to construct, simple to use, and, even better, don’t require any additional CPU resources when loaded into the Timeline.

Auditions combine multiple clips into a single structure. While you can only view one clip at a time in an Audition, you can quickly switch between clips; which is their real power and benefit. There’s no practical limit to the number of clips you store in an Audition.

NOTE: Auditions can contain clips with audio, video, or both. This tutorial shows how to use video clips, but this same technique works for audio clips as well.

Auditions can be created in either the Event Browser or the Timeline. The benefit to creating Auditions in the Event Browser is that you can use them in multiple Projects. However, if you only expect to use an audition once, it is easier to simply create it in the Timeline. Most of the time, I suspect, you’ll be creating Auditions dynamically in the Timeline to help you select the best shot.


To create an audition in the Event Browser, select the clips you want to associate and select Clip > Audition > Create (or type Command+Y).

A new clip is created in the Event Browser with a blue Audition spotlight icon in the top left corner. You can look at its contents by selecting Clip > Audition > Open (or type Y)

To create an Audition in the Timeline, drag one or more clips from the Event Browser on top of a Timeline clip. When the underlying clip turns white, let go of the mouse.

Replace and Add to Audition. This replaces the old clip with the new clip as the pick of the Audition, meaning it is the visible clip in the Timeline, then combines both old and new clip into an Audition.

Add to Audition. This creates an Audition and adds the new clip to it, without changing the Pick.

NOTE: The Pick is the clip that is visible when you play an Audition. There can only be one Pick at a time in an Audition. If you need to cut between shots with an Audition, you need to use Multiclips, not Auditions.


You edit an Audition from the Event Browser to the Timeline the same as any other clip. You can place them on the Primary Storyline, or as a connected storyline. Regardless of where they are placed, or where they were created, you preview them the same way.

Here’s where the benefit to using Auditions comes in. To instantly switch between different clips in an Audition simply click the left or right edge of the Audition Preview window. or press the left / right arrow keys. This makes it VERY fast to compare different shots to find the one you like the best.

To see the contents of an Audition, select the Audition clip and press Y (Clip > Audition > Open). This allows you to view the clips stored in an Audition. To change the pick, use the left/right arrow keys, or click on the edges of the Preview window.

Opening an Audition allows for fast changes. However, if you want to see what the clips look like during playback, you need to preview the Audition.

To preview an Audition in the Timeline, select the Audition clip, then choose Clip > Audition > Preview (or type Control+Command+Y). The playhead backs up a few seconds before the start of the Audition, then plays through to the end of the Audition clip.

NOTE: Playback loops when previewing Auditions, regardless of the current setting for Loop Playback (Command+L).

Notice when you change picks, the duration of the Audition in the Timeline changes to reflect the selected clip; plus, everything downstream shuffles to accommodate the changed duration. Auditions make previewing simple, because you no longer need to worry about trimming clips to fit for time.


To remove a clip from an Audition, display it in the Audition – using either the arrow keys or clicking in the Preview window – and press the Delete key.

You can “Finalize” an audition – similar to collapsing a multiclip in FCP 7 – by selecting the Audition in the Timeline and choosing Clip > Audition > Finalize Audition. Except, there’s no real benefit. Auditions can live quite happily in your Timeline, without taking up CPU resources. So, you can leave your Auditions in your Timeline with a clear conscience.

Another trick is to duplicate a clip in an Audition and apply an effect to it. This quickly allows you to compare different effects applied to the same clip. (For instance, the ram image in the screen shot below has an black-and-white effect applied to it.)

To duplicate a clip, select and open the Audition (Y) and display the clip you want to duplicate. Click the Duplicate button. The duplicate clip is now displayed.

Drag the effect you want to apply to that clip onto the Audition clip in the Timeline. Now, it becomes easy to compare the same clip containing different effects.

Once you start playing with auditions, you’ll discover they really simplify answering the question: “What’s the best shot to put here?”

Very cool.

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14 Responses to FCP X: Using Auditions

  1. Been working late tonight, and was wondering if you had a work-around for an audition problem I have. I can’t seem to take 2 or 3 or more edited clips from the timeline and audition them against each other. I can’t seem to drag the edited clips back up to the events browser either. So what’s a guy to do?

    • Larry Jordan says:


      I’m not clear what you want to do. You can create an Audition in the Timeline by selecting the clips, going to the Clip menu and selecting: Audition > Duplicate as Audition.

      Then, as needed, drag other clips into it.


    • Tom Parker says:

      Sean, you can’t create an audition using clips you’ve already edited into the timeline. You need to add clips from the Event Browser to your audition. If you have clips in the timeline where you’ve already selected ins and outs, right- or control-click and choose Reveal in Event Browser to show you the clip there with the edit points. Then drag from Event Browser to the audition.

  2. Sean says:

    Very odd! It is greyed out for me…

  3. Steven says:

    I always seem to come up with the unusual requirement to want to get something done. Beginner with FCP X. Had two takes back to back in my primary storyline. Just cutting out the dead stuff in between desired shots in a continuous event shoot. Got to an alternative shot. Simply wanted to take that shot in the Primary Story line and drag it back to create an audition with an earlier shot. It appears that I have to go through a lot of other work. To create that. And it wasn’t cearl utnil I found this post with a google search.

  4. Yes, this is a feature still not in the mix, but I wouldn’t mind it! The principle of auditioning is great, but the execution from Apple, not so much.

  5. Trevor Gilchrist says:

    The greatest “omission” that I see with Audition clips, is the ability to retain the clip’s duration whilst switching between loaded alternatives. I can see how this would be a moot point with narrative editing, but for music-synched projects, as soon as I switch to an alternative clip, everything ripples off out of sync. An “audition in place” is what’s needed…

  6. Nathan says:


    I’m in the same boat. I’ve been using fcp since 2000 and want to take my edits and audition them too. Apparently fcpx wants me to put the entire clip i’ve imported into the audtion. This to me beats point of the event browser. However it does not use the CPU to playback. It’s a weird way to edit, but it gives your computer a break. I guess fcpx wants you to use the browser for importing and the audition to help with editing. A new way of editing, I guess. Annoying for us old mutts.

    • Larry Jordan says:


      Building an Audition will honor any In’s and Out’s you set in the Browser. You just need to set them before you add a clip to an Audition.

      In this sense, it is a faster way to compare clips because the In’s and Out’s are set and you quickly toggle through the options in context in the Timeline.

      And, as long as the Audition is a connected clip and NOT in the Primary Storyline, nothing else will ripple when you change shots.


  7. Flick says:

    Hey there Larry, I can’t figure out how to audition an audio clip. If I drag audio onto another audio clip, it just does it’s little shuffle to send the other audio clip out of my way. Can’t seem to audition different takes of a voiceover, for instance.

    • Larry says:


      The easiest way is to select all your voice overs, or other audio clips, in the Browser, then choose Clip > Audition > Create.

      This creates the Audition in the Browser, which you can then edit to the Timeline and preview as usual.


  8. Cortez says:


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