Final Cut Pro: 3 Ways to Sync an Out-of-Sync Clip

A typical problem when I record Zoom calls or screen captures is that the audio and video are out of sync. In my case, by three frames.

Here are three ways to re-sync a clip.

OPTION 1 – Detach Audio

The easiest – but NOT the best – is to edit a clip into the timeline, then Control-click it and select Detach Audio.

This separates the audio and video into two independent clips. You can then manually move the audio – using comma and period – until it syncs with the video.

NOTE: An easy way to find sync is to watch for the speaker saying a word that begins with “P”. The instant their lips open matches the first “P” sound.

The big disadvantage to detaching audio is that it is easy – VERY easy – to accidentally jostle the audio in the timeline so it is no longer in sync.

Another disadvantage is that this clip is only in sync in the timeline. The source clip in the Browser is still out-of-sync, which means you’ll need to repeat this process each time you edit this clip into the timeline.


When you create independent audio and video clips, FCP provides an easy way to make sure they remain in sync.

Choose Window > Source Timecode. This floating window displays timecode for all clips under the playhead. Whichever clip you select in the timeline has a gold box around it in this window. In this example, I selected the audio clip.

In this example, the audio occurs six frames later than video. As long as that offset remains the same throughout your edit, the two clips will be in sync.

OPTION 2 – Create a Compound Clip

A better option, once you’ve detached the audio and synced it, is to select the now-in-sync audio and video clips in the timeline and choose File > New > Compound Clip.

This “merges” the two clips into a single new clip, thus preventing the audio and video from accidentally slipping out of sync during an edit.

This compound clip also appears in the Browser, which means you can access it at anytime during your project to edit different portions into the timeline. A compound clip keeps all clip elements in sync.

Compound clips are much safer than simply detaching audio, but causes problems if you need to move a project from Final Cut to, say, Adobe Audition for audio mixing, or Premiere for color grading. Adobe applications don’t support FCP compound clips.

As well, even though the timecode of the video and audio elements in the Compound clip no longer match, the Source timecode window shows them as a single clip with one timecode

OPTION 3 – Open and Resync a clip

For me, the best option is to select an out-of-sync clip in the Browser and choose Clip > Open clip. This opens all the elements of a clip – audio and video – into a special area of the timeline.

Select the audio (not the video) and, using the comma and period keys, shift the audio earlier or later until it is in sync. Again, the Source timecode window shows the amount of movement. However, because the audio and video are still contained in a single clip, only one clip name is displayed.

NOTE: Press Shift while typing to move the selected clip in 10-frame increments.

When the clip is in sync, open any other project into the timeline to close the clip.

The benefit to using Open Clip is that the clip acts like any other audio/video clip, all elements stay in sync, without the risk of moving a detached audio track or the special construct of a compound clip.


Any of these three techniques can be used to sync audio with video. But the safest over the long-term of an edit is the third option: Open Clip.

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