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How to Edit to the Beat and Sync Videos to Music in Final Cut Pro X [3 Ways]

Nov 28,2019• Proven solutions

The amount of video content on the Internet is staggering, as hundreds of hours of videos are uploaded to platforms like YouTube, Vimeo or Twitch every day. Going the extra mile and doing all you can to produce videos that are going to attract the attention of online viewers can prove beneficial for numerous reasons.

Editing videos to the beat of the music in Final Cut Pro and other non-linear video editing apps can be a good way to create potentially viral videos. That’s why in this article we are going to show you how you can sync video to the music beat and make dynamic videos in Final Cut Pro X.

How to Sync Videos to the Beat of a Song in Three Different Ways

Editing a video to the beat of a song requires some previous preparation because you must have all the materials in place before you start adding footage to the FCPX’s timeline. Most importantly the song you choose as a soundtrack for your video needs to have a rhythm you can use to easily sync videos and make cuts so that they match the song’s beat perfectly. So let’s have a look at three different techniques you can use to edit to the beat of a song.

Add Markers Manually and Snap Videos to the Beats of a Song

Once you’ve imported all of your footage into a project you created in FCPX, you should place the song you want to use in your video to the audio track on the timeline. You must then isolate the audio file by either clicking on the Solo icon that looks like headphones on the editor’s timeline, selecting the Solo option from the Clip menu or using the OPTION+S keyboard shortcut.

Play the audio file you isolated and start adding markers at the beats in the songs where you want to make cuts. It is worth noting that you don’t have to add a marker at each beat, and you should listen to the song a few times in order to find perfect spots where you are going to make the cuts. Place the playhead at the beginning of the audio file, click on the Play button, and press the M key to start adding markers. You can count on the beat or tap your foot in order to make keeping up with the pace of the beats easier. Switching to the waveform view can also help you add markers more accurately and reduce the amount of time you have to spend searching for a beat.

Proceed to disable the Solo option after you add all markers to the song, and use the N keyboard shortcut to activate the Snapping feature before you add video clips to the timeline. Afterward, simply arrange the clips in the order you want them to appear in the video and preview the results. If some cuts are not positioned perfectly you can easily readjust them so that they are synced to the beat of the song.

Cut to the Beat and Sync Audio with Video in FCPX

Final Cut Pro X doesn’t allow its users to line up their cuts automatically, which is the reason why you have to go through this process manually. Click on the Titles and Generators icon and then place the Custom generator to the video track on the timeline.

You should then add the song you want to use in your video to the audio track, connect it to the Custom generator and make sure that the duration of these two files matches. Listen to the song a few times before selecting both the generator and the audio file and then hold the Command button and press the B button to make cuts at beats throughout the song.

Drag a video clip from the Media Library and hold it over the section of the Custom generator until you see the Film Strip icon. Drop the video clip and select either the Replace from Start, Replace from End or Replace with Retime to Fit options. Keep adding video clips this until you replace all parts of the generator with the footage you want to include in your video.

You can also delete cuts you’ve made on the generator by simply selecting the start or the end of a generator clip and pressing the delete button on the keyboard. Choose the Replace with Retime to Fit option in case a video clip is shorter than the segment of the generator you are trying to replace. FCPX will automatically slow down your clip and extend it to fit between two cuts. Optionally, you can use the Trim tool to align your cuts to the beats of the song perfectly, if they are a bit off, before previewing and exporting the video you created.

Generate Beat Markers Automatically with BeatMark X App

Adding markers to each beat of the song manually can be a painstakingly lengthy process, especially if you would like to create a video that lasts longer than a few minutes. The BeatMark X application offers a solution to this problem for just $3,99. This app analyzes songs, adds markers at the beats and lets you create XML files you can easily import into FCPX.

After installing BeatMark X, you should launch the app and drop the audio file you would like to analyze to the Music File box. Select the project’s frame rate and click on the BeatMark button to start analyzing the song.

The app will identify beats in a song and export an XML file to the same folder in which an audio file you analyzed is located. Head over to FCPX, click on the File menu, expand the Import submenu, choose the XML option and select the file you created with BeatMark X.

A new event that has the same name as the audio file you analyzed will be added to the media library. The event will contain a project, and you just have to open this project in order to see the song as well as the markers placed at every beat of the song. You can then proceed to add the video clips to the project in which the analyzed audio file is located or copy the song to any other project you created in FCPX. 

Conclusion

Final Cut Pro X offers several ways to edit videos to the beat of a song, but the amount of time you will have to spend working on such a project depends on the video editing technique you choose. Adding markers manually and adjusting the length of each video clip you want to include in that music video can take a lot of time and effort. The BeatMark X app can save you a lot of time by adding markers to the beats of your songs, and installing this application on your computer can help you sync videos to music beats in Final Cut Pro X much faster. Which method of editing videos to music in FCPX do you like to use the most? Leave a comment and let us know.

Richard Bennett
Richard Bennett is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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