In a recent update to Final Cut Pro X, Apple introduced Roles. Since FCPX is not track-based, some editors were having problems organizing the type of media they had in the timeline. Thanks to Roles, they no longer need to worry.
What Are Roles?
Roles are basically labels that can be applied to audio, video, text, and any other media. You can then enable or disable a label while editing or exporting. Here’s Apple’s explanation:
Traditional, track-based editing systems require you to constantly rearrange and disable tracks to export audio and video stems. With the latest version of Final Cut Pro X, flexible metadata removes the burden of track management. Use the new Roles tag to label clips — dialogue, effects, music, and more — then export a single multitrack file or separate stems based on your tags. You can even apply Roles to video clips and graphics for a powerful new way to deliver separate files for versioning and localization.
How Do I Enable Roles?
They’re actually already enabled. Any media you import or already have imported into FCPX have been assigned roles. If you have the Event Library set to list view, you can see them in one of the columns.
Final Cut 10 tries to figure out what the type of media it is. When it comes to types of audio, it can sometimes get it incorrect. However, you can easily change them. One way is using the Event Library. In the Roles column I referred to earlier, there is a triangle to the right of each clip. Click on that and a drop-down menu appears allowing you to change the type of Role assigned. The other way is by selecting a clip and going to the Inspector. Under the “info” tab you’ll see a Roles drop-down menu. I’m sure you can figure out what to do next.
Apple gives editors the option to create their own roles. Just click on the “Edit Roles…” option in the drop-down menu and press the big plus (+) button. You can also create subroles. You may have noticed I made one called “B-Roll” under video.
Once you’ve assigned Roles, you can disable any that aren’t necessary while you edit. To do this, activate the Timeline Index and click the “Roles” button. A list of all your Roles are displayed with checkboxes. To disable a Role, uncheck it. You can also minimize a Role by clicking the up-arrow icon. This feature can be handy if you don’t want to see your dialogue audio waveforms.
Roles can be very helpful when it comes to exporting your final product. Apples gives editors the option to export Roles as video and audio files.
Roles can also be exported as separate files or as a multitrack QuickTime movie.
I am a huge fan of this new feature in Final Cut Pro X. It will make it easier to edit, especially since there aren’t tracks. Philip Hodgetts gives a few examples as to how Roles can be a huge time-saver:
- Multi-language Titles. Each language is a Role that is applied to the Title. With a single click on a checkbox, all titles from a language set can be enabled or disabled.
- Identifying A-roll and B-roll so one can turn off all B-roll to see the underlying A-roll story.