When Pro Tools Expert Russ Hughes sent us this tutorial, we were intrigued. Has he discovered a way to harness the power of a DAW running in parallel to Final Cut Pro X?

We all loved the 10.4 update with the new colour tools. Maybe (and we wish) that Apple is now looking at upgrading the audio tools for a possible 10.5 update.

In the meantime Russ Hughes has linked FCPX and Pro tools together:


Final Cut Pro is one of the top video editing apps with lots of great features. It has been designed to offer a self-contained eco-system for edit, grade and sound. However, this means that when it comes to Final Cut Pro X working with other applications it can be a challenge.

For those who are used to working in DAWs like Pro Tools then Apple's idiosyncratic approach to audio in Final Cut can feel limiting, especially when one wants to do things like duck audio, for example. This is not an article to debate the pros and cons of the Final Cut audio workflow but to offer those who want to cut video in Final Cut but mix the audio in Pro Tools a way to sync Final Cut Pro X with Avid Pro Tools.

Currently, the two most likely approaches to getting sound to and from Pro Tools is;

  • Create full-length audio stems and drag them into Pro Tools, edit, mix and then send them back to Final Cut Pro as a stereo or surround mix.
  • Use the X2Pro Audio Convert application to create an XML file and then an AAF file to import into Pro Tools, and then edit, mix and bounce for Final Cut. Pro Tools Expert reviewed X2Pro Audio Convert

Both options offer some kind of solution, although the audio round trips make any of the above approaches a little tiresome, take it from someone who does this all the time.

This third approach locks Pro Tools in sync with Final Cut Pro X and then allows you to work on sound in Pro Tools and then bounce the final audio mix out for export from Final Cut. It may not be a workflow that suits you, but for some, it may be just what they are looking for.

Before Creating This Workflow

  1. Get at least a close to final lock on the picture edit, it's not the end of the world if you don't but it can prove tiresome later if you have to export a new piece of audio. However, it does mean that even if the cut changes the channels in Pro Tools will already have the plug-ins and mix set.
  2. Export the audio files you want to use in Pro Tools, for example, all the temp dialogue tracks, these audio files will form the basic audio of your Pro Tools mix.

All the other steps of the process are shown in the short video tutorial above.

Of course, the principles shown in this article will work with any application that allows audio to be placed on a timeline, these will also sync with Pro Tools using this method.

Resources Used

Handy Guide From Lockstep User Manual For Setting Up MTC

Send MTC to Pro Tools

Pro Tools is a special case among MTC-enabled sequencer and DAW applications, in that it will not read MTC from a virtual output (which appears only while Lockstep is running). Instead, you need to use a more persistent connection, such as an IAC bus, to route MTC from Lockstep to Pro Tools.

Setting up an IAC bus takes a few steps in OS X's Audio MIDI Setup application, but this only needs to be done once.

To create an IAC bus:

  • Launch Audio MIDI Setup (from the Lockstep application menu, or under /Applications/Utilities).
  • Open the MIDI window.
  • Double-click on the IAC Driver icon.
  • Make sure "Device is online" is checked.
  • If there are no ports listed, click on the "+" button to add one.
  • Note: Earlier versions of Lockstep included a shortcut to create an IAC bus with one click, but OS X no longer supports this functionality.


Many thanks to Russ, the original article was published on Pro Tools Expert. 

If only Marquis could make an update button to push changes from FCPX to Pro tools :)

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