Role-O-Matic Rocks Audio Roles in FCPX

August 6, 2015 Tags: , ,
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FCPWORKS guest blogger Charlie Austin has addressed a cool workflow need with a new app. And the best part is it’s totally free.

For more details, here’s Charlie in his own words:

A couple weeks ago I released Role-O-Matic, a little app that, using FCPXML, allows you to batch assign audio Roles and Subroles and rename the components to match with lots of multichannel files. I cut trailers, and pretty much all my source files consist of 5-6  reels of picture with split DME audio, so 3-4 channels or more. Some of you may have multichannel audio files from production sound recording, it’s a pretty common thing. 

And, as you know, the only way to set Roles on individual components (Dialogue/Efffects/Filled Effects/Music etc,) is to open each clip in a timeline one after the other and set the Roles on each component. Not bad with a couple files, drudgery with 5, 6, a dozen or more. I figured there had to be an easier way.

After a little more thought and fcpxml treasure hunting, I could see exactly what needed to be done. There was just one, little problem. I had no idea how to do it. Fortunately I found someone who *did* know how to do it,  (Thanks Hiroto!) and with a little tweaking and fumbling on my part, Role-O-Matic was unleashed. Here’s how it works…


You create an Event in FCP X containing all the clips to which you’d like to assign common Roles. You can mix audio and video files, as well as files with differing numbers of channels, so It’s pretty versatile. the only thing to remember is the “common” part. If you’d like to assign Roles A,B,C,D etc, CH1 in every file will get Role A, CH2 in every file will get Role B, 3 gets C.. you get the picture. You need to do a little simple prep beforehand, (details in the instructions of course) but it’s super easy.

After your Event is set, export xml, and launch Role-O-Matic. Open the file you just exported and tell the app where to save the new one it will create. Role-O-Matic will then prompt you to enter Roles and Subroles for video clips first, then audio clips. You’ll have an opportunity to confirm what you’ve entered and redo it if needed. 


It will then set all the Roles, rename the components to match the Roles, and create your new fcpxml. Import that into FCP X and you have a new event, with all your clips Roles set and nicely renamed. If your clips have existing custom names, you’ll get an additional prompt asking if you’d like to change them, or leave them as is. Easy, and an enormous time-saver.

If you need to work with a lot of multichannel audio, I think you’ll like it. The only limitation is that it can’t set Roles or rename the components of interleaved files. Stereo pairs, 5.1 surround files etc. Anything where FCP X sees the file as a single component in a timeline. You can set the Role on the component, but not it’s contents. Once again, I can see what probably needs to be done to be able to do this but, uh… don’t hold your breath. Much more exciting detail is in the Manual,which you really should read. Give it a try!, It is free after all. If you’re bored, here is a little 7 minute tutorial/demo, in my trademark rambling semi coherent style:


Charlie Austin

Charlie Austin.

This blog post contains the personal musings of Guest Blogger Charlie Austin. Charlie Austin is a fancy, award-winning editor. He began editing with Media Composer, has worked in FCP Classic, FCP X, Premiere, and has dabbled in Resolve, Lightworks, and Hit Film. He likes FCP X best of all. Over the course of his career he has worked as a professional musician, a post production mixer, and worn a variety of hats in film, TV, and live production.

He currently cuts trailers and other advertising for the talking pictures in Hollywood. You can read his blog over at

You can also follow him on Twitter at @fcpxpert1.


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