Have you been working in Final Cut Pro and needed to export your audio for an audio mixer? Most of us have, and unfortunately, I’ve run into some issues along the way. I have four different dialogue tracks under the “Dialogue” Role, labeled as sub-roles, but I need them all on separate tracks.

How To Export Sub Roles In Final Cut Pro

Can I do it? Womp womp womp. Did you all hear that? Because I did. As I was searching for answers to my woes, there was very little information on the problem, why Final Cut Pro doesn’t automatically do it, and how to fix it. What I found most of the time was how to export separate files for roles but not sub-roles. So today, I’m going to show you how to export sub roles in Final Cut Pro.

What Are Roles?

Let’s first talk about the roles. Final Cut Pro 10.0.1 allows you to add “roles” or metadata tags, so you can bulk export media or adjust media. Thank goodness they added this because it has been a TIME working around them. In other words, I can assign my video clip to a specific video role and my music, dialogue, and sound effects all to different audio roles. Final Cut already sorts these into roles for you, which is why different media types are different colors in your timeline and allows you to edit them. 

What are Sub-Roles?

Sub Roles are labeled as such if you have multiple versions of a role. For example, let’s say you have two characters in a scene, and your audio recordist records one track of audio for each person and a separate track for a boom mic. That is three different tracks, but they are all considered dialogue. So under the dialogue audio role, you will see three different audio tracks (labeled by your sound recordist) under the dialogue role. These are now your sub-roles. If, for some reason, you need to adjust anything, you can always edit the roles by following the steps below.

How To Edit Roles

  1. Select the video or audio clip that you want to change (to add audio roles, make sure you have the audio selected)
  2. Right-click and select Assign Video Role or Assign Audio Role 
  3. From there, you can choose any of the roles that you want to match your media type, and they are notated by the colored square that matches the color of the media in your timeline. 
  4. To edit further, select “Edit Roles…”
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  1. Click the +Video Role or +Audio Role to add a new one and give it a name
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Pro Tip #1:

To see your sub-roles, hover over the specific role and click “Expand”

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Pro Tip #2:

You cannot delete or change the names of the default roles within Final Cut Pro, so keep that in mind.

How to Export Sub-Roles

So you’ve synced, edited, and labeled everything to perfection, and now you need to export it. This is where it gets tricky because it’s not a normal “Export Master File” situation. A lot of information out there just tells you how to export your roles and assumes that it will export your sub-roles as separate tracks, which it doesn’t. I’m going to focus on audio sub-roles, in particular, for this example. So let’s get into it. 

  1. Click File > Share > Export File or click the share button in the upper right corner
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Keyboard Shortcut Cmd + E

  1. Click Settings, and under “Format,” click Audio only
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  1. Click Roles 

And there is the dreaded 1 Audio File AIFF track labeled “All Dialogue.” Let’s fix that. 

  1. Click the arrow next to “Roles As” and select Audio Only as Separate Files
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From there, you will still see one audio track, so we need to add our other ones. 

  1. Click Add Audio File on the right-hand side
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  1. Your new file will be added, and on the right side of that, click “Add Role”
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  1. In that drop-down menu, select the dialogue sub-role you want to add, ie. Boom Mic, Actor 1 lav, Actor 2 lav, etc.
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Now Final Cut will tell you that you have two files, and the more you add, the higher the number will go, and so on. 

  1. When you have added all of your audio sub-roles, select “Next” and save to your desired destination

Pro Tip #3:

Most audio mixers don’t want your audio tracks in stereo, but that is Final Cut’s default. To change that, click the drop-down arrow next to “Channels,” which will be labeled stereo, and select mono for each individual track.

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You will then have all of your beautiful audio tracks exported separately, thank god! Your sound mixer will be happy, and so will you. I’m not entirely sure why Final Cut doesn’t automatically export sub-roles for you, but if they did, I wouldn’t have any reason to write this article, and let’s face it. I like being able to help you all.

Have Questions? I Have Answers:

I want to export video and audio as separate files, can I do that?

Yes, you can! Instead of exporting “Audio Only” in your settings, make sure you have Video and Audio selected. Then under “Roles” and “Roles As” click the drop-down arrow and select “Separate Files.” From there, you can continue with the steps above to add as many different tracks as you need and save them to your desired location.

Can I change the color of my roles?

Yes! You can also change Final Cuts’ default color for each role as well. In your “Edit Roles…” menu, click on the color wheel on the right side and select your new color.

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Can I delete roles?

You can’t delete Final Cut default roles; however, you can delete roles you have added. For instance, under video roles, you can’t delete “titles and video,” and under audio, you can’t delete “dialogue, effects, and music. To delete a role that you have added, click the minus sign next to it on the left side.

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More Final Cut Pro Export Tutorials

Check out a few other Final Cut Pro export tutorials that I wrote below.

The Final Cut

It may not have been easy at first, but I hope this article was helpful for someone who needs separate audio tracks for sub-roles. It was such a headache for me to figure that one out, but now that I know, it’s pretty simple. Let us know in the comments if this was useful to you, and happy filmmaking!