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🎬Fairlight’s Features

As with the color and effects pages, being able to work on audio within the context of the same application is very exciting. It’s also refreshing to be able to use many of the same keyboard shortcuts you’re used to in the Edit page. The muscle memory you’ve developed previously will serve you well. Without adding anything new you can already move clips around the timeline and navigate efficiently. Beyond that however, you now have access to the full feature set of a professional audio tool.

Setup

First, make sure Fairlight is using the input and output devices you want. It will default to using Mac’s “Core Audio” drivers so whatever you have set in your sound preferences should apply. Hold the option key down and click the speaker icon in the upper right of your task bar. There you can define the input and output devices your computer is using and Fairlight should follow. Click “Sound Preferences” at the bottom to open system preferences at the sound pane.

You can also customize output devices in Resolve’s preferences though only do it if you need to.

Tracks

  • Mute makes your track silent.
  • Solo plays only the contents of the current track.
  • Record Arm enables the track for recording.

Track Index

This handy pane lets you organize your tracks. You can hide any tracks you’re not working with currently and rearrange track order by clicking and dragging on the left.

Channel Strips

Each horizontal track correlates to a vertical “channel strip” in the mixer. The signal flows from top to bottom.

  • Input: Define your input device. This could be a microphone you’re using for voiceover, for example.
  • Effects: Here’s where you add inline effects. Effects you add here are sort of like serial nodes in that they’ll apply to the entire track and come one after the other.
  • Insert: If you’re working with hardware outside of Resolve this lets you route this channel strip out to it for effects processing and then bring the affected signal back in.
  • EQ: Here’s where you add basic EQ adjustments.
  • Dynamics: Compression, gate, limiter. These all live here.
  • Pan: This allows you to push this channel towards or away from one (or more) speakers
  • Main: All channel strips default to a “master bus” output shown by the “1” icon below.
  • Group: This allows you to group various channel strips together for easy modification of similar signals.
  • The Record, Solo and Mute buttons, along with the fader, are similar to those already discussed in the track.

You can adjust the volume of any track with the level control called a “Fader”.

Insert effects at the top of the channel strip or double click to get access to in/out mapping.

Selection Modes

  • Selection Mode (or the arrow) is the basic selection mode, accessed by keyboard shortcut “A”.
  • Range Selection Mode (“R” on the keyboard) lets you target specific ranges within clips. In range select mode, set in out points and then cut or copy and just JKL the cut clip around the timeline then cmd+v again to confirm it.
  • Edit Selection Mode gives you further control. In this mode you can click in the upper half of a clip and it sets a little upside down caret symbol that will trigger start point of playback and trim mode operations.

You can cmd+click multiple clips and trim them together, holding shift will set edit points across all the tracks

Trim>Trim To Selection is priceless. *Alt+T is a keyboard shortcut I’ve set up manually and found to be invaluable.

Automation

Automation allows realtime adjustments made to many different parameters on your track. The “fader” controls volume and is one of the most common examples. Toggle the automation toolbar to the right of the loop button, select “Fader” above then select the track you want to modify and select “Fader Level”. Now play back and move the fader control in the channel strip as you go. See how the changes are written to the volume level? This is an optional way to control volume, but I often find simple rubber band automation (audio key frames) simpler.

  • “Write” is an absolute control, meaning the change you make is what the software applies, independent of existing levels. “Trim” is a relative mode which honors existing levels and adds your changes to them.
  • “Touch” controls include “Latch” which will keep writing automation even after you release the control, “Snap” which will return to the pre-automated level after you release the control.

Within the track header you pick the parameter you want to keyframe over time.

Layers

Fairlight has a “layers” feature which allows for multiple “takes” of audio in the same track. It’s a very handy way of doing things like ADR where an actor will read the same line over and over again. Only the top-most layer is heard during playback.

Elastic Wave

Right click a clip and choose “Elastic Wave”. Resolve has an awesome feature that lets you retime an audio clip by now ⌘+clicking at any point and sliding it in time. If there’s video linked to the audio it will even retime the video automatically as well. This sort of thing used to require costly plugins like “Vocalign” but is now built into Fairlight (perhaps thanks in part to a feature request from yours truly…just sayin’).

Recording a Voiceover

For VO work you do need to patch an “Audio Input” to a “Track Input”. Easiest done by clicking the “Input” at the top of the channel strip, clicking the specific mic input and the specific track input, and creating a patch. Now record arm the track you’re recording to and hit the record button.

Fairlight has some more advanced tools, similar to what you’d find in any other DAW (digital audio workstation) or even on a physical mixer. This panel does all sorts of handy things. Many are outside the scope of this training or common need. But I’ll mention one.

Recording ADR

Fairlight has truly fantastic tools for ADR work. In conjunction with some solid principles you can achieve great results.

  • Use the same mic used during production and at the same distance it would have been used on set. This gets tricky for amateurs because we don’t have a sound studio to use and getting the mic farther from the source (as you well know) means hearing the room more and more. So use your best judgment.
  • Listen to the production and recorded dialog in sync with each other. Ascertaining the match is better done with your ears than eyes in this case. That said, do also watch picture and the new audio (at full screen) to verify the match.
  • In general, I’d rather have an actor worry about emotive performance than timing. I use the elastic audio feature liberally to get a great performance in perfect sync.

Bussing, Sends and Aux Tracks

Busses are amongst the most confusing audio terms you’ll encounter, owing largely in part to the way physical analog mixers have historically been set up. A bus is nothing more than a signal path. So you’ll hear tracks grouped together being sent to a “mix bus”, which is just the master output of all your combined tracks together. You’ll also hear busses doing handy things like allowing you to set up a global reverb and decide how much of each track you want to send to that reverb. This is handy because rather than having ‘inline’ reverb effects on every channel strip and changing them all individually, there is instead one track with the reverb and adjusting only that track affects reverb for everything being sent to it. The reverb is set up on an “aux track” and the bus in this case is the vehicle which takes your sound to that aux track. You have the option to send your track’s signal “pre” or “post” fader, meaning the amount of signal sent to the reverb can ignore your fader/volume control if you want it to.

Sub Groups

You can combine multiple tracks into a single “sub” group, often called a “stem”. This means one fader controls the volume of all tracks at once. From the “Fairlight” menu select “Bus Format” and then create your groupings. Then “Fairlight>Bus Assign” will allow you to associate given tracks with their respective groups with a single click.

Timeline Sync With External Application

Resolve now does nearly everything I need for media production. That said, while I could compose music in Fairlight it would be painful. A music creation software has a lot of specific tools that make MIDI music creation efficient. So my no-rendering paradigm is broken since I now have to jump out of Resolve, into Logic (Apple’s music creation software) and then render back to Resolve? Not entirely. Resolve can export audio as timecode and your Digital Audio Workstation, mine being Logic, can sync its playhead with Resolve. This means I hit play in Resolve, hear my soundtrack in sync, can change either music or edit freely, and then ‘bounce’ or render my music only upon completion. There are multiple ways this can be set up, but one of the most convenient uses the “Timecode” system generator in this I/O patch panel dialog.

Speaker Sets

Fairlight allows you to map your signal to different sets of speakers. I frequently use one set of hardware for the MAIN output and another for NEAR.

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

Use the interactive keyboard database below to learn my recommended set of keyboard shortcuts. Priority indicates how essential they are to know (1 being highest priority). The table will default to sort by 1st priority shortcuts, but feel free to use the search feature to find a specific shortcut or filter the table in any way you’d like. You can print the results (or save them to an eco-friendly PDF) as well.

βŒƒControl   ⇧Shift    βŒ₯Alt    ⌘Cmd   ⇕Scroll   MMB (Middle Mouse Button) *Fenn Custom Key
Type
Operation
Keys
Notes
Priority
ToolsToggle Loop⌘/This is the best way to enable looping2
ToolsPlay In to OutβŒ₯/If Loop is on playback loops2
ToolsSelection ModeAThe basic mode for selecting with the mouse1
ToolsRange Selection ModeRAllows selections of content within a clip(s)2
ToolsEdit Selection Mode*RTTRequires Keyboard Maestro as of R16.2 you can't assign keyboard shortcut2
NavigationDrag to PanMMBGlobal Resolve shortcut1
NavigationHorizontal ZoomβŒ₯⇕Or ⌘+2
NavigationVertical Zoom⇧⇕Wish this worked on Edit page2
NavigationZoom Around Playhead⌘+ ⌘-"Edit Selection Mode" zooms on selection or caret1
NavigationToggle Micro/Macro Zoom⇧ZIf you lose the playhead just double-tap spacebar. Remember this is a toggle so use it to go in and back out and YOU set the level of zoom.1
NavigationTimeline Navigation↑ or ↓Similar to edit page.1
EditingSplit Clip⌘B or ⌘\I suggest using ⌘\ as it's the same on color AND edit pages1
EditingTrim to playhead⇧[ or ⇧]Similar to edit page. Adding ⌘ for ripple does not work here however. Edit selection mode will edit from the caret point.2
EditingNudge Left or Right, or .Add ⇧ for greater increments2
EditingDuplicate drag selectionβŒ₯ click & dragThank you Resolve 16.21
EditingCopy⌘CRange selection mode behavior will "float" your selection across dynamic playback2
EditingPaste⌘VRange selection mode behavior will "float" your selection across dynamic playback2
EditingTrim>Trim to Selection*βŒ₯TThis is one of my top custom keyboard shortcuts1
EditingAdd keyframe/automation pointβŒ₯ clickThis adds 'rubber band' points to a given clip's audio level2
EditingClear In/Out PointsβŒ₯ XVery useful1
EditingSet In/Out PointsI or OI for "in" point and O for "out" point1
Play againβŒ₯LWill playback the last thing you played back
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