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Mixing audio

From: After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music

Video: Mixing audio

Next, we're going to mix together these two audio tracks to maximize our impact. If you've already spotted this audio yourself, feel free to continue to use a composition going forward. If you've skipped ahead, open up the Comp 11, Audio Mixing starter where I've also already spotted the audio for you and done that rough edit of the dialogue against the music. I am going to make sure that the Audio switch is on for both of them, and let's RAM preview these two together to see how they sound. And then press the decimal point or you can just go ahead and press 0 to RAM preview the whole comp.

Mixing audio

Next, we're going to mix together these two audio tracks to maximize our impact. If you've already spotted this audio yourself, feel free to continue to use a composition going forward. If you've skipped ahead, open up the Comp 11, Audio Mixing starter where I've also already spotted the audio for you and done that rough edit of the dialogue against the music. I am going to make sure that the Audio switch is on for both of them, and let's RAM preview these two together to see how they sound. And then press the decimal point or you can just go ahead and press 0 to RAM preview the whole comp.

(music playing) Well, the timing is good, but it is really kind of hard to hear that dialogue over the music, and also the two of them are so loud together, I see that we have a bit of distortion as the two tracks were mixed together by After Effects.

I have two ways to go here; one, I can select both of these layers, press L to reveal their levels controls, and try to just balance off their relative loudness for their entire duration to see if I can get that to work. And that is the first thing I'll try, but if that doesn't work, I may need to animate the volume levels to make things duck out of the way of each other. But first, let's go ahead and boost the dialogue and reduce the level of the music and preview that. (music playing) Well, the dialogue was more intelligible there, and I did not distort. I did not see these red indicators pop up on the Audio panel.

But in doing this, I'm losing the impact of really hearing the music at full volume at the start and end of my composition. So I am going to go ahead and animate these volume levels. As I mentioned a few movies ago, I don't animate the Audio Levels parameter. I don't like the way it fades up and fades down. It sounds unnatural particularly during fade-ups. So I'm going to set this back to zero, and I'm going to use the Stereo Mixer effect instead. Now it's the music track, it needs to be loud, then quiet, then loud again.

So that's the one I'm going to animate. Now I'm fine with the music being at full volume during the introduction. However, we have this point where there is a hit and then the rhythm starts. (music playing) I always look for the interesting parts of the music that I've spotted as good first places to put keyframes. For example, I'm going to keyframe it, so we have maximum volume here, but then the lower volume here, so the music is out of the way when the dialogue starts. And that fade will be timed with beats or hits in the music.

I am going to apply Effect > Audio > Stereo Mixer, enable keyframing, go to Left and Right Level at 100.00%. Go to this next marker, I'm holding the Shift key to snap the current-time indicator to the marker, then drop these down to say 50% for my first attempt, half volume. I'm going to press Home to go back to the start of the comp and let's preview that, see how that works. (music playing) Okay, that's an improvement. The music is loud at the start and quieter later on.

(music playing) If I wanted to, I could even go to this keyframe and make the music even louder at the start. You can boost your audio level as long as you don't see these red indicators start flashing, and maybe go a little bit quieter once the dialogue starts just to make sure it's intelligible. You can go ahead and tweak these as much as you want until it sounds good, until it sounds right to you. (music playing) I like the louder music at the start. I don't like it being so quiet underneath the dialogue, so I just undo and undo to back to my 50% keyframes when the rhythm starts.

Okay, let's improve the end. After this last phrase ends, which is right around here, the music is still at its reduced volume level. (music playing) Let's come back up to full volume by the time that the last bar music starts after the dialogue is done, which is right around this beat that I've already marked in the soundtrack. I'm going to press U to reveal my existing keyframes and add audio keyframes at that point at my current level.

If I went here to the end and just put new keyframes at a 100%, the audio would be fading up from here to here, so instead I wanted to hold the same through here. You could also select these and use Hold Keyframes to make sure your volume stays level throughout there as well. But here I want to do a fade up, and bring the music back gradually and then get back up to full volume in time for this last part of music. So I'm going to say 100% for starters. I might try that higher volume level I used earlier to see how that works, but this is a good starting point.

Let's preview this. (music playing) Not bad, but I think I can refine that a little bit. One way that I would like to refine my audio mixes is that sound naturally rushes up, then tails off as it gets louder, then it rushes down and tails off as it gets quieter. To simulate that, I'll leave the first keyframes of the fade at linear, but change the second keyframes of the fade to Easy Ease In.

That way I will get my curve that rushes down and tails off into my new lower volume level. Go to the second set of keyframes, and if I wanted to, I could apply my normal Easy Ease In to those keyframes, but I thought I had a problem here where the music was getting louder too quick for my taste. (music playing) And maybe yes, maybe no. That sounds a little bit more natural. But even though I've used this marker for starting point of my fade, I'm not married to it. I can go ahead and cheat these a little bit later on, and see if I like that any better.

(music playing) For me, that's staying out of the way of the dialogue and not stepping on it. (music playing) So we'll go with that for now. You can adjust these to taste. I'll zoom back out, press Home. Let's hear the whole soundtrack again. (music playing) Yeah, I think that is a definite improvement over the earlier version where was just straight levels, no fade-ins and fade -outs. I like this better.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music
After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music

49 video lessons · 17767 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Overview
      1m 35s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 14m 51s
    1. Setting up
      2m 20s
    2. Entering, editing, and styling type
      5m 49s
    3. Using strokes
      3m 6s
    4. Working with paragraph text
      3m 36s
  3. 23m 21s
    1. Setting a title
      2m 31s
    2. Creating a text animator
      6m 54s
    3. Selecting by character vs. percent
      3m 0s
    4. Animating position
      2m 4s
    5. Animating more properties
      3m 31s
    6. Exploring text transitions
      2m 47s
    7. Randomizing order
      2m 34s
  4. 22m 49s
    1. The Cascade recipe
      2m 15s
    2. Exploring offset plus selection shapes
      4m 16s
    3. Working with ramp selection shapes
      4m 26s
    4. Using character anchor points
      4m 40s
    5. Further refinements
      7m 12s
  5. 9m 0s
    1. Working with selections based on words
      4m 16s
    2. Anchor point grouping
      4m 44s
  6. 15m 46s
    1. Using a vertical blur treatment
      3m 58s
    2. Animated tracking
      5m 46s
    3. Working with text on a path
      6m 2s
  7. 14m 56s
    1. Per-character 3D overview
      5m 45s
    2. Enabling per-character 3D
      4m 4s
    3. Exploring per-character 3D rotation
      5m 7s
  8. 18m 37s
    1. Separating fields
      3m 48s
    2. Exploring wiggly options
      4m 28s
    3. Animating wiggles
      3m 18s
    4. Rendering with alpha channels
      7m 3s
  9. 45m 29s
    1. Adding audio
      4m 8s
    2. Audio levels
      4m 27s
    3. Spotting hit points
      5m 33s
    4. Timing to audio
      5m 25s
    5. Spotting dialogue
      7m 32s
    6. Timing dialogue to music
      6m 45s
    7. Mixing audio
      7m 53s
    8. Exploring audio refinements
      3m 46s
  10. 23m 9s
    1. Applying text presets
      5m 50s
    2. Browsing presets in Bridge
      4m 35s
    3. Editing presets
      6m 49s
    4. Saving presets
      5m 55s
  11. 16m 27s
    1. Working with Photoshop text
      4m 58s
    2. Keyframing source text
      4m 21s
    3. The Buzz Words preset
      7m 8s
  12. 20m 43s
    1. Exploring faux styling options
      7m 42s
    2. Tracking and kerning
      4m 56s
    3. Using smart quotes
      4m 8s
    4. Using hyphens and dashes
      3m 57s

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