Timing dialogue to music
Video: Timing dialogue to musicNow that I have the dialogue spotted, I'm going to spot the music and do a real rough cut to align the dialogue to the music. If you feel you already have enough practice spotting music you can jump to the end of this movie and just see the little rough cut that I do to put the two together. With the soundtrack selected I'll type LL to reveal its waveform, and make sure its audio switch is on, or otherwise I won't see it, and drag its line underneath it in the Timeline panel to make that waveform taller. Press Home to the back to the start of the composition and press a decimal point key again to preview the soundtrack.
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One of the cornerstones of motion graphics is creating and animating type. In this course, Trish Meyer shows how to typeset titles professionally and create custom animations, as well as apply and modify the hundreds of text animation presets that After Effects ships with. Additionally, Chris Meyer shows how to add audio to projects, including spotting "hit points" to align keyframes and video action.
The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
- The core text animation recipes
- Animating text along a path
- Working with text animation presets
- Timing animation to audio
- Per-character 3D type
- Rendering with an alpha channel
- Making Photoshop type editable in After Effects
- Professional typesetting tips
Timing dialogue to music
Now that I have the dialogue spotted, I'm going to spot the music and do a real rough cut to align the dialogue to the music. If you feel you already have enough practice spotting music you can jump to the end of this movie and just see the little rough cut that I do to put the two together. With the soundtrack selected I'll type LL to reveal its waveform, and make sure its audio switch is on, or otherwise I won't see it, and drag its line underneath it in the Timeline panel to make that waveform taller. Press Home to the back to the start of the composition and press a decimal point key again to preview the soundtrack.
(music playing) Okay, there seems to be a few sections of this music, sort of an introduction before there's any rhythm. (music playing) So with the layer selected, Option+* or Alt+* and I am going to type intro here at the very start.
Drag my time indicator, zoom in a little bit to make sure I've got the right place and type hit, because that's the first drum hit before we get into the rhythm. Then the rhythm actually seems to start here. (music playing) Type rhythm start. Zoom back out a little bit and this music seems to have a few repeating phrases, or measures, or bars is how musicians would refer to them. You'll hear this pattern repeat and you'll even see it repeat in the waveform; from this beat to this beat, for example.
(music playing) Definitely a repeating pattern to this. So I'm going to go ahead and mark this bar or measure music and go a little bit later here and see what else we have. Oops! I have the wrong audio track selected. That's something you do have to watch out for here. So I am going to hold Command or Ctrl, click and delete that marker, make sure I didn't make the same mistake earlier. Nope, I am good. Come back to here, select the right layer, then Option+* or Alt+* bar.
I think I've got another copy that repeating pattern down here somewhere. I'll back up to just before and listen. (music playing) Yup! Definitely repeats again there. I have the right track selected, type bar and let's see what's happening at the end. Because I do want to see what's happening with the beats. Maybe I can time some sort of grand conclusion to go along with the ending on the music. (music playing) We'll scrub a little bit later here in the timeline just to see what's going on with the soundtrack.
(music playing) The last bar of music seems to start right around here. Last bar, and then the final hit seems to be down around here. (music playing) And I am going to mark that end hit, and then mark a couple of interesting beats that might have happened before that. Before this last bar there was a beat right there. I'll just go ahead and type the asterisk key on the keypad directly, not bother annotating that.
That's a nice little lead up there. (music playing) I go down here to my end hit and mark some of these beats out. There's an obvious one, but I've got a couple of other beats lead up to like this one, and I can mark out additional hit points if I wanted to, but that's a good start. Let's twirl up that layer and start to thinking about the timing between the dialogue track and the music track. Let's just do a real rough edit to put the two together. We will finesse that edit in the next movie.
My personal preference is to have the music come up initially as a short of introduction, then go to the dialog to build upon the music, then I'll have a bit of music at the end with no dialogue just to wrap things up. So I need to start looking at how these two layers line up with each other. I see that my dialogue track is shorter than my music track. So that's a good start, but it may be still too long. For example, if I line up this first phrase to start at the same time as the body of the music, the last phrase runs well past the end of the music.
Well, this wasn't exactly the most vital bit of dialog in the world. So I can do a little bit of trimming to keep just the phrases I want to use. For example, I wasn't too excited by this first phrase and I have just that layer turned on, put my time indicator near it, and I press the decimal point key. (audio playing) Yeah, it was a cute joke, but it doesn't have the gravitas that I wanted from something as important as being on the moon. So I'm going to go ahead and go to the second phrase. (audio playing) That is a more important phrase to me, because he is describing his environment rather than just cracking a joke.
So I'm going to place my time indicator near that marker. After I start moving the time indicator I add the Shift key to snap to my marker, hold Option on Mac, Alt on Windows, press the left square bracket and trim that layer to start at this phrase. (audio playing) Now I click on it and slide back to start at the same point where the rhythm starts. Again, if I hold the Shift key, markers will snap once they line up to each other. So that's a good lineup. Oh look, the second phrase starts just after the second bar and this phrase starts just after this bar.
Pretty darn close. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to move this layer back a frame or two earlier so that I straddle the timing between these phrases and these bars of music. I could also cut out some of silence in-between the phrases if I really wanted to tighten it up. Well, here's my last bar of music and here's this phrase that I wasn't too excited about. (audio playing) I think I can lose that one as well. Now to make sure I don't accidentally get a part of the dialogue, I'm going to press Page Up to go one frame earlier, then press Option or Alt and a right square bracket to trim the out point of that layer.
Now I have my starting point of my dialogue cut to fit in against my music. In the next movie, I will start mixing the two together to make sure the dialogue is intelligible, but that we still get to hear the music as well.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 06: Type and Music .
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- Q: This course was updated on 11/20/2012. What changed?
- A: We have added four new movies to the end of Chapter 8, "Working With Audio." All four of these movies (Spotting dialog, Timing dialog to music, Mixing audio, and Refinements) apply to all versions covered by the course. In addition, there are new sets of exercise files designed for After Effects CS5.5 and After Effects CS6 and a companion movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files.
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