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Keyframing is a very powerful feature in Premiere Elements. It can be used to create a number of special-effects in animations, but it can also be used to mix your audio levels and to control your volume at specific points in your movie. Now, we have a movie here in which we have a video clip on Audio 1 and Video 1. We have narration on the narration track, and we have music on the soundtrack. The music sounds great, but when the narration comes in, the narration and music are just as loud. Now, the music is at 100% and the narration is at 100%, and when the narration comes in, they're both equally loud and they kind of compete with each other.
I'll just play the timeline by clicking on the spacebar here and you can hear it. (video playing) Okay, what we want to do is when the narration comes in, we want to fade back the music, make the music softer. And then when the narration is over, music comes back up again. There are actually three ways to do that in the program. One is a manual way, which is actually the way I prefer to do it. There's also semi-automatic way and a fully automatic way. Let's take a look at how to do each.
Now, when you have your clips on your timeline in Expert mode--and I do prefer to work in Expert mode when I'm mixing my audio-- we have a yellow line that runs through all the audio clips. This represents the audio level, and by raising and lowering that line, you can make your clip louder or softer. When you're mixing audio, I highly recommend that you open up some audio meters and have those onscreen as you work. Don't trust what you're hearing out your computer speakers, because they may be too loud or too soft; always work with your meters.
You can open up the basic overall meters by going under the Window menu and selecting Audio Meters and they'll show you the overall output of your audio for your video. But I prefer, under the Tools menu, selecting the Audio Mixer. Now the Audio Mixer has a number of purposes in the program, but what I like is that I can see the levels of each audio track individually. I'm going to position this off to the side. We're more concerned here with Audio 1 narration and the soundtrack. And when I play my movie by pressing on the spacebar-- (video playing) --you can see that the audio levels are registered in there.
Now, our audio on our video clip, we can just silence that completely. We don't need that right now. And so I'm just going to drag that yellow line all the way to the bottom. But when it comes to our music, we want to be able to control at a precise point. I'll show you how to do to that. Move the CTI to just before the narration comes in and when we have the CTI positioned over a clip and we have the clip--in this case the music clip-- selected on our timeline, this little button here becomes activated. That's the Add Keyframe button.
When I click on it, it creates a little diamond on our timeline. If I move the CTI a little bit to the right, I can create another one; move it to the other side of the narration, create another one; and move it a little bit further to the right and create another one. We've just built a bridge here between these keyframe points, and I can lower the volume of the music simply by dragging this center part between the two center keyframes down.
And you can see you can drag it all the way down to 0. I recommend putting it at about 8. Now when we play our timeline, the music is going to fade back when the narration comes in. Move the CTI playhead back and press the spacebar. (video playing) Now, that's a much better mix. The music fades back naturally when the narration comes in, but that's not the only way to do this.
Here's another way to do it. I'm just going to click Ctrl+Z and Command+Z to undo it. A couple of steps we'll get rid of those keyframes completely. Here's another way to do it. At the top of the Audio Mixer there's something called the Smart Mixer. And when I open that up--this Smart Mixer by the way can also be launched from the Tools button on the Action bar, selecting Smart Mix. There it is. When it's opened up, we can set how these audio levels perform automatically.
Now Audio 1 is the audio with the video. We want to disable that completely. We don't want to hear that at all. Our narration we'd like to make in the foreground, and our soundtrack in the background. Now, watch what the program does, completely automatically, when I click Apply. That's it! Look at our timeline. It has automatically set keyframes, lowering the volume on our music whenever there narration comes in. Let' play it quickly. Move the playhead back and press the spacebar.
(video playing) That's very nice! Fully automatic. Now there is another semi- automatic tool you can use. I'm just going to just Ctrl+Z or Command+Z to remove those keyframes again. Let's try one more tool, move the CTI playhead to before the narration. We'll go back to the audio meters, and I can open those either from the Tools dropdown menu at the top of the screen or by clicking on the Tools button in the Expert workspace.
It's not available in the Quick view workspace, by the way. And scrolling up to the top and selecting Audio Mixer, there they are. Now, the audio mixers have these little sliders on them, and I can move those while the video is playing and on-the-fly make adjustments to the levels. So I'm going to ride the gain for soundtrack as the video was playing. So we'll move the playhead back just a little more, get a running start, and I'm going to press the spacebar and as the video is playing, once the narration comes in, I'm going to lower the volume on soundtrack.
(video playing) And you see what it does. The program automatically creates keyframes here on the timeline as I raised and lowered that slider. My challenge with this is look how many keyframes it created, probably about 20 of them. And I didn't make a lot of adjustments on that. I just move the slider down at the beginning and moved it back up after the narration was over.
If I want to make adjustments to this and fine-tune this, I'm messing with a whole bunch of keyframes. It's not my favorite way to work, but it's another way to work. I actually like the Smart Mixer a lot more, and there is a manual way to do it too. In any event, whether you are using Smart Mixing or whether you are using the Audio Mixer or whether you're manually putting keyframes on the timeline, you're working with keyframes. And keyframing has many applications in Premiere Elements, not only for creating animations and visual effects, but also for precisely controlling your volume levels of your various audio clips as you mix your movie's audio.
In fact, when it comes to mixing audio, there's really no easier and more effective way to do it than with keyframes.
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