Setting levels with the audio meters
Video: Setting levels with the audio metersDo not underestimate the power of audio in your documentary. Far too often audio plays second fiddle, while everyone's concentrating on the visuals, when in fact audio can definitely help tell your story. What we want to look at, here, is using the audio meters so that we are changing the levels of our audio in a way that's mathematical and not dependent on the vagaries of someone's ears, someone's speakers, or someone's headphones.
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This course shows beginning filmmakers how to make a short documentary from footage they have already shot, and walks them from the editing process in Adobe Premiere Elements through uploading a finished movie to platforms like Vimeo or YouTube. Author and producer Jason Osder explains how the footage was shot along the way, illuminating why particular angles were chosen and how the subject matter influences the editing process. The course also covers trimming, editing to music, and adding a title and graphics, and the final chapters result in a polished, color-corrected movie with properly mixed dialog and music.
- Importing and evaluating footage
- Planning the edit
- Marking and adding clips to the timeline
- Creating cover shots with video tracks
- Trimming clips
- Adding and refining transitions
- Adding a title and a lower third
- Incorporating still images
- Setting audio levels
- Creating a DVD
- Posting to YouTube
Setting levels with the audio meters
Do not underestimate the power of audio in your documentary. Far too often audio plays second fiddle, while everyone's concentrating on the visuals, when in fact audio can definitely help tell your story. What we want to look at, here, is using the audio meters so that we are changing the levels of our audio in a way that's mathematical and not dependent on the vagaries of someone's ears, someone's speakers, or someone's headphones.
Before I get going, it's going to be necessary to render this whole timeline so it plays well and full speed while we are concentrating on the audio. Just a quick tap on Return, and then we'll wait this out. (music playing) You can now see that we have a fully rendered timeline. Now I need to open our Audio Meters. And I'm going to play some audio, and I want you to notice particularly where the voice is peaking.
We haven't adjusted the music yet. We are going to do that soon. But what I want to do here is--with the Audio Meters--see that the voice itself is at the right level. Again, watch for the peaks and then we'll talk more about it. (music playing) (Female speaker: My favorite thing in the world is (actually being a participant in this incredibly rare medium.) Now don't worry for the moment how it's mixing with the music.
Also, you may have noticed that on the Audio Meters we're seeing the voice only on one side. That's because this is recorded as a mono track, and we are going to fix that at the same time we deal with the music. Rather, notice how the peaks in her voice are ending right about there. That's about as high as it gets, around -12. And I think they could be getting much closer to -6. Not all the way up here, but about one step higher. I'm going to make an adjustment to the audio and play again.
(Female speaker:--is actually being a participant.) Do you see the way I immediately got the yellow line? I went too far. Let me back it off a step. And listen again. (Female speaker:--favorite thing in the world is actually being a participant in this incredibly rare medium.) That's what I am looking for. And we are going to have to listen to each one of these pieces, but one thing I like to do is once I get one more or less right, I like to apply that setting to the rest.
Again, we can't just end there. We still have to listen to them. But I do like to copy this one. And then use Paste Attributes to apply it to the others. You can see that all of our audio lines moved, and we've use this setting to put the others the same. Again, I don't think we can trust that. If I go down here and listen to this one.
(Female speaker: Then I'll just sit down and look at each one, because I want to understand the story that I've--) You see how it's getting way up into here? So that setting that was good enough for the first one was a little too high for this one. We will bring it down a notch. (Female speaker:--and look at each one, because I want to understand.) Once or twice getting up into the orange doesn't bother me. So that looks about good. Again, I'm not concerned with how it's mixing with the music.
We are going to take care of that next. What we've seen here is that, first: audio is very important, and second: you can't just trust your ears to do it. Rather, you need a tool like the Audio Meters, so you have a real measurement of what your audio sounds like.
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