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In Avid Media Composer 5 Essential Training, author Ashley Kennedy demonstrates basic and intermediate editing techniques in Media Composer, one of the most widely used nonlinear, video editing systems. This course covers how to build sequences, mix audio, color correct footage, apply effects, and troubleshoot common post-production issues in Media Composer. Exercise files accompany the course.
Everything we learned in the previous movies about adjusting Audio Level and Pan are a great resource for basic audio adjustments, provided that you're either changing the audio of a source clip, or of a segment in the Timeline. What if however, you need to change the audio within a segment? Many times audio levels fluctuate within the boundaries of a segment and one adjustment is not enough. Instead, you need to be able to ride the levels up and down within a segment. To do this, you'll need to keyframe the audio, which is otherwise known as rubber-banding.
We already know this section of the Timeline has some issues. We can't really understand Tony, and then the music drops abruptly out. Let's go ahead and just play one our time to remind ourselves. (Music Playing.) (Male speaker: You have the mentor and the apprentice, Drosselmeyer and Mini-Meyer.) (Male speaker: And that's one of the themes.) What we want to do is drop the level of the music down here, keep it at a constant level while Tony is talking, and then drop it again.
We'll need to keyframe, and a keyframe is basically a point of change from one audio level to another. Right now, I have my audio waveform displayed and I need to display one more thing before being able to keyframe. That's my Auto Gain. I can find that in the Fast Menu > Audio Data > Auto Gain. If I choose this, it globally enables Auto Gain for all of my tracks, or if I take off Auto Gain, but still have Allow Per Track Settings, I can activate Auto Gain via this pull down menu on individual tracks, like so.
This will allow me to input keyframes to dip the audio down here and then dip it again here. By default the Keyframe button is on your Quotes key on the keyboard. So I'll go ahead and press it right here. Then again, right as he starts talking, and then we'll press it again here, because we need to dip out at the end right there. If I try to pull this down, right now it doesn't work. I need to actually enable audio keyframes right here.
Now if I hover over this keyframe, my cursor turns into a little hand and I can actually drag this down. I'm going to zoom in a little bit more. I'm going to enlarge the size of the tracks by hitting Ctrl+L, or Command+L on a Mac. Notice that when I do this, I get small decibel lines. If you look over here, I actually have numbers indicating how much I'm raising, or lowering my audio. So I'm just going to make them a little bit larger.
We'll zoom in. We'll scroll over. And if I hold down Ctrl, while lowering my audio, it snaps to these decibel lines. So I'm going to snap down two lines on each side, so that I get a ramp down, a constant rate during the time that he is talking, and then I need to lower this down to silence. Let's go ahead and play this out.
(Music Playing.) (Male speaker: You have the mentor and the apprentice, Drosselmeyer and Mini-Meyer.) (Male speaker: And that's one of the themes in the story.) If I'd like to raise or lower that by any other degree, I can do so by marking an In and an Out around these two keyframes and then raising them up or down at the same rate. So if I thought that was a little bit quiet, I can just drag it up just a tiny bit more and let's play that.
(Music Playing.) (Male speaker: You have the mentor and the apprentice, Drosselmeyer and Mini-Meyer.) (Male speaker: And that's one of the ....) Well, it looked like my levels were peaking exactly right. Everything sounded nice, as I was ramping down and then ramping down again. I thought that worked really well. Now let's go to this section, because I think we have the same issue. Again, we will probably want to put a keyframe right at the beginning and then another one and then ramp up the rest of the way here.
So let's go ahead and clear our In and Out marks by pressing G. We'll mark a keyframe using the Quote key. We'll do another one here, and then two more right here. When he is finished talking, drag that down to silence. We'll want to have these at the same level. So we'll go ahead. I'll snap to my decibel lines. We'll see if that works.
(Male speaker: Is like you know the apprentice is trying to learn how to become a magician.) (Music Playing.) I thought that ramped up a little bit fast, so let's try something a little bit more subtle. I want to move these to the left and right. I can't do that by default. I have to actually press my Alt key. If I press Alt, I can drag to the left and the right, like so. I want to drag the second keyframe to the left.
I want to drag both the second and third keyframe down by several decibels. So I'll snap to my decibel lines and drag that up slightly. I'll need to take away In and Out points, drag that up slightly, and let's test that out. (Male speaker: The apprentice is trying to learn how to become a magician.) (Music Playing.) A little bit more. I think we're good.
(Male speaker: The apprentice is trying to learn how to become a magician.) (Music Playing.) We've keyframed the audio, so that we can hear Tony and so that everything is mixed a lot better. Rubber-banding audio is absolutely essential to building a proper audio mix, because you can never really rely on audio segments with uniform levels. Building an intricate audio bed is so important. So you'll certainly find yourself setting audio keyframes a lot in the audio mixing process.
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