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In this course, author Ashley Kennedy demonstrates basic and intermediate video editing techniques in Avid Media Composer. The course explains how to build sequences, mix audio, apply effects, and color-correct footage. The course also shows how to create titles, manage and output media, capture and import footage, and troubleshoot common post-production issues.
Now that you've got a handle on editing video, it's time to launch into some basic audio editing. Believe it or not, many editors consider audio even more important than video, because audio has the ability to reach into the subconscious and affect parts of the brain that viewing images can't, so good audio is crucial. In this movie, we'll explore audio levels and pan and how to read via the Audio tool. So let's take a moment to open up a very important tool called the Audio tool. It's in the Tools menu, and you can also bring it up by pressing Ctrl+1 or Command+1 on a Mac. And before going into exactly what we see here, I want to talk a little bit about levels.
Levels, unlike volume, are a constant value of the power, or intensity of sound. Now this measurement, which is measured in decibels, is actually relative to a reference audio level, which is typically set at the threshold of perception of human hearing. Therefore, normal sounds should peak right around -20 to -14 on the digital scale, and 0 to +6 on the analog scale. So right around here, we want our normal sounds, like the human voice, to peak, loud sounds can peak higher, and quieter sounds can peak lower.
In fact, you'll notice that the view meters go from green to yellow right in this area to show you that this is basically where we should be peaking audio in normal sounds. So I'm going to load up a couple of audio clips, and let's take a look at their level and pan. Here's just a casual conversation clip with Kim. I'm going to go ahead and press Play. Keep your eye on where it's peaking and also the arrangement between the left and right pan.
All right, so we were definitely peaking too hot on the left channel and we were peaking too low on the right. Now, we do have the ability to solo and mute our audio so, if you ever want to hear anything by itself, I could solo my A1 Track and play this, and let's go ahead and solo A2. Oh! We didn't mean to play our sequence there.
We need to make sure that our Source monitor is selected and we've soloed our A2. Let's go ahead and take a listen. (inaudible speech) So as you see, we definitely have a level problem there. It's much more noticeable when you're playing it by itself. So we have mis-panned audio, and we have audio that's too hot coming out of the left channel, audio that's too low coming out of the right, and let's go ahead to our next clip to analyze that one.
We'll go ahead and un-solo so we're playing both A1/A2 again. Okay, now we've got Kim's interview. I'm now going to go ahead and play and again, keep your eye on where it's peaking and how the pan looks. (Female speaker: For many people who swing dance, the vintage lifestyle, the vintage clothing, it's all--) Both our left and right channel are too low, the right one's really low. Again, if we solo A1 and play-- that one's close, but we definitely need to get it back up into this region here, and if we solo A2 and play-- much too low here, so we're going to need to fix that and we will with the Audio Mixer in the next movie.
Finally, I want to go ahead and play my sequence so that you can see some of the problems that exist here. Before I do, I want to make sure that you're aware that all of my odd tracks, A1 and A3, are panned to the left and all of my even tracks, A2 and A4, are panned to the right by default. So, as you're looking at the Audio tool, A1 and A3 will be coming out of the left side and A2 and A4 will come out of the right side.
Let's go ahead and take a look at this and see what problems might exist, and I'll go ahead and un-solo this just to I don't forget about it later. Let's go ahead and press play. (music playing) So, we definitely need some mixing. We'll cover mixing in a future movie. Basically, that means that we will be able to hear the music and her voice simultaneously by lowering the music while she's speaking, but you've noticed that the music was actually peaking at a very good level, but not while someone's talking.
So before her interview starts, that's probably good, but when she starts talking, we're going to a) need to raise her levels and b) need to go down on the music's levels so that we can hear everything. So, as you can see, we have a few things to consider when setting our audio levels and pan within a sequence. We'll use the Audio tool to make sure that the audio levels fall within acceptable limits, and we'll also need to make sure that the audio is panned evenly from left to right. We'll take a look at how the Audio Mixer can help us in the next movie.
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