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Reading audio levels and pan

From: Avid Media Composer 6 Essential Training

Video: Reading audio levels and pan

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.

Reading audio levels and pan

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Avid Media Composer 6 Essential Training
Avid Media Composer 6 Essential Training

87 video lessons · 14265 viewers

Ashley Kennedy
Author

 
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  1. 3m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 39s
  2. 22m 54s
    1. Touring the Select Project window
      4m 45s
    2. Exploring bins
      4m 23s
    3. Customizing user settings
      3m 36s
    4. Setting up and organizing a project
      5m 57s
    5. Saving and backing up the project
      4m 13s
  3. 57m 27s
    1. Touring the Composer Monitor and the Timeline
      2m 29s
    2. Touring the Edit interface
      5m 6s
    3. Splicing shots
      7m 43s
    4. Splicing non-linearly
      2m 43s
    5. Overwriting shots
      4m 35s
    6. Removing shots using Extract and Lift
      4m 38s
    7. Using Segment mode (Extract/Splice) to switch shots
      6m 37s
    8. Using Segment mode (Lift/Overwrite) to move shots
      6m 31s
    9. Using Extract/Splice and Lift/Overwrite together
      3m 32s
    10. Manipulating the Timeline directly
      4m 34s
    11. Creating subclips and subsequences
      3m 48s
    12. Adding multiple video and audio tracks
      5m 11s
  4. 23m 28s
    1. Understanding trimming
      3m 19s
    2. Performing single-roller trims
      5m 15s
    3. Performing dual-roller trims
      3m 54s
    4. Using Ripple Trim and Overwrite Trim
      5m 4s
    5. Understanding sync
      3m 17s
    6. Solving sync problems
      2m 39s
  5. 54m 26s
    1. Navigating with JKL
      3m 26s
    2. Using navigation shortcuts
      4m 47s
    3. Using the Command palette
      6m 4s
    4. Customizing the Timeline
      4m 54s
    5. Using bin layouts
      3m 49s
    6. Using workspaces
      6m 41s
    7. Sorting and sifting clips
      5m 57s
    8. Using the Find tool
      5m 13s
    9. Using markers
      5m 54s
    10. Using PhraseFind
      3m 21s
    11. Using ScriptSync
      4m 20s
  6. 20m 42s
    1. Trimming with JKL
      4m 53s
    2. Performing Slip edits
      6m 1s
    3. Performing Slide edits
      5m 39s
    4. Performing Replace edits
      4m 9s
  7. 27m 17s
    1. Reading audio levels and pan
      5m 42s
    2. Using the audio mixer
      10m 1s
    3. Keyframing audio
      7m 6s
    4. Recording audio adjustments on the fly
      4m 28s
  8. 55m 1s
    1. Using Quick Transition effects
      4m 6s
    2. Using the Transition Manipulation tool
      3m 12s
    3. Using the Effects palette and the Effect Editor
      6m 1s
    4. Keyframing segment effects
      5m 30s
    5. Nesting and auto-nesting
      5m 54s
    6. Saving effect templates
      3m 23s
    7. Building basic composites using vertical effects
      4m 7s
    8. Using the picture-in-picture (PIP) effect
      5m 14s
    9. Using the Color effect
      4m 24s
    10. Creating basic motion effects
      6m 55s
    11. Using Timewarp
      6m 15s
  9. 11m 48s
    1. Understanding system performance
      6m 13s
    2. Rendering intelligently
      5m 35s
  10. 26m 44s
    1. Analyzing footage for problems
      2m 27s
    2. Using the Y-Waveform monitor to set whites and blacks
      7m 16s
    3. Using the RGB Parade to correct color casts
      5m 50s
    4. Using the Vectorscope to improve skin tones
      5m 34s
    5. Using auto color correction
      5m 37s
  11. 30m 10s
    1. Formatting and enhancing text using Avid Marquee
      5m 32s
    2. Using Marquee to apply shapes and gradients
      5m 18s
    3. Using title templates
      3m 45s
    4. Bringing the title into Media Composer
      3m 54s
    5. Revising the title
      2m 17s
    6. Creating rolling and crawling titles
      5m 14s
    7. Using AutoTitler
      4m 10s
  12. 32m 37s
    1. Importing files
      6m 47s
    2. Linking to files using AMA
      3m 36s
    3. Linking to hi-res stills
      5m 59s
    4. Using the Avid Marketplace
      2m 50s
    5. Using the Capture tool
      5m 19s
    6. Capturing footage
      3m 41s
    7. Batch capturing
      4m 25s
  13. 12m 58s
    1. Deleting material from the bin
      5m 29s
    2. Understanding the Media tool
      4m 46s
    3. Deleting unreferenced clips
      2m 43s
  14. 17m 35s
    1. Preparing your sequence for output
      5m 44s
    2. Performing a digital cut
      5m 26s
    3. Exporting your sequence as a file
      6m 25s
  15. 19m 2s
    1. Solving offline media
      6m 48s
    2. Re-linking media
      3m 0s
    3. Resetting Avid settings
      5m 9s
    4. Using the Avid Attic
      4m 5s
  16. 44s
    1. Additional resources
      44s

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