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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.
As we said before the human ear is extremely sensitive to sound, especially sound that is at the improper level or balance. Therefore in this movie, we'll take a look at the Audio Mixer, which is a tool that will help us change a clip's audio level and pan. We'll use it to make sure that our audio falls within acceptable levels and is evenly balanced from left to right. The Audio Mixer is also found within Tools > Audio Mixer. And let's take a look at a couple of things. If I click on the source monitor, I am adjusting the source audio as indicated by A1 and A2 in the source.
I can click off A1 and it's subsequently clicked off in the Audio Mixer. Same thing here. If I click in the record, I'm now adjusting the sequence's audio. And I can click on and off the audio tracks accordingly. So we will stay in the source and if I make my way over to this button here, this determines how many Mix panes I have. I can have 4 like I do now or 8 or 16. We only need 4.
Our Solo and Mute buttons are here in the Audio Mixer as well. Note that when I Solo one all the rest are muted. And we also have a Level slider. We have a reference of zero and we can either raise it by up to 12 decibels or lower it down to infinity or completely quiet. And down here we have Pan sliders. If I just move my Audio tool out of the way for a bit you can see that I can have it pan all the way to the left like it is now, or any value in between.
Now we've already determined that Tony's Pan was misaligned. It needs to be pan to the middle. To quickly pan to the middle I just Alt +Click or Option+Click on a Mac and it goes to mid, which is what we want. And now if we play Tony's clip we should be getting aligned pan. (Male speaker: You have the mentor and the apprentice, Drosselmeyer and Mini-Meyer.) What we want to do is raise the level of this clip.
I'm simply going to gang the tracks. The Gang buttons are right here. And when I gang a track, both the left and the right channel go up by the same amount. I'll go ahead and bring it up 4 decibels and play -- (Male speaker: And that's one of the themes in the story is like?) A little bit more. (Male speaker: You know the apprentice is trying to learn how to become a magician.) And probably just a tad more. Let's try 9.
(Male speaker: He makes mistakes all the time and towards the end he's able to, he could do?) Okay, we are peaking just at about -20, which is just fine. We are getting just above that in just a couple of places. So we'll leave this like that. We have our pan fixed and we have raised the level. Let's go to our sequence now. I'll click on the Record and it looks like my patch is incorrect.
Let me just make sure that I have A1 and A2. I also want to activate something called the Track Control panel. That's found in the Fast Menu, right here. We have a number of choices that have populated in between our Track Selectors and the Solo and Mute buttons. This button here turns a track on or off so we wouldn't actually hear it or be able to manipulate it at all. This track lets us access a number of audio choices, all of which we will explore later in this movie and the next.
And then this track is a shortcut to display the waveform. And I'm able to select it as long as I go into the Fast Menu and Audio Data and Allow Per Track Setting. Now I can turn the waveform of each audio track on and off like this. Let's go ahead and Solo our A1 and A2, our Tony clip. And you can see that they are likewise soloed up here.
And I am going to go ahead and bring this back to zero, and let's go ahead and play out and determine exactly what we need to do. (Male speaker: Drosselmeyer and Mini-Meyer. And that's one of the themes in the story.) Notice that even though I fixed Tony's level and pan in the source, because this sequence was edited before I made that adjustment, this is still incorrect. So I'm going to need to change it separately. So again, I just make sure that A1, A2 are selected.
I will come into my Pan slider, Alt+Click, and because they are ganged they both go to Mid at the same time. And then again, we brought this up to 9, so let's bring this up to 9. I'll go ahead and just click in here and on my numeric keypad I'll type in 9 and they both go up at the same time. Let's see how that sounds. (Male speaker: the mentor and the apprentice, Drosselmeyer and Mini-Meyer.) (Male speaker: And that's one of the themes in the story is like?) All right, pretty good and so now let's Solo our music.
And we'll immediately want to center the pan, so I'll Alt+Click. And just so you know because I have misaligned pan on this entire track, I can make that a global change. Right now my pan is centered just on this segment. If I come here I am left and right again. So if I park on this and I come up to my Fast Menu, I can Set Pan On Track to Global. Now when I come to each of the clips on these tracks all of them are panned to the middle.
Let's check out the Level. (Music Playing.) The music is peaking right in between -20 and -14. That's very good, but we are definitely going to have some issues here in this section that's overlapped. But we'll fix that in the next movie. So I can keep going down the sequence, making the level and pan adjustments.
If I need to make a global adjustment anywhere I can come up to my Fast menu and do so. If however I want to make an adjustment between an In and Out point, for example, I've just fixed Tony's audio right here and Tony is fix again right away. Rather than making all of the same changes again, I came mark an In and mark an Out and I'll go ahead and select A1 and A2, and we've already fixed his audio, we've panned it to the center and we've increased the Level.
Now that I have an In and Out point in the Timeline, I come up here and instead of saying Set Pan or Set Level On Track Global, Set Pan or Set Level On Track between In and Out. So I'll change both the level and the pan, and now both of my Tony clips should be panned to the center and increased by 9 decibels, which they are. I can then go on to Dr. Shannon and Yo-el and change them accordingly. So as you can see the Audio Mixer is really a great tool for adjusting level and pan, and you'll use it often as you begin to tweak the audio when you edit.
It's important that you pay extra attention to these audio details, because as simple as they may be, they will make a great difference in the overall result of your show. Now keep in mind, we are only adjusting audio by segment or between In and Out points or globally. If we need to adjust audio within a segment, we'll find out how to do that in the next movie.
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