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Mixing audio

From: Premiere Pro CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Mixing audio

In this movie, we're going to look at mixing audio and also the significance of the role that that plays in video. Now, Premiere actually has some amazing audio mixing tools and after we talk a little bit about mixing, it's no wonder why because it just plays such a huge role in video. Here, we have a great little video presentation. We have some great high-quality clips, we have a great actress, and we have some really great audio clips as well. But they're not mixed well or they're not mixed at all, actually, and so I want you to listen to these different clips, and basically what we have here is some audio of her talking.

Mixing audio

In this movie, we're going to look at mixing audio and also the significance of the role that that plays in video. Now, Premiere actually has some amazing audio mixing tools and after we talk a little bit about mixing, it's no wonder why because it just plays such a huge role in video. Here, we have a great little video presentation. We have some great high-quality clips, we have a great actress, and we have some really great audio clips as well. But they're not mixed well or they're not mixed at all, actually, and so I want you to listen to these different clips, and basically what we have here is some audio of her talking.

We have some ambient office noise, we have an angry customer call, and then we have some music that comes in. And again, it's not mixed well. They're good elements but they're just really not mixed and you could see what a horrible end result we have, just because of the mix. And just to give you some background of what's going on in this clip here, this girl takes a call, she's trying really hard, she hates her job, she takes this call, and it's an angry caller, and she try to give it her best but this guy is just a jerk, the guy played by me, I am the jerk, and then she's just frustrated, and so she is just devastated.

So that's the feel. That's her motivation. That's what we're going for in this little short video clip. So let's listen to that. (Woman: Good afternoon. PSP Corporation. This is Christy Brown. How can I help you?) (Caller: Your service sucks!) (Music playing.) It goes on, and so you could tell, right off the bat, that as soon as you first start hearing it or first start watching the clip, it just doesn't work because the ambient office noise is just too loud. So right off the bat, you can tell from the very first few seconds of the video this isn't working because of the audio mix.

So the way that we fix this is go to the Audio Mixer panel. This isn't showing, if you're not seeing it. You can go to the Window menu up here at the top and go to Audio Mixer>Mixing. Now the interface of this panel is really cool. It's actually a lot like a recording studio. We have these knobs and these faders and stuff like that and all these little doohickeys for each track of audio. So as you can see, our first track of audio, down here, is music, and that corresponds to this track here, and you could see it's number 1, and then the ambient audio at the top, Ambience, and then we have the angry customer number 3, and number 4 is the main dialog, and all of this is being output to the Master, as indicated by this dropdown here.

Now normally when people adjust audio in Premiere, they open up the tracks here and they grab these dorky little rubber bands and they pull them down, and that might work for you, but it's so much easier and it's more obvious what you're doing when you actually just grab these faders and mix them down, and this can be done while you're listening to the audio. So I am going to hit the Home key to get back to the first frame, and I'm going to play this back, and I'm going to drop the volume of the Ambience, and watch what a difference it makes. (Woman: Good afternoon. PSP Corporation. This is Christy Brown. How can I help you?) Instantly, it sounds so much better.

When it's at the default volume of 0, it sounds like she's in a huge warehouse but it looks like she's in a small little office. She's right next to the wall. So that audio doesn't really make sense, having it drop down sounds so much better. Next thing I am going to do is I am going to drop the angry customer volume that comes in a little bit too loud, and so I'm going to play that back. (Woman: How can I help you?) (Caller: Your service sucks!) So I'm thinking that what we need to do is bring back up the ambience a little bit and I'm going to take down the angry customer volume. The reason why is because what the angry customer says isn't important.

We don't care about the angry customer. We care about the actress, she's our star, and her reaction, and this is just kind of like junk noise in the background, so that could be turned down. The music is obviously also way too loud. So I'm going to bring that down quite a bit here. So I am going to hit the Home key and preview this again. (Woman: Good afternoon. PSP Corporation. This is Christy Brown. How can I help you?) (Caller: Your service sucks! I paid you to do a job, so do it!) (Music playing.) See, now we're starting to get somewhere.

Now, it's starting to feel kind of well-balanced. Now ideally what I'd like it to do is to have the music kind of start in quietly as she gets that reaction right there. When she realizes that she was all sweet and genuine, she's trying her best and then this call comes in and as soon as it just hits her like a brick that this is just not going to go well. You could see it in her face. Boom! Opens her eyes, its great acting because there's really no voice going on in the shot. This is added later. So she opens her eyes and then that's where I want the music to kind of like slowly fade in, and then as the rest of the sounds kind of drown out, I want the music to get louder, and have it turn into kind of like little bit of like a montage type thing.

We will learn how to animate the volume changes on audio tracks in the next movie. For now though, there is a couple of other things I want to show you. Number one, we have these three buttons here. We looked at this button already, that's the Record Enable button. But these two buttons come in handy as well. This first one is Mute. So if we're playing this back, and we want to mute, let's say, the music. (Caller: you to do a job, so do it!) I can just click that little button and it instantly mutes that track of audio. Now the opposite is also true. If I want to play this back and just solo this, then I can click this little trumpet, which is a Solo icon, which means that's the only one we're going to hear, just the opposite of muting. [00:05:26.0] (Caller: you to do a job) (Music playing) Now, it might not seem very intuitive, but you could actually solo more than one track, even though, technically solo means just one at a time.

What I could do is, I'll hit the Home key here, and I could solo the main dialog, and then, as it's playing, I'm going to solo the ambience as well. Watch! (Woman: Good afternoon. PSP Corporation. This is Christy Brown. How can I help you?) Hear how that ambient audio track just has a little bit of thick sweetness, a little bit more air to what's going on. I love that. So anyways, we can mute and solo tracks to our heart's content. So we can really isolate these different audio tracks, get them where we want them. Now, one other thing that we could do in the Audio Mixer panel is control the Stereo Panning.

Panning is basically where in the stereo mix the sound occurs. So we have these knobs here, and there is L on the left side and R on the right side. By default, everything is kind of equally on the left and right. So let's say for example, we want to put this angry customer on the right a little bit because that's where it's coming out of. It's coming out of her headset here, which is more towards the right side of the screen. So we can move that to the right. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to move this up here, and we will solo the angry customer by using the trumpet, and then we'll play it back and as we play it back, we'll move the angry customer's voice to the right side of the screen.

(Caller: Your service sucks! I paid you to do a job, so do it!) So it's a little bit of extreme. I put it all the way up there, so you can just kind of get a feel for where it's coming from. But I think probably about 2 o'clock would be good in this case. Generally, it's a good idea to spread frequencies out throughout the stereo spectrum. So if you have everything else in the middle, it's going to sound kind of muddy. So if you just kind of have moved these tracks around a little bit, and maybe if her voice is coming a little bit from the left, and if the ambience is straight up because that's coming from kind of everywhere and maybe the music as well but if there is dialog, you know you could point the panning, based on where people are standing or if there's some kind of noise or folly in the background, you can point the panning in that direction as well.

Again, spread out the Stereo Spectrum and make everything sound a little bit more full and realistic. Now, one other rule of thumb, as mentioned before with the Audio Master Meters panel, we want to make sure that this volume never goes up to 0, but we do have this Master Fader here. So if everything is too loud, you can grab the Master Fader and just drag down so that nothing clips. So if you have, let's say, ten audio tracks and maybe none of them are clipping individually, but all compiled together, they start clipping on the Master Track, well then that's when you come over here to the Master track volume, and bring this fader down a little bit.

It's also okay, sometimes, if you have audio tracks that aren't quite loud enough, and a lot of these you can see by their VU meters here, they're really, really quiet. So if you need to, you can punch them up above 0 to kind of boost their audio, if needed. Now, let's go to the next movie where we will look at animating the volume of the music.

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This video is part of

Image for Premiere Pro CS4 Beyond the Basics
Premiere Pro CS4 Beyond the Basics

82 video lessons · 20299 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
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  1. 4m 11s
    1. Welcome
      56s
    2. What's new in the dot release
      57s
    3. Using the exercise files
      2m 18s
  2. 18m 54s
    1. Capturing ambient audio
      3m 12s
    2. Getting plenty of coverage
      1m 48s
    3. Telling a story with camera angles
      3m 18s
    4. The 180 degree rule
      2m 13s
    5. Framing shots
      3m 25s
    6. Allowing "emotional space"
      1m 40s
    7. Overcranking and time lapse
      3m 18s
  3. 11m 38s
    1. Why is metadata important?
      1m 40s
    2. Browsing and adding metadata
      6m 4s
    3. Creating metadata with Speech Search
      3m 54s
  4. 33m 12s
    1. When to cut
      7m 38s
    2. Avoiding bad edits
      9m 17s
    3. Using emotional cutaways
      1m 53s
    4. Fixing problems with cutaways
      3m 53s
    5. Pacing edits
      3m 49s
    6. Matching action
      4m 14s
    7. The power of suggestive editing
      2m 28s
  5. 26m 31s
    1. Contrasting targeting and selecting
      3m 17s
    2. Copying and pasting clips
      2m 36s
    3. Replacing clips
      4m 8s
    4. Editing to music
      5m 0s
    5. Using sample rate for precise editing
      5m 34s
    6. Creating J and L cuts
      3m 33s
    7. Working with subclips
      2m 23s
  6. 11m 17s
    1. Ingesting media
      1m 39s
    2. Examining P2 file structure
      1m 31s
    3. Importing P2 files with the Media Browser
      5m 15s
    4. Converting DVCPRO HD to standard 720p
      2m 52s
  7. 38m 11s
    1. Using the Reference Monitor
      3m 0s
    2. Using scopes
      8m 33s
    3. Primary color correction
      10m 11s
    4. Secondary color correction
      8m 28s
    5. Creating a vignette
      2m 28s
    6. Creating a day-for-night shot
      5m 31s
  8. 37m 19s
    1. Censoring video
      5m 30s
    2. Creating a waving flag
      6m 5s
    3. Creating a lens flare
      3m 36s
    4. Creating background textures
      6m 19s
    5. Playing with time
      6m 4s
    6. Using transition effects
      6m 13s
    7. Working with presets
      3m 32s
  9. 15m 30s
    1. Creating a garbage matte
      3m 56s
    2. Removing green screen
      5m 6s
    3. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 32s
    4. Nesting sequences
      2m 56s
  10. 15m 27s
    1. Creating 3D reflections
      5m 0s
    2. Creating growing vines
      5m 52s
    3. Creating a track matte
      2m 39s
    4. Using the History panel
      1m 56s
  11. 42m 25s
    1. Censoring audio using bleeps
      5m 16s
    2. Understanding sample rate
      3m 0s
    3. Normalizing audio across multiple clips
      5m 7s
    4. Recording audio
      2m 24s
    5. Removing audio problems with Soundbooth
      5m 43s
    6. Working with VST plug-in effects
      2m 3s
    7. Mixing audio
      8m 20s
    8. Changing volume over time
      5m 22s
    9. Working with surround sound
      5m 10s
  12. 23m 52s
    1. About this project
      2m 26s
    2. Performing preliminary edits
      2m 35s
    3. Working with multi-camera footage
      7m 27s
    4. Creating a visual "stutter"
      3m 12s
    5. Adjusting color
      8m 12s
  13. 6m 28s
    1. Transferring projects to another machine
      3m 24s
    2. Removing unused footage
      3m 4s
  14. 25m 46s
    1. Choosing a format
      5m 35s
    2. Understanding spatial compression
      2m 5s
    3. Understanding temporal compression
      4m 19s
    4. About HD standards
      5m 46s
    5. Changing footage interpretation
      2m 17s
    6. Getting the film look
      5m 44s
  15. 27m 10s
    1. Working with After Effects
      5m 56s
    2. Creating titles in After Effects
      5m 39s
    3. Working with Photoshop files
      2m 29s
    4. Working with Final Cut Pro
      2m 2s
    5. Working with OnLocation
      3m 12s
    6. Working with Encore
      4m 27s
    7. Introducing Adobe Story for pre-production
      3m 25s
  16. 15s
    1. Goodbye
      15s

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