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The importance of ambient audio

From: Premiere Pro CS5 Essential Training

Video: The importance of ambient audio

In the world of low-budget video, it's actually not video that's the biggest problem. It is audio. Audio is the dead giveaway that something is just a really poor production. Try that next time. Next time you look at an independent film, see if you can stand it if the audio is bad. Chances are you will not be able to. You might be able to find a lot of independent movies that you can tolerate if the video is bad, even if the quality of the video is poor. But if the quality of the audio is poor, there's no tolerance for that. So, in this chapter, we're going to look at the powerful world of audio.

The importance of ambient audio

In the world of low-budget video, it's actually not video that's the biggest problem. It is audio. Audio is the dead giveaway that something is just a really poor production. Try that next time. Next time you look at an independent film, see if you can stand it if the audio is bad. Chances are you will not be able to. You might be able to find a lot of independent movies that you can tolerate if the video is bad, even if the quality of the video is poor. But if the quality of the audio is poor, there's no tolerance for that. So, in this chapter, we're going to look at the powerful world of audio.

In this movie, we're going to talk about something called ambient audio. Now, in our main project here, early on in this training series when we were talking about the Razor tool, we split this main clip of this interview here, this guy's interview, we split this up into several little segments, where he says something and then there is a break and then he says something, there is a break. But there is an audio problem there with that gap. Let's listen and basically what I want you to listen for is the sound of the ocean waves while he is talking. (Music Playing) (Male speaker: Beautiful scenery.) (Male speaker: Plenty of places to ride.) (Male speaker: Beautiful weather.) (Male speaker: It just doesn't get any better.) So, we have the ocean waves in the background.

You could see as it goes over these gaps that there is no ocean waves sounding off. So, there is definitely a weird jarring silence that happens as we're waiting for these ocean waves. Because these ocean waves are part of the main talent's clips, we can't get rid of those ocean waves, not very easily anyways. Then we need to fill in these gaps with additional ocean waves. So, this is referred to as ambient audio. When we are in a scene, we're doing a shoot, let's say we're here, we'd want to capture like a few minutes of just the sound of the ocean waves for this very purpose, so we could plug that sound into these holes and make things sound more complete.

If this was an interior shot, we refer to that extra audio as room tone. Now, how to fix this? In the Audio folder in the Project panel, I have some ambient ocean audio. I got this from another clip, but the pitch of the ocean is about the same. (Waves crashing) I think it's going to work. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to resize my Timeline panel here. I have a few ways that I can do this. I can drag-and-drop this to a separate audio track. Then I can just chop this at these different cut points here.

Let's say with this audio track selected here, I could hit Page Down. Then with this audio track selected as well, I could hit Command+K. And I continue to press Page Down, hit Command+K, Page Down, Command+K, Page Down, Command+K, and this is also Ctrl+K on the PC. So, I'm basically splitting the audio wherever there are cut points on the main audio. Then I could select the duplicate audio where the ambient ocean track I just added and the original source audio line up. I could just delete those.

The reason why we wouldn't want this audio track to be continuous is that because when the speaker would come on, we'd have two layers of ocean noise. And that would bury his voice and we don't want that. So, that's one way to do it. But because this audio track is pretty much the same thing the whole time, we could double-click it to open it up in the Source Monitor. Then this is just another technique. So whichever one you prefer is fine. I'm going to go out in time just a little bit, just like a few frames here, a small amount. And then I'm going to set the out point here. Click this to set the out point.

Then I'm going to grab the Speaker icon and drag this down to my timeline. I'm going to drag that to the beginning of that gap. Then I'm going to just trim it there. We could continue doing that. We could drag this to the beginning and then extend it with the Trim feature in Premiere. There we have it. We missed one gap here, because I think that our initial trim was a little bit too big to fit there. So actually, I might want to go and just get a few frames and make that the new out point, drag the speaker icon to that gap, make it all the way left flush with the end of the previous clip.

Then I could extend this again by clicking on the right side of the clip. I might need to press the plus key to zoom in on the timeline here a little bit. Press Home and then extend that. So, either way, we wouldn't want to do both of these ways. We wouldn't want to have the double layer of the ambient ocean audio. But these are two ways that you can do this. If you do choose to go this route and put it all on the same track, then you do have the benefit of using the audio transition, which is actually what I did in the original project.

I went to Crossfade and then you could see that Constant Power is the default audio transition. Basically, what that does is kind of like a Cross Dissolve but for audio. So I can hit Page Down here. Actually let me select my Timeline panel. Hit Page Down to go to the next spot between clips. Now that I'm at the cut p oint between these two audio clips, I can drag-and-drop Constant Power to the cut point between these. I want to do that between all of these clips here. Actually, let me undo that and I probably want to zoom in a little bit closer. Again, I'm hitting the Plus key on my keyboard to do that.

So we could put this transition here so that as one ocean sound goes to the next, it kind of like fades out and then the other clip fades in. So it's less of a harsh transition between these two ocean noises. I'm actually going to hit Backslash here and I'm going to click-and-drag a marquee to select all of the audio on audio track 3 and hit Delete. I'm not going to bother with adding the transitions to the remaining clips. I think this is going to work just fine as is. But let's hear the difference now with the ambient audio, where we don't have those big audio gaps in between the subject speaking. (Music playing) (Male speaker: Beautiful scenery.) (Male speaker: Plenty of places to ride.) (Male speaker: Beautiful weather.) (Male speaker: It just doesn't get any better than this.) Now, you might notice that the pitch, the tone of the ambient audio, the ocean waves, is a little bit different than that of the ocean waves as this guy is speaking.

(Music Playing) (Male speaker: Beautiful weather.) It's a little bit higher in pitch. So we could actually use audio effects, which we'll talk about later in this chapter, to lower that. Or again, we can add this transition, which makes it a smoother transition so as that crossfades it would slowly appear to go up and down and tone and be less noticeable for the viewer. But I can't stress enough how important it is to have ambient audio. If you have any kind of control over the shooting of the video that you'll be editing, make sure they get plenty of room tone or ambient audio, whatever you want to call it, but just get that, because it really does save your skin in a lot of cases like this.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Premiere Pro CS5 Essential Training
Premiere Pro CS5 Essential Training

83 video lessons · 51209 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
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  1. 4m 1s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. What is Premiere Pro CS5?
      1m 41s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 25s
  2. 16m 44s
    1. The Premiere Pro workflow
      2m 21s
    2. Adding footage to the Timeline
      2m 19s
    3. Understanding timecode
      3m 3s
    4. Making basic edits
      5m 15s
    5. Getting familiar with the interface
      3m 46s
  3. 21m 59s
    1. Setting up a new project
      3m 48s
    2. Creating a new sequence
      5m 30s
    3. Capturing and ingesting footage
      2m 51s
    4. Importing files
      5m 23s
    5. Sorting and organizing clips
      4m 27s
  4. 33m 19s
    1. Making a rough cut
      4m 0s
    2. Making preliminary edits
      4m 55s
    3. Creating overlay and insert edits
      4m 16s
    4. Using video layers to add B-roll
      3m 47s
    5. Using ripple edits and ripple delete
      3m 1s
    6. Performing slip edits
      2m 54s
    7. Using the Razor tool
      3m 51s
    8. Moving edit points
      3m 47s
    9. Navigating efficiently in the Timeline
      2m 48s
  5. 28m 45s
    1. The job of an editor
      2m 59s
    2. When to cut
      5m 54s
    3. Avoiding bad edits
      6m 31s
    4. The pacing of edits
      3m 47s
    5. Using establishing shots
      2m 44s
    6. Using emotional cutaways
      2m 1s
    7. Fixing problems with cutaways
      2m 48s
    8. Matching action
      2m 1s
  6. 21m 38s
    1. Using markers
      3m 31s
    2. Replacing clips
      2m 36s
    3. Exporting a still frame
      1m 51s
    4. Creating alternate cuts
      1m 25s
    5. Rearranging clips in the Timeline
      2m 15s
    6. Targeting tracks
      2m 32s
    7. Disconnecting audio and video
      5m 0s
    8. Reconnecting offline media
      2m 28s
  7. 9m 46s
    1. Adjusting the rubber band
      3m 13s
    2. Adjusting clip position
      1m 21s
    3. Moving the anchor point
      2m 50s
    4. Adjusting clip size and rotation
      2m 22s
  8. 8m 15s
    1. Changing the speed of a clip
      1m 58s
    2. Using the Rate Stretch tool
      1m 57s
    3. Playing a clip backward
      4m 20s
  9. 10m 26s
    1. Understanding pixel aspect ratio
      5m 15s
    2. Understanding frame rates
      2m 15s
    3. About HD standards
      2m 56s
  10. 10m 32s
    1. Using layered Photoshop files
      2m 31s
    2. Animating clip position
      3m 33s
    3. Fading layers in and out
      4m 28s
  11. 12m 40s
    1. Applying transitions
      6m 2s
    2. Using transitions effectively
      4m 41s
    3. Setting up the default transition
      1m 57s
  12. 38m 31s
    1. The importance of ambient audio
      6m 35s
    2. Cutting video to music
      7m 38s
    3. Changing audio volume over time
      9m 55s
    4. Fixing audio problems
      9m 57s
    5. Censoring audio
      4m 26s
  13. 16m 25s
    1. Creating censored video
      5m 22s
    2. Creating a lens flare
      2m 20s
    3. Creating a logo bug
      3m 27s
    4. Creating background textures
      5m 16s
  14. 13m 23s
    1. Intro to compositing
      1m 11s
    2. Removing a green screen background
      9m 14s
    3. Compositing with blend modes
      2m 58s
  15. 22m 37s
    1. Adjusting white balance
      2m 24s
    2. Increasing contrast
      3m 5s
    3. Adjusting luminance
      4m 30s
    4. Creating cinematic color
      5m 21s
    5. Creating a vignette
      3m 12s
    6. Creating a day-for-night shot
      4m 5s
  16. 16m 5s
    1. Creating titles
      4m 55s
    2. Creating a lower third
      9m 12s
    3. Animating rolling credits
      1m 58s
  17. 14m 13s
    1. Exporting sequences from Premiere
      3m 57s
    2. Exporting with the Adobe Media Encoder
      2m 13s
    3. The most common formats and codecs
      4m 42s
    4. Exporting portions of a sequence
      1m 54s
    5. Rendering letterboxed footage
      1m 27s
  18. 6m 46s
    1. Examining the other apps that come with Premiere
      4m 25s
    2. Working with Final Cut Pro
      2m 21s
  19. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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