Join Maxim Jago for an in-depth discussion in this video Checking levels, part of EPK Editing Workflows 04: Audio Cleanup and Special Effects.
Before we get in to any serious audio level adjustment, we'd better have a look and a listen to the audio we have already. So to do this we're going to make use of our meter over here at the bottom right of the screen. And just for the record, if you are not seeing the same screen as me, you absolutely should be, but if you're not you can always go to Window > Workspace > Reset Current Workspace to get something that looks a little bit more like my screen. So first of all I've modified the gain for the music here to make it a little bit easier to hear the interviews.
I need to reset that now so that I've got a clean starting point for my audio level adjustments. So I'm going to select all of this audio. And, I'm going to press the G key, G for gain, or you can right-click and you can choose Audio Gain, and you can see there's my minus 18 dB adjustment. I'm just going to select Set Gain To, and I'm going to set this to 0, which is going to reset the gain for this audio, so okay, now you can see I've got this very, very loud audio, my waveforms are very tall.
I'll just have a quick random check as well, I'm going to select this interview clip I'm on. I'm going to press G, and just make sure I haven't modified the audio. And very usefully, very helpfully, you'll notice that when you select a single clip, you get this peak amplitude information at the bottom of the audio gain panel. What this is telling me is the very loudest part of my audio peaks at minus 10.3 dB. And that's interesting because if I were recording interview media, I'd probably be aiming to peak at mm, well, maybe minus 6, maybe minus 8.
So it's a little quieter than I would perhaps, use normally. And we can perhaps use the Normalize feature to level that out. Let's have a little look at the interview with the director as well. I'm going to right-click and choose Audio Gain. And this is a little bit louder, minus 7.9 dB. Now, I can tell from watching this media that Rob has a deeper, stronger voice. Most of the energy in the human voice is in about 3 to 500 hertz, and of course him being a man, having a deeper voice, there's probably a bit more power in it.
But that's fine, okay. So if we now take a look, I'm just going to mute the music, because I already know that the music is very, very loud. And I'm just going to play back and take a look at the levels meter. Now you'll notice that when you're using the meter, you're getting green, yellow, and if I turn the music back on, you'll see red as well. Now when you get these red marks at the top of the meter, it means that you're actually overriding the audio and that's probably the combination of the music and the voice mixed together, it's just overriding.
It sounds just about okay, but it is definitely going to get a bit fuzzy and you really never want to go over zero dB if you possibly can help it when you're working with digital audio. It's not like analog audio, where you can really crunch up the sound and it just sounds a little bit fuzzy. Certainly in productions in the past, I've worked with deliberately overriding audio, so that you get this fuzzy, crunchy sound when people shout. It's pretty dramatic. We simply don't want to do that if we're working with digital audio. So if I right-click on the meters you see we've got the option to have Dynamic Peaks or Static Peaks.
Let me just switch this to static peaks with that music again so you can see. If I play it. >> Video was really cool, shooting it, because. >> You notice that when I stop that little high line for the audio stays where it is. And this is pretty useful after playback to just see, is the audio pushing higher than I'd really like it to. You'll notice, as well, if I turn the music back on, I'm just removing the mute here. There, we've got these peak override markers. If I click, they'll go away again. You'll notice, also, if I right-click, I can specify the dB range.
So, for example, at the moment, we're on the default of 60 dB. If I set this to 120 and play again, let's turn off the music a little. >> Okay you stand here, now I'm going to shoot you, and then we're going to shoot the same thing but you're not there. >> So you can simply see that we've got a bigger range. Now most of the time, we're really interested in the audio that is louder than minus 60 dB. So I'm probably going to leave this on the default. You also have the option of showing the valleys. And that's pretty useful too. If I just play this back again.
>> Of the music video was really cool, just. >> So as this is playing, you can see this low line. >> The director would say okay, you stand here. >> That line is an indication of the quietest part of the signal. Personally I tend not to use it and it's a little bit distracting so I'm going to turn this off. So this combination of using the peak level displayed in the gain control, and the meters over here on the right are all we need to begin working on our mix.
- What can be fixed in post?
- Assessing audio
- Getting audio into Adobe Audition
- Sharing audio between applications
- Reducing noise
- Adjusting audio levels over time
- Using audio effects creatively