Join Maxim Jago for an in-depth discussion in this video Keyframe audio level, part of Media Composer 8.7 Essential Training: 101.
- [Instructor] The concept of keyframing is very simple. You set a mark in time with specific settings and another mark at another time and Media Composer will interpolate the settings. This principle of keyframing applies to anything really that you can give a setting to. It could be the position of a graphic on screen or a particular color adjustment. But let's start here with audio. This is a good way to learn keyframing. I'm in this sequence called Keyframe audio level.
I'm right at the beginning of the sequence, I've got all of my smart tools turned on, and I'm in the Source Record editing mode. On my Timeline, I've enabled waveforms for my Audio tracks three and four. These are the ones with the overall mix with the background music for this sequence. And I've also clicked here to enable the Volume keyframes. For the moment there aren't any, but there will be very very soon. Let's begin by listening to a little piece of the beginning of this soundtrack.
(dramatic music) - [Voiceover] It is the most unforgiving place on earth. - [Instructor] Now we can see from the waveforms here on the Audio one track, we've got some voiceover, it's pretty clear. And we want the music to get quieter when that voiceover is present. Let's listen a little further on over here. - [Voiceover] It is the Sahara Dessert. With people and cultures as unpredictable as the landscape. (dramatic music) - [Instructor] Well, I think that's a little too intense.
And I also think we could do with easing off the audio at the beginning a little sooner. So to do this, we're going to add some keyframe markers, if you like, to our clips. The problems is that, right now, we don't actually have a button to add a keyframe. And if we go to our Settings and I'll just scroll down here, here we go, to Keyboard, you can see, it's kind of hidden actually on this keyboard display, it's shown as the speech marks symbol, the double quotes symbol.
But on most keyboards, it's really the apostrophe key just next to the carriage return. So we can use the keyboard shortcut, and also I'll just close this down. And in my Timeline, I'm just going to resize a little. There we go. We have a couple of spare buttons. Remember, on my screen, we're working at relatively low resolution. And these days, most people have higher resolution monitors to work on even on a laptop. I'd expect you to have a few of these spare buttons available. So I'm going to go to my Command Palette and we should find under our FX, Add Keyframe, we've got Button to Button Reassignment enabled.
So I'm going to pull this down and put this onto a spare button. And close the Command Palette. Now when you add a keyframe, it'll be added to a track that is enabled. And here I've got Audio three and four enabled. So I'm going to begin, I think, by just adding a keyframe somewhere just after the beginning. I quite like that punch at the beginning of the music. Let's listen to this again. (dramatic music) It's pretty strong.
And this is a good moment to introduce the Audio Tool. I'm going to the Tools menu and I'm going to bring up the Audio Tool. You can tell this is a pretty important tool because the keyboard shortcut is cmd or ctrl + 1. The Audio Tool actually is a set of advanced meters. I'm just going to resize this display a little bit, there we go, so we can see what we're doing. This is meters for multiple channels and if I play the audio a little bit, you'll see what's going on with the mix. - [Voiceover] Unforgiving place on earth.
Over 3.5 million square miles. - [Instructor] Now really, this is replicating the information we've got over here at the top of the Timeline. But it's pretty useful having it floating and you can make this much larger if you want to. The Audio Tool also has a few options hidden away here under the Peak Hold Menu. This is where you specify if the peak marks in the meter are going to hold indefinitely or just temporarily. You can also generate calibration tones and so on.
You can also Create Tone Media for that matter, which you can use to test out your hardware. We'll perhaps come to that a little later on. So for now, I'm going to click just after the beginning of the clip here. And I'm going to add a keyframe. And I need to add two keyframes because although this was originally stereo music, in fact you can see here it's called RTS Trailer Soundtrack Stereo, it's been configured to arrive on the Timeline as left and right audio. So it's stereo but in two separate clips.
And that's fine because I've got both tracks enabled and when I click the button to add a keyframe, it's added to both tracks. And when I click along a little bit, maybe along here, in fact, I want the audio to come back up to full volume right about halfway through this first piece of voiceover, so I'll add a keyframe there. I'll put one in between the two, as well. Add a keyframe there. And now that I've done that, if I click and drag, I can drop the level on these two. Now it's a bit of a pain having to move these separately so I'm just going to undo because there are ways of moving these keyframes together.
I'm going to add an In mark and an Out mark to my Timeline. And now that I've done that, if I make an adjustment to any keyframes between these two marks, they'll move together. If I turn off my fourth audio track, you can see this doesn't work any longer. Just undo a couple of times. So it's the combination of track selection buttons and In and Out marks that gives you this control over what you're going to adjust.
This is pretty handy because if I turn on my Audio four again, I could, for example, select a little bit more of my clip. And then once I've got that pointer, cursor, I could select all four of these keyframes and move them together. So if you've made an adjustment to your audio level over time, you can maintain that over time adjustment and keep the shape of the adjustment but overall increase or decrease the level. You'll notice that when I click, I can't move left or right, I can't make these keyframes move in time.
By default, they're locked to the vertical axis. However, if you hold the alt key down, now you can only move the keyframes left or right. I really like this feature because when I'm adjusting audio level, I very often don't want to accidentally shift the timing of the keyframes. And this is another example of the alt key turning out to be really important in Media Composer. Let's have a listen and find out if we've improved things.
(dramatic music) - [Voiceover] It is the most unforgiving place on earth. - [Instructor] Well, I think it's a little overdramatic and we can maybe increase that second keyframe. But I want to take a look at the audio further on over here. I'm going to press g, that's the keyboard shortcut to Clear Both Marks. We've got a button up here as well. And let's have a listen. - [Voiceover] It is the Sahara Dessert. With people and cultures as unpredictable as the landscape. (dramatic music) - [Instructor] Now we might have a discussion about how useful that twang sound is in the soundtrack.
But if we have to keep it, let's maybe bring down the impact on our audio. So again, I've got my tracks selected. And this time I'm going to use the keyboard shortcut, which is the apostrophe key. This is the button up here on the Timeline we just added. Remember, you could also go to the Command Palette and turn on the Active Palette mode and access the keyframe there. And I'm just going to use the keyboard and press apostrophe and apostrophe, and another one here, and another one here.
Then I'm going to add an In and an Out mark around this central section and then I'm going to click and drag down. Let's have a listen. - [Voiceover] With people and cultures as unpredictable as the landscape. - [Instructor] Well, I think I got a little bit carried away there. That's a little bit too quiet. Now let's find out what happened. I'm going to turn off the Track Enable button here for the timecode. And I'm going to press L a few times to make these taller. And then I'm going to use the navigator on the right of the Timeline here to scroll down so I can see these tracks.
And now that I've made these taller, as we discovered earlier, I've got some dB ratings on the left. And I can see I really did lower those keyframes quite a lot. So I'm going to pull these up to, let's just go for the minus seven dB. I'm going to hold the cmd key here on Mac OS, that's ctrl on Windows, to snap to minus seven dB. And let's have a listen. - [Voiceover] With people and cultures as unpredictable as the landscape. (dramatic music) - Basically, it's never been done. - [Instructor] I think that kind of works. As you can tell, making adjustments to your audio mix in this way is both an art and a craft.
And frankly, very often it requires just trying again and trying again and trying again. It's also important that you have properly calibrated hardware. You need proper monitors on your desk or professional headphones so you can be sure that you're hearing accurately. It's true to say that many of your viewers won't have particularly well-calibrated audio. But as long as everybody producing audio professionally has the same calibration for their hardware, we know that at least the user, or viewer experience, is going to be consistent.
There's another little thing worth sharing with you about selecting and moving these keyframes. I'm just going to clear the In and Out marks I have. Of course the question is, how do you remove them? Well, if I select a keyframe, as I have now, you can press delete. But how do you remove multiple keyframes? If I mark an In and an Out, and select a keyframe, you'll find that they're all selected together, so, of course, you can hit delete and remove them. I'm going to undo because I want to leave you with this sequence so you can have a play and compare yourself.
You can also lasso but you need the alt key to do it. Here I'm going to add a whole string of keyframes that I don't want. To select these, I'm going to hold the alt key and now, even though I have every tool switched on in the smart tool, if I click with the alt key held down and drag, I'm now making a marquee selection around these keyframes and I can hit delete to remove them. For me, when I was learning nonlinear editing years ago, understanding how audio keyframing worked was an important gateway into understanding the much more complex controls in the visual effects.
So I'd encourage you, at this point, to take a little bit of time to just play around with adding, moving, and removing these audio keyframes to make sure you understand the way that this was often called a rubber band, this line across the clip, indicates the adjustments that you've made, and to get a sense of how dramatic they can be and whether or not, I suppose, we should add, that's a good thing. That's the creative part of the art and craft of keyframe adjustments.
- Setting up the editing environment
- Creating a new project
- Importing media
- Finding, organizing, and linking clips
- Building a sequence
- Editing and trimming
- Adding transitions
- Applying segment effects
- Combining effects
- Applying freeze frame and motion effects
- Creating titles
- Exporting video projects