Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Normalizing audio, part of Editing Video and Creating Slideshows with Photoshop CC.
- In Photoshop, it's often difficult to get consistent volumes. Particularly because we don't actually have an audio meter or any sort of tools to measure the sound. But there are third party utilities that can be helpful. Including a free one called The Levelator. In Photoshop, you'll need to export the project out. Make sure you mark out the project as such and then use the File Export command. If you don't want to render the video, you can actually turn those tracks off.
This will render out an audio-only movie. There we go. But when we play things back, you'll hear there's still sound even though the tracks are invisible. (dramatic instrumental music) - You can help in many ways. - Now, I'll export that. File, Export, Render Video. What I want to do here is save out the file. I recommend a quick time movie and you choose Uncompressed. Choose to render out the entire frame range.
Let me select a folder here. I'll go to Normalize and choose this folder and I'll call this Audio. Everything looks good. I'll click Render to create the audio-only track. While that's exporting, let me show you where to get the utility. Do a simple web search for the levelator and you'll find a free download. Now, it's hosted on several additional websites so just locate one that you trust. I find CNET reliable.
Avoid some of the extra links here and just pull down the Direct Download Link. Now, depending upon your platform, you may need to switch between Mac and Windows. If it pulled you to the Windows file, you're going to want to look for The Conversations Network. Now this site may, actually, no longer be online. I'm viewing an archived version here but we're taking a look for The Levelator. This takes you to the product. Now in this case, it's officially no longer supported but you can pull down an older version for free, just find the newest version and click on the download link and it should trigger the download.
It's a relatively small file and this piece of software was originally written by Bruce Sharpe who was the inventor of a product called PluralEyes that many of you may use for video editing. There we go and just store that in your Applications folder. Now, you can launch it. The benefit of The Levelator is that it can normalize WAV or AIFF files. You may recall that Photoshop doesn't make an AIFF file so when this movie is done, we'll have to extract the audio file from the movie.
We can do that using QuickTime Pro. Now that that file has exported, I just need to extract the audio. If I go to the folder where I wrote the movie, there's my movie file, it's quite large right now because it's uncompressed. Even though there's no video and it's only black it registered pretty large. Let's open that with QuickTime Pro. Now, I could choose File, Export.
From the Export dialogue, you'll notice that Sound to AIFF is one of the choices so let's just put that back in the same folder and click Save. It now extracts the audio from the file and stores it in the targeted destination. I can close the video file and get rid of this enormous file because it's no longer needed. Now, let's bring back The Levelator. With a drag and a drop, the file is processed and it goes through and normalizes everything.
You get a new file that has better volumes and more consistency. My preference is to bring this audio back a little bit later. I'd simply mute all of the audio in my timeline and add this as a new track. Now, that is an extra step, you're going to have to go through and disable the volume on all of your clips. You might thinking "Why did I mix them before?" But this was part of the process. If you want to use this better audio just go through and turn off all of the sound on the existing clips.
Then you could very easily go in and add this as a new track. Back here in Photoshop, all I need to do is locate my tracks. I could, actually, get rid of the music here because it's no longer needed and turn these to mute. Remember, with a quick right click on the clip, you can easily access that. Then, of course, if you had any natural sound on these tracks, like we did on this early B-roll, just mute that as well.
I really just had natural sound that I used on these first few clips. There we go. Now, for the audio, click + to add and simply choose that new audio file you made that was normalized, the output version. What I recommend is you go back now, enable all of the tracks and give a listen. Everything should be in sync but you're going to want to check and make sure that the video and the lips in this case where there's critical narration, still is properly synced up.
I'll turn off the B-roll and just look at the talking head. (dramatic instrumental music) - Not the rule. What's missing from this world? Wildlife, wild lands - Everything looked good. The video and audio was still in sync and a more proper mix has been achieved. Now, this extra step of using a third party tool is purely optional. I don't do it all the time but some feedback we had on the previous version of the course is that people were looking for more advanced audio options.
You could take advantage of The Levelator to create a maximum audio track, one that you've normalized that has consistent volumes all the way through. Once you've made that track, which does involve a few extra steps, you can bring it back in and sync it up. To summarize, render out a movie, I recommend turning off the video because you don't need it, extract the audio file from that movie and pass it through The Levelator which is a free piece of software available for Mac and Windows. When that's done, go back into your sequence and mute or delete any of the audio that was in there from before.
Then, simply place the normalized track down below and continue to work with the project. I, of course, recommend that you use the Save As command in case you ever need to go back to the previous version of the sequence. After all, the cost of saving the Photoshop file is not that large and it's always good to have a version to go back to in case you need to reedit or make some additional changes.
Working with an earlier version of the program? Check out Editing Video in Photoshop CS6.
- Understanding the video file formats supported in Photoshop
- Organizing media
- Controlling playback in the Photoshop Timeline
- Building a sequence
- Adding transitions and effects
- Adjusting volume
- Working with audio
- Fixing exposure
- Color balancing a shot
- Adjusting contrast
- Adding text and graphics
- Building a slideshow
- Exporting to H.264 or QuickTime