Join Luisa Winters for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding gain and levels, part of Premiere Pro Guru: Mixing Audio Clips and Tracks.
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- Both gain and levels refer to the loudness of the audio, however gain is the input of the clips and volume is the output. In Premiere, we adjust the gain then we adjust the volume. Before you add clips to the timeline you should start doing some pre-mixing. This is easy to do and it will save you time. Music usually comes in too loud so it will definitely save you time if these elements are already at a better level before you add the clips to the timeline.
- [Voiceover] Let's go ahead and work in the project panel. For that I will maximize it. Let's look under the assets, music. In here your going to see several clips. You can select them all, and then you can press the letter G for gain. This is going to open a new panel. You can also get to it through the menus, but pressing the letter G is an easy shortcut to remember, and it's a lot easier to do than to click in two or three different places.
You can adjust the gain here by as many decibels as you wish, up or down. You can also normalize the levels in here. We will talk about normalization in the next movie. You can set the gain to an absolute value, say minus 12 or 18 dB. Minus 18. When you click OK, that's going to adjust the level of all of the audio files in here to that level.
If you select just one or two of these clips, and you press the letter G for gain again, you will see that the minus 18 dB that we applied before, is still present here. You can also adjust the gain up or down by as many dBs as you want. Let's go ahead and open sequence 1.2 from the sequences bin. To open the sequence simply double-click it. You can adjust the gain levels of all of these clips at the same time simply be selecting them and pressing the letter G.
You can see you can do this either in the project panel, or you can do it right here in the timeline. The panel is identical to the one we saw before, and it works exactly the same way. Let's see what happens to the waveforms when I set the gain to minus 18 dB, which is what we did before. Go ahead and click OK. You see immediately that the audio waveforms go down significantly. Let's go ahead and press the letter G again.
We can now adjust the gain, say by three dB. This is going to increase the level of the clips by three dB. Go ahead and click OK, and you see that the audio waveforms went up a little bit. Now let's work with audio that is attached to a clip. Move your playhead until you can see the interview with this lady. You can select the clip simply by clicking on it, and then press the letter G.
We now see new information in this panel. We see a value under peak amplitude. This is basically telling us that the maximum value here for the volume of the audio is at minus 7.7 dB which means if I adjust the gain by 7.7 dB, my value for volume will go up to zero. Use this value as a guide, and not as a settings suggestion.
If I want for her level to peak at minus 12, and I am already peaking at minus 7.7, let's say it's eight, all I have to do is adjust the gain by minus four dB. Let's go ahead and do that. Click OK, and you can see that the waveforms go down a little bit. Let's look at the last set of clips here. This is nat sound that we have from construction clips.
We can select them all, and again press the letter G. We see that because we have loud sounds that the peak amplitude just goes up to zero. I'm going to set the gain for all of these to minus 18 dB. I click and type minus 18 and click OK, and the waveforms again go down considerably. It is important to note that even though we changed some of the gains in the project panel, anything that you change in the project panel is not going to affect clips that are already in the timeline, however they will affect any new instances of the clips that you add to the timeline, just not the existing ones.
Let's talk a little bit about levels. As we mentioned before, levels are the output. Notice what happens when I bring this level up for this particular audio. You see the value right there at the bottom of the timeline. It says 3.67 dB. When I let go of the mouse you see that there is no change on the waveforms. The only visible change to the waveforms in Premiere is notice when you change the gain of the clip.
- So why change the gain in the project panel? Because if you do it in the project panel before you start the editing process, you already start the mix, and your ears won't be blasted by super hot music or nat sound, and that makes a difference.
- Knowing your tools
- Setting up audio in Premiere Pro
- Adjusting audio levels in the Premiere Pro timeline
- Adding keyframes
- Working with audio transitions
- Using the Limiter and EQ effects
- Healing noise in Audition
- Trimming audio on the go
- Recording and exporting audio