- Tip 1: Set Up a Sequence, Ignore Codecs, and Render Less Than Ever
- Tip 2: Demystifying Timeline Colors, Dropped Frames, and Playback
- Tip 3: Optimize Your System with the Mercury Playback Engine
- Tip 4: Work Smarter on the Timeline
- Tip 5: Adjusting Audio
- Tip 6: Quickly Adding and Adjusting Effects
- Need More?
Tip 5: Adjusting Audio
Audio is very flexible in the Premiere Pro world. Audio can be adjusted in three ways, permitting quick, easy, or complex changes.
Adjust Audio Gain
Open the Clip menu and choose Audio Options > Audio Gain (see Figure 7). With this feature, you can grab clips on the Timeline—better yet, get the raw clips in the browser—and adjust their levels up and down as you see fit.
Figure 7 You can also try setting the audio gain on a bin (folder) rather than just a clip. This is a super-fast way to adjust multiple items.
Map Audio Gain to the Keyboard
Normalization, the setting of the highest moment of a waveform to a specific value, is also available in the Audio Gain dialog. It's a quick way to adjust the sound. I usually set the maximum value of a foreground clip from -3 to -6 (where it'll peak, meaning most of it is probably playing at around -12). For background clips, such as music, I set the normalization value around -15 or so—where they'll definitely be in the background. Do this for your music before you ever play it, and say goodbye to blowing out your speakers! Most music is mixed all the way to 0 dBFS, and this adjustment lowers it.
Once on the Timeline, it's possible to open an audio track and adjust the volume levels traditionally with keyframes by using the Pen tool or holding down the Command (PC: Ctrl) key (see Figure 8). This is the most familiar way that most of us use to create keyframes.
Figure 8 Here, I've hidden the waveforms on Audio 2 to make it easier to see the clip keyframes.
Far more unique is the ability to keyframe a track (see Figure 9). Regardless of what clip is in the Timeline at that moment, the volume change will be applied. The powerful use here is known to audio editors, but less familiar to video editors: It's possible to make audio adjustments that would be appropriate for a specific point in time, such as ducking music on a track while there's a narration clip on another track. If you decide to change out the music, the beauty of track keyframes is that whatever goes on that track will still be ducked, making it quick and easy to exchange audio beds while retaining all the volume changes.
Figure 9 Here, I've trimmed back the music on the Audio 5 (Music) track, and I'm showing the track keyframes. No matter what audio goes on the track, it'll be raised or lowered.
To switch to tracking keyframes, look on the audio track header for a drop-down menu for keyframes. From this menu, it's possible to switch from clip-based keyframes (which stick to a clip) to track-based keyframes.