Premiere Pro has been growing in popularity of late as many more editors add it to their toolbox (I edit in PP & MC, depending on the job). Premiere Pro has a strong feature set when it comes to audio, but a lot of the features aren’t immediately obvious (same with FCP & MC). In this article we look at the new audio features in Premiere Pro CS 6 as well as how to accomplish specific audio tasks.
When you create a new project, you can specify the number of audio tracks and track type in the “Tracks” tab.
The Track Type defaults to Standard, accepts mono or stereo audio, and is a welcome change to having separate tracks for mono and stereo audio in CS 5.5. (5.1 audio is still a separate type) and see the next tip for when to use adaptive audio.
If you check the “Open” box, the audio tracks will be uncollapsed in the Sequence, revealing the audio waveforms. You can also change and name the number of Audio Tracks, as well as saving your changes as a Preset. (click the “Save Preset” button).
When creating a new Sequence, you can change the “Master Audio” from Stereo to Multichannel when outputting multiple audio tracks (up to 16) with hardware that supports it.
Adaptive Audio works with stereo/mono tracks and lets you map source tracks to specific output tracks. An example would be working with P2 files (MXF) which have 4 audio tracks.
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By default audio tracks are imported “as is”. To change this behavior, go to Preferences > Audio and change the “Use FiIe” setting to a specific type. This doesn't change audio tracks already imported into the Project, but you can use “Modify Clip” for that (Tip 4).
The “Automation Keyframe Optimization” settings allows to record less audio keyframes when automating audio (see Tip 9).
Select the clip in the Project, right-click and select “Modify Clip”.
A dialog box appears and you can change the audio to Mono, Stereo, 5.1, or Adaptive.
Note that this will not work for clips already in a Sequence, as you will get a warning that changes will not be reflected in existing timelines.
You can work with audio in Premiere Pro on a clip or track level.
If you drag the yellow line for the clip up/down, you are adjusting the volume for just that clip.
By default you see clip audio in a Sequence. By clicking on the “show keyframe” button you have options to show clip keyframes/volume and track keyframes/volume.
You apply an audio effect to the clip by selecting it and double-clicking on an effect in the Effects Tab. You modify the effects parameters in the “Effects Controls” Panel.
To change the volume for a track, click on the “show keyframes” button and select “Track Volume”. Then when you adjust the yellow line, it effects the the whole track.
To apply an effect to the track (say you want to EQ all the clips on the track at once), you need to use the Audio mixer.
You bring up the Audio Mixer from the Window menu or by selecting the Audio Workspace (Window > Workspace > Audio). This rearranges the window layout and puts the Audio Mixer top left. You can also modify the layout and save it.
In the Audio Mixer there is a fader for each track and a Master fader. You can rename each audio track, which is a handy organizational tool. You can mute, solo, and enable a track for recording (voiceovers).
When you drag a fader for a track, it’s important to remember that you are changing the audio levels for the track, not a clip.
There is a hidden panel on the top left of the Audio Mixer. Click the Show/Hide Effects and Sends triangle to reveal the effects and sends panel.
Click in the top 5 slots to add an audio effect to the track. Double-click on the effect to launch the full interface for the effect.
The bottom 5 slots of the effects and sends panel are for creating a Submix.
Say you have 2 audio tracks that you want to apply the same to. You create a Submix, send to the 2 clips to the Submix, and apply the effect to the Submix. This can be a big time saver.
Premiere Pro allows you to “ride the levels” of a track by recording keyframes automatically .
A common scenario is you have narration and music, and you want to raise the music level when there is no narration. You could do this manually but thankfully you can automate this process.
Before you record keyframes, go to Preferences > Audio and check “minimum time interval thinning, and change the “Minimum time” to 300-400 milliseconds so you don't have hundreds of keyframes. This way you can manually tweak them if you want to make changes.
Change an audio track from “Read” to “Write”, press the spacebar, drag the fader while the Sequence plays, and press spacebar again to stop recording. To see the keyframes you recorded, click on the “show keyframes” button and select “Track Keyframes” in the Sequence.