In this lesson on How to Add Audio Effects in Premiere Pro from David Bode's Free Premiere Pro course, you will learn about basic audio clip effects and audio track effects in Premiere Pro.
Similar to applying video effects to individual clips, you can also apply audio effects to individual clips. You'll find a range of audio effects at your disposal, under Audio Effects in the Effects panel.
Audio Clip Effects
Let's look at how audio clip effects work. Let's say you wanted to make a little frequency adjustment on one of your clips. Go to Audio Effects, search for something like EQ, and drag it onto your selected clip in the sequence.
Next, go to the Effects Control panel and apply your adjustments. In this example, the subject's microphone is located under her shirt and is losing some of those really high frequencies, so we'll use the controls offered in the popup panel to add some of the high frequencies back and make a few other tweaks.
This is how you can add audio effects to a single clip. But what if you want to apply an audio effect to multiple clips? Unfortunately, master clip effects don't work with audio, but there's a way around this.
Audio Track Effects
Go to Window in the menu, and select Audio Track Mixer—not to be confused with Audio Clip Mixer, which is another way to make volume adjustments on individual clips.
Instead of making adjustments to individual clips, Audio Track Mixer enables you to make adjustments to everything on the track.
For example, if you had a project with different microphones for different speakers, it would make sense to keep each microphone on a different track. So when Cheryl is speaking, you would keep her on audio track 1, and when Bob is speaking, you would keep him on audio track 2, etc. This would allow you to apply different effects to suit each speaker's voice individually, and that effect would be applied to the entire track.
To do that, click the down arrow in the Audio Track Mixer, which is Show/Hide Effects and Send.
Then you chose Filter and EQ > EQ from the dropdown menu.
Once EQ is selected, you can double-click on it to make your adjustments. Don't forget to check out Audio Processing for Video to learn more about how and why to make audio adjustments because that's outside the scope of this tutorial. Right now you just need to understand the process of applying these track effects and to be clear that once applied, they will cover all the clips on the entire track, as opposed to just one clip on the track.
Apart from applying an EQ, a Dynamics Processor is another useful effect to apply. This helps level out the dynamic changes in an audio track. Essentially, it squishes the louder stuff back down to a quieter level, and then brings everything else up. In other words, it reduces the dynamic range so that it's just a little bit easier to listen to.
In the process of your audio adjustments, you may see little red lights on the meter lit up.
These are audio clipping indicators, which means that the audio has reached a very high level, and it has either met or exceeded the zero decibel mark. In digital audio, you can't have anything go past zero decibels because then the waveforms get clipped off or squared off, and it sounds really nasty. So to prevent this, go to the master track in the Audio Track Mixer and apply another Dynamics Processor.
When you double-click the Dynamics Processor, a dialogue window opens. Turn off the Compressor, turn on the Limiter, and turn up the Threshold to maybe -2.
Now, no matter how loud any track gets in this entire project, the master audio level or the master audio track will never get louder than -2 decibels. All the other tracks are routed to this master channel, so it wouldn't matter if you have one track or ten tracks with audio on them. If you enable the Limiter on the master track and set the threshold to -2 decibels, the audio won't get louder than -2 decibels. This is a great insurance policy for your projects to make sure that you're not exporting projects with audio that sounds distorted because it's way too loud.
The Audio Track Mixer offers a ton of audio effects to choose from. You can apply up to five effects, and that's usually plenty. Note that there are some very basic and not very useful noise reduction controls. If you wanted to apply a little bit of noise reduction to your project, you could try to put on the DeNoiser.
Double-click to bring up the controls and simply turn down the Reduction knob. This may or may not be effective, depending on your footage.
For effective noise reduction, you should use the much more advanced process offered by programs like Adobe Audition or iZotope Rx. You can learn more about advanced audio processing in the full course, Audio Processing for Video.
When to Apply Audio Clip Effects vs. Audio Track Effects
Applying effects in the track mixer is very handy, but this doesn't mean that you'll never apply audio effects to individual clips. Sometimes, you'll have a B-roll sound element, or you'll have a track with many different audio elements on it. In those particular cases, it doesn't make sense to put every single one of those on individual tracks. In those instances, what you would do is apply audio effects directly to the clip.
If you had several instances of natural ambient sounds or other sounds, you may want to put those all on one track and then use track effects with the Audio Track Mixer to apply EQ, Compression, and other audio effects to the track. However, if you have one or two of these clips in your timeline, applying an individual audio effect to that clip alone is probably the best solution.
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