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How to Adjust the Track Volume in Premiere Pro

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In this lesson on How to Adjust the Track Volume in Premiere Pro from David Bode's Free Premiere Pro course, you'll learn how to adjust the audio of your tracks so it sounds appropriate for your video.

Assessing Your Audio

Start by listening to the audio throughout your project and assessing if the volume is too high, too low, or just right.

In my example, the audio isn't loud enough. When I check the master meters while playing the audio, some peaks are landing around -6 decibels and others around -12 decibels, which is a little on the low side. 

checking audio levelschecking audio levelschecking audio levels

So let's talk about how to raise the volume just a little bit.

2 Methods for Adjusting the Volume of Your Tracks

We'll look at two methods for adjusting the volume on your audio tracks. We'll first look at making global adjustments, and then we'll make more targeted adjustments. 

1. Globally Adjusting the Audio in Your Sequence

We can globally adjust the volume for all your clips at the same time through a process called normalisation. What normalisation does is essentially take the loudest peak in a given clip and set that to a specified level.

In this example, select the first clip and right-click on it. Choose Audio Gain. This will bring up a dialog box with a few options. You can increase the volume by a certain amount, normalise the max peak to a specific level, or normalise all peaks.

You might think that would normalise every peak in this particular clip, but this is actually an option that you use when you select multiple clips. So if you wanted to just normalise this clip, you might normalise it to something like -2. You don't want it to be peaking right at 0 decibels, but you want to bring it up quite a bit.

normalising audio clipsnormalising audio clipsnormalising audio clips

The peak amplitude for this clip is -7.1, which means that if you normalise this to -2, it's going to bring this up about 5 decibels, which will make the waveforms a lot bigger and the audio punchier.

To execute that same process on all of the clips, you can select all of the audio clips and then press G on the keyboard—the keyboard shortcut—which is going to bring up that Audio Gain dialogue box. 

For this example, you will notice that the Audio Gain dialogue box shows that the peak amplitude on all of these clips is -3.4, which means that some of these clips are going to be a little bit quieter, and some of them are a little bit louder. The loudest one is somewhere in the neighbourhood of -3.4 decibels. But let's say we wanted to normalise all the peaks by setting the peak in each one of the clips to -2.

normalise all the peaks by setting the peak in each one of the clips to -2.normalise all the peaks by setting the peak in each one of the clips to -2.normalise all the peaks by setting the peak in each one of the clips to -2.

This will move the volume of some of the clips up and others down as needed to make them consistent. This means that they have been normalised to a consistent level.

Adjusting the Audio of the Master Source Clip in the Project Panel

In some instances, you may want to adjust the gain of a master clip so that any instances that you pull into a new sequence will have the same gain level adjustment. To do that, you need to use the following steps.

Select the master clip in the Project panel.

Select the Master Clip in the Project panel.Select the Master Clip in the Project panel.Select the Master Clip in the Project panel.

Then go to the menu and select Clip > Audio Options > Audio Gain, or use the keyboard shortcut, which is G. Either option will bring up the Audio Gain dialog box. 

Audio Gain dialog box. Audio Gain dialog box. Audio Gain dialog box. 

The clip in our example already has a peak amplitude of 0 decibels. So if we try to normalise it to -2, it's actually going to turn it down. So just for the sake of visualisation, let's increase the gain by 10 decibels. 

increase gain by 10 decibelsincrease gain by 10 decibelsincrease gain by 10 decibels

The waveforms in the master clip become bigger, and if you drag a clip into the sequence, you'll see that the audio is much louder because these waveforms are much bigger than those of the same clip that was placed in the sequence earlier, before we made the audio gain changes. 

bigger waveformsbigger waveformsbigger waveforms

If you ever need to readjust the audio between these clips in the sequence, you can. That's because any changes you make to clips in Premiere, whether it's a video change or an audio change, are non-destructive. This means that you can select all the audio clips in the sequence in this example and renormalise all of these clips to something like -2.

However, if you pull the master source clip that we adjusted from the Project panel into the sequence again, you can see that it's going to have that same audio gain adjustment that was made previously, i.e. 10 decibels. That's because we made our adjustments at the source as opposed to in the sequence.

If you need to make an adjustment to your source clips, do so before you start pulling them into your sequence. For example, if you see that you have a video that has a lower audio level, go ahead and normalise it in the Project panel. Then, when you start pulling clips into your sequence, they will all have that appropriate volume level. But if you have already accumulated clips in the sequence without adjusting the audio, it's not the end of the world. You can normalise all the clips in the sequence globally. 

In conclusion, there's a lot of flexibility here in normalising the audio of your clips. You can normalise your master source clip from the Project panel and then start pulling clips into your project. Or if you think the audio doesn't need too much adjustment, you can just start editing, and then if you need to make an adjustment later, select your clips in the sequence, press G on the keyboard, and make whatever adjustment you need.

2. Targeted Volume Adjustments With Keyframes

You may find that altogether the volume of your audio is great, but there are a couple of places where it dips down just a bit. For those places, you can use a more targeted volume adjustment. Let's look at how to do that.

Go to your timeline, and where you notice the volume has dropped a little, insert two keyframes as in the example below. 

insert two keyframesinsert two keyframesinsert two keyframes

Then, holding the section where you want to increase the volume, push the volume up just a few decibels.

push the volume uppush the volume uppush the volume up

Wherever you find a small area where the audio for whatever reason drops low, use this method of inserting a couple of keyframes to push it up. This is a great way to make targeted volume adjustments.

Using two keyframes allows you to anchor the areas around the audio, so that only the targeted audio is affected, and the untargeted audio remains untouched when you adjust the volume.

In conclusion, you can use either the normalisation method and/or clip volume keyframes to make sure the audio is at an appropriate level.

More Premiere Pro Resources

Here are more top Premiere Pro tutorials and resources to try from Envato Tuts+:

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