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How to Use the Essential Sound Panel for Music in Premiere Pro

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Read Time: 3 mins

In this lesson from David Bode's FREE Ultimate Premiere FAQ course, you're going to learn how to use the Essential Sound panel to help you to mix and balance music against dialogue, sound effects, ambience, and more.

Music

Start by selecting your music track and tagging it as music in the Essential Sound panel.

Presets

There are some presets at the top of the panel which you can experiment with. These will do a bunch of different things at once. If you're doing something really quick and dirty and you don't have a lot of time to mess with the settings, presets can get you pretty close to where you want to be. They're definitely something to experiment with. Let's go through the options under music individually.

Loudness

Just as is the case with other sound categories, the first control is Loudness. For those who may struggle with balancing dialogue and music, this is a handy control. The Loudness Auto Match gives you a nice level playing field.

It analyses the loudness, not the loudest thing. So it's actually listening to the entire track and analysing in computer terms. It's determining how loud it actually is, not just what the loudest thing in this clip happens to be.

Now Auto Match will get you close to where you need to be, but you will probably have to do some tweaking of your own, particularly with music clips that have very quiet and very loud areas.

loudness settingsloudness settingsloudness settings

Duration

Duration is useful if you have a slightly longer music clip than video clip, and you want the music to end with the video. Duration essentially increases the speed of the music and then shifts the pitch down, and those two processes do not sound great when used in the extreme.

If you need to make larger adjustments to the audio, just trim the track and do a fade-out with a couple of keyframes, or do your adjustment in Audition where you can remix music in an incredibly seamless way. The Essential Sound panel in Audition offers a Duration option that does a rather advanced analysis of the music and determines where to make edits. 

Ducking

Finally, there is the Ducking option. When you enable it, it will pull the audio down, which is what ducking means. It'll duck it to get it out of the way of something else. That something else is something that you can determine by enabling one of the buttons under the setting.

By default, the audio will duck against dialogue, but you can also have it duck against music, sound effects, or ambience, or duck against any clips without assigned audio types.

There are also options to adjust the sensitivity, the duck amount, and the fade times. You can try leaving them at their defaults and just click Generate Keyframes to see how much of an impact they have and adjust from there.

Essentially, ducking does a good job of bringing the level up when there's no dialogue, and then bringing it back down when there is dialogue.

More Premiere Pro Resources

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

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