In this lesson from David Bode's FREE Ultimate Premiere FAQ course, you're going to learn about the Essential Sound panel and how you can use it to punch up and clean up your dialogue for better mixes.
To address your audio issues in Premiere Pro, you going to use the Essential Sound panel to fix issues with dialogue, music, sound effects, and ambience.
Let's start by addressing issues with your dialogue.
- Go to Window in the menu and select Essential Sound. This opens up the Essential Sound panel.
- In your timeline, in your sequence, select the clips that are the dialogue and then go to the Essential Sound panel to tag them as Dialogue by clicking this button. When you do this, it's going to open up a very specific toolset that is geared to dealing with dialogue audio.
- There are four main sections: Loudness, Repair, Clarity, and Creative.
- Because a lot of times you're dealing with clips that are recorded at various levels, or maybe the camera has some kind of auto gain, levelling out your clips is an important part of making this sound great. To do so, all you need to do is click the Auto Match button, and all the clips will be matched to have the same loudness.
- If you ever deselect your clips inadvertently, you can get back to your selection with all of your dialogue clips by just clicking the Dialogue button in the Essential Sound panel, and that'll select everything that you have tagged with dialogue.
- You can also Clear Audio Type in the Essential Sound panel, if you've selected something that you don't want to be grouped with other things. That will reset everything.
- Almost everything that you've recorded out in the field could use a little bit of de-noising. Sometimes, there's some ambient noise that you don't want, like an air conditioner, a loud refrigerator, or some kind of appliance. Or maybe it's electronic noise, noise that the microphone itself produced, or maybe the recorder or some noise in the preamp. You can address this with the Reduce Noise effect.
- The de-noise effect that is applied individually to each one of these clips works by analysing the audio to try to figure out where the noise is and then doing some magic to get rid of it. When you play your audio initially, it doesn't sound great because the de-noiser will sound as if it is muffling the sound, but after you've played the clip a few times, the analysis has been done, and it works a lot better. It's a bit time-consuming, but it's a pretty effective way to de-noise your clips.
- The default value of 5 is probably a little aggressive, and you might want to experiment.
- There are other tools in this section that you can experiment with on your own.
- The Dynamics Effect feature in this section is very useful. It offers an Analyse button that will analyse your clips and help you to get a more consistent level by applying a dynamics effect—essentially a compressor and an expander.
- This turns up the louder stuff and turns down the quieter stuff in the background, like background noise, weird mouth noises in a recorded dialogue track, traffic noise, etc. Essentially, all of the lower-level audio gets pushed down, and all of the upper-level audio, like your dialogue, gets pushed above the background noise.
- EQ Presets: Some of these will be useful, and some not so much. The first six presets that it has for background voice, intercom, locked in the trunk, old radio, on the telephone, and outside the room are pretty good and worth experimenting with.
- Enhanced Speech enhances the voice. Its usefulness completely depends on the condition of your audio. If you've shot in a studio with high-quality microphones, then it's probably not so useful. If you've shot outdoors with a lavalier mic under a shirt, then it's probably more useful. All of these effects are not things that you will reach for all of the time, but it's good to know about them.
- And finally, there is the Creative option. All it does is add some reverb to your dialogue. It's more of an effect, and its usefulness is pretty much limited to when you've recorded an interview in a quite reverberant space and you need to match that. That's when you may want to reach for the Creative option and add a tiny bit of reverb.
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