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Old March 17th, 2009, 11:53 AM   #1
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Lowering Audio when adding narration on track two

Hi all. I'm not even sure how to search this out and haven't found anything yet but perhaps someone could point me in the right direction. As always, apologies is this has been discussed on numerous occasions.

I have a video track with no audio, track #1 is music and track #2 will be narration. I have multiple narration tracks to be added at various points in the timeline and would like to know if it's possible to have track #1 fade down automatically, when narration is added to track #2 and then fade back up again when the narration segment is complete. Any ideas?

Also a quick audio question. I know this should be in the audio section, sorry. What would be a good dB level to set for music and narration. I want this project to eventually go to DVD. I hope I'm not being too vague but I'm kind of new to the audio side of things. Thanks a bunch!

Scott
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Old March 17th, 2009, 12:18 PM   #2
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I don't know if that can be done automatically. Most people use keyframes: just add a keyframe or two with a mouse click (right click? CTRL-click?) where the narration starts and ends and drag the volume rubber band to where you want it.

I usually just razor the audio track at that point, drag the rubber band down and throw in an audio cross dissolve. For me it's simpler than messing with multiple keyframes.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 12:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
I don't know if that can be done automatically. Most people use keyframes: just add a keyframe or two with a mouse click (right click? CTRL-click?) where the narration starts and ends and drag the volume rubber band to where you want it.

I usually just razor the audio track at that point, drag the rubber band down and throw in an audio cross dissolve. For me it's simpler than messing with multiple keyframes.
When you're doing this does it completely mute the music track and are you adding the narration to a new track over just over the music track? I don't want to completely mute the music track, just lower the volume of it during narration and then bring that volume back up again after the narration is done. Thanks for the reply. I'll muck about with razor and see what happens.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 02:19 PM   #4
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No, you're just adjusting the audio of the music track to whatever level you like so you can hear the narration on the other track.

I should have made it clearer that all this razoring and dragging is done to the music track, not the narration track.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 02:44 PM   #5
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Adam is right, timeline keyframes are the quick and efficient way most people handle this. However, APP has the audio panel, which will let you adjust the tracks by a virtual mixer (see illustration) if it's more instinctive for you. You need to set the automation mode to write to make it create the keyframes for you, see "audio" in PP help for a complete discussion. IMHO it's more trouble than it's worth, but I've been cutting with keyframes since forever..../Battle Vaughan /miamiherald.com video team

PS On your other question, our practice here is to adjust normal audio levels to average out between -12 and -6 dBfs, never peaking over -3. If audio gets to 0 you will get distortion. The audio level meter and the meters in the audio panel will guide you. It can flicker up into the yellow, never get to red...../BV
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Old March 17th, 2009, 03:58 PM   #6
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The technique you think of, Scott, is called ducking.

It can be done by hand, which is really strenuous on longer-form projects, or using an audio tool called sidechain compressor. It compresses level of one auido track using volume of another track. I think there is some free VST plugin that can be set up manually in Premiere to do automatic ducking.

There is, however, one plugin that does the wiring for you: Sidechain Compressor from db audioware

It works great with Premiere CS3, haven't tested it yet with CS4, but my bet would be it will work great too. Look at their video to get the basic grasp of the technique. It will save you hours of manual labour.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 05:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
Adam is right, timeline keyframes are the quick and efficient way most people handle this. However, APP has the audio panel, which will let you adjust the tracks by a virtual mixer (see illustration) if it's more instinctive for you. You need to set the automation mode to write to make it create the keyframes for you, see "audio" in PP help for a complete discussion. IMHO it's more trouble than it's worth, but I've been cutting with keyframes since forever..../Battle Vaughan /miamiherald.com video team

PS On your other question, our practice here is to adjust normal audio levels to average out between -12 and -6 dBfs, never peaking over -3. If audio gets to 0 you will get distortion. The audio level meter and the meters in the audio panel will guide you. It can flicker up into the yellow, never get to red...../BV
RED = BAD! Thanks. I'll keep that in mind too. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I was just playing with it manually in CS4 setting key frames in the music track. At start of narration I would lower them and at the end I would put them back to normal. Problem is they would gradually start to increase during the narration until it was a fight between the two at the end of the narration. I'm thinking velocity might have something to do with the speed of the music files increase but I'm not sure. Gettin' me learn on today. :)

The other issue I had was a really high quality sound file and a fair quality narration. I had to lower the music files Db way down just to match the narration file. I'm just using a simple USB mic (Blue Snowball) for the narration but I haven't much choice. I'm just a dude with a notebook and a dream! :)
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Old March 17th, 2009, 05:57 PM   #8
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Scott, I'm guessing the gradual increase between keyframes is that you didn't set a beginning and an ending keyframe for the level you wanted...keyframes interpolate levels between them, so if you set a low keyframe at the start and a normal keyframe at the end of your ciip, the level will rise during the clip...

the razor technique mentioned earlier makes this easy, because you make an separate clip of the piece you want to change the level on, and just change the level for the whole subclip. Assuming the whole clip can be the same level on the track you are adjusting, you just pull the audio track down to the level you want and you are done.

But if you keyframe a piece of a clip, you have to use four keyframes: one to anchor the normal level, one just after that to start the lower level, one to end the lower level, one to return to the normal level. If you left out the third one, the level will gradually rise to the normal level. Sounds confusing, try it on a scrap clip and see.../bvaughan
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Old March 17th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiri Fiala View Post
The technique you think of, Scott, is called ducking.

It can be done by hand, which is really strenuous on longer-form projects, or using an audio tool called sidechain compressor. It compresses level of one auido track using volume of another track. I think there is some free VST plugin that can be set up manually in Premiere to do automatic ducking.

There is, however, one plugin that does the wiring for you: Sidechain Compressor from db audioware

It works great with Premiere CS3, haven't tested it yet with CS4, but my bet would be it will work great too. Look at their video to get the basic grasp of the technique. It will save you hours of manual labour.
Thanks a gazzilion. I took a look at their video and also found a tutorial online here for a free plugin. Well, not free, donation requested and well deserved if it saves hours of work. :)

A quick tutorial on automatic audio ducking in Premiere : Adobe Premiere Pro

One quick note I quickly had to figure out. In order to add the plugin to an audio track it has to be in stereo. Select the clip before putting it in the timeline and go to Clip ==> Audio Options ==> Source Channel Mappings and select Stereo. Or perhaps Mono as Stereo. Not sure which is better at this point. :)
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Old March 17th, 2009, 09:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
Scott, I'm guessing the gradual increase between keyframes is that you didn't set a beginning and an ending keyframe for the level you wanted...keyframes interpolate levels between them, so if you set a low keyframe at the start and a normal keyframe at the end of your ciip, the level will rise during the clip...

the razor technique mentioned earlier makes this easy, because you make an separate clip of the piece you want to change the level on, and just change the level for the whole subclip. Assuming the whole clip can be the same level on the track you are adjusting, you just pull the audio track down to the level you want and you are done.

But if you keyframe a piece of a clip, you have to use four keyframes: one to anchor the normal level, one just after that to start the lower level, one to end the lower level, one to return to the normal level. If you left out the third one, the level will gradually rise to the normal level. Sounds confusing, try it on a scrap clip and see.../bvaughan
I tried all the different methods mentioned. I just couldn't figure out how to use the VST plugins at all and I really haven't the hair to spare to I scrapped that one. The keyframes method took too long so I opted for the razor method which, when I changed the audio file from waveform to line, worked wonderfully.

Here's a rough copy of what I created. Everything needs some work but now that I understand the process I can concentrate more on the artistic side of things. :) Thanks everyone for your help.

YouTube - Pacific Northwest

(Pardon the atrocious quality, I had to save it as a WMV in Movie Maker (blushing) to get it small enough to upload to youtube)
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Old March 18th, 2009, 02:35 AM   #11
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The sound mix is not too shabby, if you didn't hurt your wrists cutting and crossfading while making it, well, it's a working workflow :)

And don't feel bad about Movie Maker, it saved my butt several times when other NLEs decided they wouldn't capture from my camcorder.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 02:40 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jiri Fiala View Post
The sound mix is not too shabby, if you didn't hurt your wrists cutting and crossfading while making it, well, it's a working workflow :)

And don't feel bad about Movie Maker, it saved my butt several times when other NLEs decided they wouldn't capture from my camcorder.
Thanks. It's the first time I've ever done it and after watching the clip a few times I can see where improvements need to be made. As far as Moviemaker goes, I only used it to lower the size of the file that Premiere exported. It kept crashing when I tried to use compression.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 06:57 AM   #13
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Everything ever needs an improvement, it's important to be on a good track :)
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Old March 19th, 2009, 12:16 AM   #14
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Everything ever needs an improvement, it's important to be on a good track :)

I deleted my last video but it seems I can't edit my post anymore. I put a new one here:

YouTube - Pacific Northwest
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Old March 19th, 2009, 08:02 AM   #15
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Nice job with the video scott ~
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