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Old November 2nd, 2010, 11:37 PM   #1
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Audio Frustrations in Premiere CS5

Any light you can shed on this would be awesome!

Simple problem: My audio levels are dead on in camera--Just at the sweet point before clipping. We are using lav mics on Sony EX1rs. Everything on the camera/mic side is set perfect with the confirmation at each level (transmitter, receiver, LCD display).

BUT..... when I import anything into Premiere, the audio levels are outrageously low. I render out a project and you can hardly hear anything. I watch my audio monitor in Premiere and it's giving me similar readings to what I saw on the camera side--sweet spot readings, no clipping, but not too soft. But what's displayed isn't how it sounds. (And, yes, speakers are turned up and checked).

I then crank up the sequences with some volume adjustments or audio gain and the clip is still very quiet, but clipping out like crazy.

Any ideas?
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 01:51 AM   #2
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My experience with CS5 (and previous versions) is that the displayed audio level in Premere is the correct and actual signal strength. If I export the audio file to another application (Audition, etc.), the level displays are exactly the same. The fact that any significant boost in the level causes clipping further confirms this.
It sounds like your problem is related to previewing & output to your computer audio monotors.
The first place I would look within Premiere is EDIT> PREFERENCES> AUDIO HARDWARE> DEFAULT DEVICES. Look at the drop down- you will probably have some choices and it may simply be defaulting to the wrong hardware.
Also, the snag may not even be within the PPro software, but rather some level setting in your sound card, or elsewhere in the chain that ends up at the monitors.
Anyway, that's what I would look at next.
Good luck
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 06:11 AM   #3
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Yes, it sounds more like a problem with your audio level settings, not with Premiere.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 03:37 PM   #4
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I've got to agree with the others. Sounds like a problem with the computer audio interface or audio monitoring, not Premiere Pro.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 03:56 PM   #5
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Here's a video I just posted on Youtube with the problem with the audio. YouTube - FS3 Shepherd.wmv

Here's a screencast on the PP side no audio, but you can see the levels in the bottom right corner of the audio above: YouTube - My Screencast

FYI, please note these are raw videos with text place holders for future AE work. Not a final product. :)

What I've always considered the sweet spot is an average level around -6db and never touching 0db. This is a bit lower, hovering around -12db, but still should be plenty loud.

The thing I'm having a hard time with is that although the levels show up good and "look" right, the real-world experience is very quiet. Just check out the Youtube video with sound and then click on any other video on Youtube and it's 20 db louder. Mine looks right, but sounds weak.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 04:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd Ubshura View Post
Here's a video I just posted on Youtube with the problem with the audio. YouTube - FS3 Shepherd.wmv
Sounds fine to me. At least the level does. And yes, I did compare it to a couple of other youtube vids with spoken voices. From my viewpoint it's certainly within the realm of reason.

All the sound is on the left side however, so it's uncomfortable listening. And it sounds as if much of the top end has been rolled off (low pass filter effect, but there are lots of ways for that to happen so I won't speculate), so it doesn't make quite the impact that it possibly could. But these things could be addressed in post if you chose to.

That said, maybe I'm wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. Others will undoubtedly chime in and give you some feedback too. Perhaps a consensus will form...
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 04:47 PM   #7
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If none of your Windows sound control panel controls show a volume turned too low, try opening the audio control panel in PPro and taking a look to see if you have inadvertantly muted or altered a channel (see clip). Right click on the audio track and select "remove effects" to get rid of anything oddity that might have crept into the audio track...you can see what you have on your track in the effects window (second clip)


Since you indicate this is a problem you experience upon importing the file, and also on export, it must be some setting that is confusing the issue, assuming your clip plays normally in another player...like vlc or quicktime?
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Old November 13th, 2010, 02:17 PM   #8
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So...is the audio only coming from one side?

Did you run audio into the camera on both channels?

If you only had audio on the left side you could either source re-map the audio in the clip in the bin so it's mono or dual channel stereo (both tracks have a left and right presence), and at least fill both channels.

Or...select the audio clip on the edit sequence and apply the stereo audio effect "Fill Right/Left"...you would pick whichever refers to where the audio IS...it should be called "Fill with Right"...
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Old November 19th, 2010, 03:42 PM   #9
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sounds fine to me too

at least for a raw clip

You used manual gain on the camera which is a good thing but without further processing it will sound a little dull.

With the EX1 you can record a bit hot as that camera has undefeatable limiters (I have it too) but it's generally better to stay well below the camera limiters and use proper workflow for audio.
Let me add that the EX1 records great audio, I used it in a pinch a few times to record VO's using a large diaphragm studio condenser and they came out great.


you'll want to get the sound on both channels either via modify audio channels (tab on the left of the interpret footage tab) or just use fill right or left "effect"


next you'll be good with a bit of EQ to get the boom from the low mids (cut a few dB around 200-400 Hz) and add a little "air" around 3-4 kHz to make it more understandeable.

And finally you'll want to compress the dynamics a bit by using dynamics plugin.

set the ratio to 4:1, attack around 1-5 ms, release around 100ms.
Treshold level and makeup gain depend on the source audio levels.

oh, and I hope you have some proper audio monitoring equipment, otherwise you risk to make it sound great on your system not realizing how awful it sounds everywhere else.

Been there...
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