AUDIO EDITING IN ADOBE PREMIERE PRO
One area where Premiere Pro is significantly superior to most other editing applications is audio. Sony Vegas also has as good audio controls, if not slightly better, but you would expect that from a program that started life as an Audio editing program
Avid Media Composer and Grass Valley EDIUS do not have the same level of control. These two programs can only edit down to the frame level where as Premiere Pro lets you edit right down to sample level. Premiere Pro also has a very powerful mixer which lets you take tracks and route them to submix tracks as well as apply effects to an entire track as well as per clip.
Having said this Premiere Pro is a video editing program and you can do better mixing with better control in Adobe's own Audition, now part of the Adobe Production Premium. There is a dynamic link with Audition CS5.5 so you can send the audio edit from Premiere Pro to Audition as a sequence of clips rather than one big lump meaning that you can do a better multi-track mix. (for more information see below)
♦ Highly accurate sound mixing - you can adjust sound right down to the sample level, not just per frame as with most other programs. This also means you can place sound very accurately on the timeline.
♦ Submix tracks allow you to route several tracks into one and then apply effects to this submix track.
♦ Audio is displayed as left and right channels on the timeline - and you can choose to break these out to mono clips, or just use the left or right channel.
♦ You have control over the clip level and the track volume, which can be raised or lowered as desired. Plus you can write your audio levels as you listen to the audio.
♦ Premiere has a great voice over tool - select an area and then play the video and record a voice over whilst it plays. The resulting sound file is then placed on a track in the timeline for you to edit.
♦ Premiere Pro draws “Pek” files of the audio when loaded. These give you an instant redraw of the on-screen wave form as you zoom in and out of the timeline - not more waiting for the screen to redraw like non-pro versions. It does this in the background while you work.
♦ Support for ASIO sound cards means better and more responsive editing. The audio scrub is particularly nice. For surround sound mixing you will need to get the right kind of sound card.
AUDIO GAIN COMMAND
This little box is very useful and can be applied to one clip or several at once. Simply select the clips, right click and choose AUDIO GAIN.
The options we then have are:
SET GAIN TO: Take all the clips and apply the same volume adjustment to all of them.
ADJUST GAIN BY: Take all the clips and raise each of them by the same about - either adding or subtracting the value from the setting the clip already has.
NORMALISE MAX PEAK TO: look at all the clips and work out how load you can make each one without distorting. The quickest way to increase the volume on all the clips on the timeline and each clip will be raised by a different amount depending on how loud they are.
NORMALISE ALL PEAKS TO: look at all the clips and work out how loud you can make the loudest part so that it does not distort, then apply this setting to all the clips. Net result is all clips are raised by the same amount.
Once you get the hang of the different controls it becomes very easy to equalise the levels of your sound. This box does not make quiet sections louder and loud sections quieter - it just raises or lowers the entire volume of the clip. You equalise the levels you would use a compressor, a filter which is available in Premiere and can be applied to an entire track.
Unified audio effects
With older versions of Premiere Pro there were different lists of audio effects for different types of sound file - mono, stereo and 5.1 - which meant you had to choose the right effects based purely on which clip you were using on the timeline. Well now all the audio effects are in one list! Effects which only apply to stereo clips - like fill left or fill right for example - simply cannot be applied to other types of clips.
Surround Sound support
Adobe Premiere Pro supports proper 5.1 surround sound editing and mixing. You can even position your audio in “surround sound” and fly a clip around the room using the panning controls seen on the audio mixer above. If you already have a Surround sound clip you simply bring it into the program and it goes onto a surround sound audio track, keeping the mix intact. If you are only making a stereo edit then Premiere Pro will automatically mix the clip down to stereo.
With older version of Premiere Pro, including the first few Creative Cloud versions, you would need to buy an extra plug-in to make Surround Sound with Premiere. With the advent of CC2015 you can now make professional level Surround Sound mixes using the software as it comes.
Simple programs like Pinnacle Studio, which costs about £100 will let you put a surround sound mix on a DVD and Grass Valley EDIUS will not let you mix surround sound but will encode it into Dolby Surround sound on to a DVD or Blu-ray disc, and also export a surround sound file for use in another program. These programs tend to use a more "domestic" version of Dolby encoding where as the Premiere Pro CC2015 is a "professional" quality plug-in.
Sony Vegas lets you both mix and create a 5.1 clip for your DVD, and even comes with a professional quality plug-in.
You also need the right kind of sound card. Even though most sound cards these days do have surround sound connections and can play 5.1 sound using programs like Windows Media player, Premiere Pro will only play surround sound using a card which has proper ASIO drivers. ASIO sound cards are not too expensive - some Asus cards are around £40. You do not actually need the sound card to create a Surround Sound mix - you can do that on any set up - but you will not be able to hear what it sounds like without the ASIO sound card. If you want to edit surround sound then please mention this when you are buying a system
Some Blackmagic i/o devices say that they can output Surround sound through HDMI but we have not found this to be the case. They do work with some HDMI Surround sound amplifiers but these tend only to be very expensive ones and they do not work with all the amps we have tried at DVC. Blackmagic are aware of this and say they will fix it, but it has been this way for over a year so we would not hold your breath.
With the latest versions of Premiere Pro we have happily watched the picture through a Blackmagic device and the sound through an ASIO sound card to monitor surround sound.
The Matrox range of MXO2s would output surround sound through HDMI but unfortunately these have been discontinued and will not even install into the latest versions of Premiere Pro.
Adobe Audition is Adobe's high quality sound editing program. They also used to produce a program called Soundbooth, but this has been discontinued in favour of Audition. Audition has all teh same features as Soundbooth, plus a lot more, and does much better quality.
If you want to take a clip from the Premiere timeline to Audition just select the clip and choose "edit in Audition". Premiere then makes a copy of the audio and opens the sound program. There you tweak the clip as needed and when you save the clip it is automatically updated in Premiere.
Send an entire Audio mix to Audition
As well as just changing a clip you can also choose to send an entire timeline to Audition. Once again Premiere makes copies of all the clips and then opens the timeline in Audition, but now as a mulit-track mix. You can now use all Auditions tools to complete a decent sound mix, and when finished choose to send the results back to Premiere Pro either as a series of individual tracks or mixed down version of the mix. This is added to Premiere on two new timelines replacing the original Premiere Audio. Audition can also take the video as well as the sound so you can see the picture to which you are editing.
What can Audition do?
They have similar facilities - Soundbooth was designed to let people unfamiliar with audio editing do some very sophisticated effects, where as Audition is an audio tool to rival M-Audio's ProTools. They can do the following:
♦ Single clip and multi-track audio editing - down to the sample level in both cases.
♦ Noise reduction - sample a noise, like a microphone buzz, for example, and then extract that noise from the entire clip.
♦ Spectral frequency display - show the sound as a range of frequencies (rather than the standard waveform). Then you can pick out certain noises, lasso them and either reduce or remove them. A good example would be a shot we filmed with a Seagull in the background. The high pitched shriek of the seagull appeared as a bright spike which we lassoed and removed, leaving the rest of the sound intact.
♦ Mixing audio with video - you can bring in a piece of video and complete the audio mix as outlined above.
♦ Music creation. Audition is a traditional "sound looping" program. You can create loops from anything and the layout the loops on a timeline to make a score. This does require some musical ability and talent (at least to produce a good score as opposed to a "rubbish" one).
Click here to read more about Audition.