Adobe Premiere Pro CC (2016)

11. Editing and Mixing Audio

Lesson overview

In this lesson, you’ll learn about the following:

• Working in the Audio workspace

• Understanding audio characteristics

• Adjusting clip audio volume

• Adjusting audio levels in a sequence

• Using the Audio Clip Mixer


This lesson will take approximately 60 minutes.

In this lesson, you’ll learn some audio-mixing fundamentals using the powerful tools provided by Adobe Premiere Pro CC. Believe it or not, good sound will often make the pictures look better.


Until now, our focus has been primarily on working with visuals. No doubt about it, the pictures count, but professional editors generally agree that sound is at least as important as the images on the screen—sometimes more important!

Getting started

It’s rare to have audio recorded on-camera that is perfect for your final output. There are several things you might want to do with sound in Premiere Pro.

• Tell Premiere Pro how to interpret recorded audio channels differently from the way they were recorded in-camera. For example, audio recorded as stereo can be interpreted as separate mono tracks.

• Clean up background sound. Whether it’s system hum or the sound of an air-conditioning unit, Premiere Pro has tools for adjusting and tuning your audio.

• Adjust the volume of different frequencies in your clips (different tones) using EQ effects.

• Adjust the volume level on clips in the bin and on clip segments in your sequence. The adjustments you make on the Timeline can vary over time, creating a complete sound mix.

• Add music.

• Add audio spot effects, such as explosions, door slams, or atmospheric environmental sound.

Consider the difference it makes if you turn the sound off when watching a horror movie. Without an ominous soundtrack, scenes that were scary a moment ago can look like comedy.

Music works around many of our intellectual critical faculties and directly influences our emotions. In fact, your body reacts to sound whether you want it to or not. For example, it’s normal for your heart rate to be influenced by the beat of the music you’re listening to. Fast music tends to raise your heart rate, and slow music tends to lower your heart rate. Powerful stuff!

In this lesson, you’ll begin by learning how to use the audio tools in Premiere Pro and then make adjustments to clips and a sequence. You’ll also use the Audio Mixer to make changes to your volume “on the fly” while your sequence plays.

Setting up the interface to work with audio

Let’s begin by switching to the Audio workspace.

1. Open Lesson 11.prproj.

2. In the Workspaces panel, click Audio. Then click the menu adjacent to the Audio option and choose Reset to Saved Layout.


Working in the Audio workspace

You’ll recognize most of the components of the Audio workspace from the video-editing workspaces you’ve used. One obvious difference is that the Audio Clip Mixer is displayed in place of the Source Monitor. The Source Monitor is still in the frame; it’s just hidden, grouped with the Audio Clip Mixer and Audio Track Mixer.

You’ll notice that the audio meters have disappeared too. This is because the Audio Mixers have their own audio meters.

You can modify the appearance of the Timeline track headers to include an audio meter for each track, along with track-based level and pan controls.

To add audio meters to your tracks, follow these steps:

1. Click the Timeline Settings button menu (Image), and choose Customize Audio Header.

The Audio Header Button Editor appears.


2. Drag the Track Meter button (Image) onto an audio header, and click OK.


You may need to resize an audio header vertically and horizontally to see the new meter.

It’s important to understand the differences between the Audio Clip Mixer and the Audio Track Mixer.

They look similar but apply different adjustments.


• Audio Clip Mixer: Provides controls to adjust the audio level and pan of clips. As you play your sequence, you can make adjustments, and Premiere Pro will add keyframes to clips.

• Audio Track Mixer: Works in a similar way, but it adjusts audio level and pan on tracks. Clip adjustments and track adjustments are combined for final output. So, if you reduce the clip audio level by –3 dB and then also reduce the track audio level by –3 dB, you’ll have a total drop of –6 dB. The Audio Track Mixer also offers track-based audio effects and submixes, which allow you to combine the outputs from multiple tracks.

You can apply clip-based audio effects and modify their settings in the Effect Controls panel. Audio adjustments applied using clip-based effects and Audio Track Mixer effects are combined, but clip-based effects are applied first.

Defining master track output

When you create a new sequence, you define the number of audio channels it outputs by choosing an audio master setting. It’s easiest to think of your sequence as a media file. It will have a frame rate, frame size, audio sample rate, and channel configuration.


The audio master setting is the number of audio channels the sequence would have as a file.

• Stereo has two audio channels: Left and Right.

• 5.1 has six audio channels: Middle, Front-Left, Front-Right, Rear-Left, Rear-Right, and Low Frequency Effects (LFE).

• Multichannel has between 1 and 32 audio channels—you can choose.

• Mono has one audio channel.

You can change most sequence settings later, but not the audio master setting. This means that, with the exception of multichannel sequences, you cannot change the number of channels that your sequence will output.

You can add or remove audio tracks at any time, but the audio master setting is fixed. If you need to change your audio master setting, you can easily copy and paste clips from a sequence with one setting to a new sequence with a different setting.

What is an audio channel?

You could be forgiven for thinking that Left and Right audio channels were in some way identifiably different. In fact, they are both simply mono audio channels designated as Left or Right. When recording sound, it’s the standard configuration to have Audio Channel 1 as Left and Audio Channel 2 as Right.

One or more of these factors makes Audio Channel 1 Left:

• It’s recorded from a microphone pointing left.

• It’s interpreted as Left in Premiere Pro.

• It’s output to a speaker positioned on the left.

None of these factors changes the fact that it is still a single mono channel. They are nothing more than conventions.

If you perform the same recording from a microphone pointing right (but with Audio Channel 2), then you have stereo audio. They are, in fact, two mono audio channels.

Using the audio meters

The primary function of the audio meters is to give you an overall mix output volume for your sequence. As your sequence plays, you’ll see the level meter dynamically change to reflect the volume.

To see the audio meters, follow these steps:

1. Choose Window > Audio Meters.

In the default Audio workspace, the audio meters are quite small. You’ll need to make them bigger so you can work with them.

2. Drag the left edge of the panel a little to make the meters wider so you can see the buttons at the bottom of the panel. Keep them onscreen while going through this lesson.


If you right-click the audio meters, you can choose a different display scale. The default is a range from 0 dB to –60 dB.

You can also choose between static and dynamic peaks. When you get a loud “spike” in audio levels that makes you glance at the meters, the sound is gone by the time you look. With static peaks, the highest peak is marked and maintained in the meters so you can see what the loudest level was during playback up to that point.

You can click the audio meters to reset the peak. With dynamic peaks, the peak level will continually update; keep watching to check the levels.


About audio level

The scale on the audio meters is decibels, denoted by dB. The decibel scale is a little unusual in that the highest volume is designated as 0 dB. Lower volumes become larger and larger negative numbers until they reach negative infinity.

If a recorded sound is too quiet, it might get lost in the background noise. Background noise might be environmental, such as an air-conditioning system making a hum. It also might be system noise, such as the quiet hiss you hear from your speakers when no sound is playing.

When you increase the overall volume of your audio, background noise gets louder too. When you decrease the overall volume, background noise gets quieter. This means it’s often better to record audio at a higher level than you need (while avoiding over-driving) and then reduce the volume later to remove (or at least reduce) the background noise.

Depending on your audio hardware, you may have a bigger or smaller signal-to-noise ratio; that’s the difference between the sound you want to hear (the signal) and the sound you don’t want to hear (the background noise). Signal-to-noise ratio is often shown as SNR, also measured in dB.

Viewing samples

In this exercise, you’ll look at an audio sample.

1. In the Project panel, open the Music bin, and double-click the clip Cooking Montage.mp3 to open it in the Source Monitor.

Because this clip has no video, Premiere Pro displays the waveforms for the two audio channels.

At the bottom of the Source Monitor and Program Monitor, a time ruler represents the total duration of the clip.

2. Click the Source Monitor Settings button menu, and choose Time Ruler Numbers to enable the time rulers.


The time ruler now shows timecode indicators on the time ruler. Try zooming in to the time ruler using the navigator. The maximum zoom shows you an individual frame.

3. Click the Source Monitor Settings button menu again, and choose Show Audio Time Units.

Image Note

The audio sample rate is the number of times per second the recorded sound source is sampled. It’s common for professional camera audio to take a sample 48,000 times per second.

This time, you’ll see individual audio samples counted on the time ruler. Try zooming in a little more. Now you can zoom in to an individual audio sample—in this case, one 48,000th of a second.

4. The Timeline has the same option to view audio samples in the panel menu. For now, switch off the Time Ruler Numbers option and the Show Audio Time Units option in the Source Monitor using the Settings button menu.

Showing audio waveforms

When you open a clip in the Source Monitor that has only audio (no video), Premiere Pro automatically switches the display to show audio waveforms.

When you use the waveform display option in the Source Monitor or Program Monitor, you’ll see an extra navigator zoom control for each channel. These controls work in a way that’s similar to the navigator zoom control at the bottom of the panel. You can resize the vertical navigator to see the waveforms larger or smaller, which is useful if your audio is quiet.


You can choose to display audio waveforms for any clip that has audio by using the panel’s Settings button menu. The same option exists for the Source Monitor and the Program Monitor.

Image Note

This option is great if you are trying to locate some specific dialogue and you are not so concerned about the visuals.

If a clip has video as well as audio, the video will be displayed in the Source Monitor by default. You can switch to viewing the audio waveform by clicking the Drag Audio Only button.

1. Open the clip HS John from the Theft Unexpected bin.

2. Click the Source Monitor Settings button menu, and choose Audio Waveform.

You can easily see where the dialogue begins and ends.


3. Switch back to viewing the visuals by clicking the Settings button menu again and choosing Composite Video.

You can also turn off and on the display of waveforms for clip segments on the Timeline.

4. Open the Theft Unexpected sequence in the Master Sequences bin.

5. Click the Timeline Settings menu, and make sure Show Audio Waveform is enabled.

6. Resize the Audio 1 track until the waveform is visible. Notice that two audio channels are displayed on one audio track in this sequence: The clips have stereo audio.


Working with standard audio tracks

The standard audio track type can accommodate both mono audio clips and stereo audio clips. The controls in the Effect Controls panel, the Audio Clip Mixer, and the Audio Track Mixer work with both kinds of media.

If you’re working with a combination of mono and stereo clips, you’ll find it more convenient to use the standard track type than the traditional separate mono or stereo tracks.


This standard audio track displays a stereo waveform for a music clip and a mono waveform for some dialogue.

Monitoring audio

You can choose which audio channels you hear when monitoring.

Now you’ll try this with a sequence.

1. Open the Desert Montage sequence.

2. Play the sequence, and while you do, try clicking each of the Solo buttons at the bottom of the audio meters.


Each Solo button allows you to hear only the channel you select. This is particularly useful if you are working with audio where the sound from different microphones is recorded onto different tracks. This is common with professionally recorded location sound.

The number of channels and associated Solo buttons you’ll see depends on your current sequence audio master setting.

You can also use the track header Mute button (Image) or Solo button (Image) for an individual audio track.

What are audio characteristics?

Imagine the surface of a speaker moving as it beats the air. As it moves, it creates a high- and low-pressure wave that moves through the air until it arrives at your ear in much the way that surface ripples move across a pond.

As the pressure wave hits your ear, it makes a tiny part of it move, and that movement is converted into electrical energy that is passed to your brain and interpreted as sound. This happens with extraordinary precision, and since you have two ears, your brain does an impressive job of balancing the two sets of sound information to produce an overall sense of what you can hear.

Much of the way you hear is active, not passive. That is, your brain is constantly filtering out sounds it decides are irrelevant so you can focus your attention on things that matter. For example, you have probably had the experience of being at a party where the general hubbub of conversation sounds like a wall of noise until someone across the room mentions your name. You perhaps didn’t realize your brain was listening to the conversation the whole time because you were concentrating on listening to the person standing next to you.

There’s a body of research on this subject that broadly falls under the title psychoacoustics. For these exercises, we’ll be focusing on the mechanics of sound more than on the psychology, though it’s a fascinating subject worthy of further study.

Electronic recording equipment makes no such subtle discrimination, which is part of the reason why it’s so important to listen to location sound with headphones and to take care to get the best possible recorded sound. It’s usual practice to try to record location sound with no background noise at all. The background noise is added in post-production at precisely the right level to add atmosphere to the scene but not drown out the dialogue.

Examining audio characteristics

When you open a clip in the Source Monitor and view the waveform, you’re seeing each channel displayed. The taller the waveform is, the louder the audio for that channel will be.

Three factors affect the way audio sounds to your ears. Consider them in terms of a television speaker:

• Frequency: This refers to how fast the speaker moves. The number of times the surface of a speaker beats the air per second is measured as Hertz (Hz). Human hearing ranges from approximately 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Many factors, including age, affect the frequency range you can hear.

• Amplitude: This is how far the speaker moves. The bigger the movement is, the louder the sound will be because amplitude produces a higher-pressure wave, which carries more energy to your ears.

• Phase: This is the precise timing with which the surface of the speaker moves outward and inward. If two speakers move outward and inward in sync, they are considered “in phase.” If they move out of sync, they become “out of phase,” and this can produce problems with sound reproduction. One speaker can reduce the air pressure at exactly the moment the other speaker is attempting to increase it. The result is that you may not hear parts of the sound.

The movement of the surface of a speaker as it emits sound provides a simple example of the way sound is generated, but, of course, the same rules apply to all sound sources.

Creating a voice-over “scratch track”

If you have a microphone set up, you can record audio directly to the Timeline using the Audio Track Mixer or a special Voice-over Record button on an audio track header. To record audio in this way, check that your Audio Hardware preferences are set up to allow input. You can check your audio hardware settings by choosing Edit > Preferences > Audio Hardware (Windows) or Premiere Pro > Preferences > Audio Hardware (Mac OS).

Now you’ll try the Voice-over Record button.

1. Open the Voice Over sequence in the Master Sequences bin.

2. Click the Timeline Settings button menu, and choose Customize Audio Header.

3. Drag the Voice-over Record button (Image) onto the Audio 1 track header, and close the Button editor. You may need to resize the header to make enough space for the button.

4. Mute your speakers or wear headphones while recording voice-over to avoid getting microphone feedback.

5. Position the playhead at the beginning of the sequence, and click the Voice-over Record button. The Program Monitor gives a short countdown, and you can begin.


As you record, the Program Monitor shows you’re recording, and the Audio Meter shows the input level.

6. When you’re finished recording, press the spacebar, or click the Voice-over Record button to stop.

The new audio appears on the Timeline, and an associated clip appears in the Project panel. Premiere Pro will create a new audio file in the location specified under Scratch Disks in the project settings. By default, this is the same location as your project file.


You can use this technique to record professional-quality audio using a studio microphone and soundbooth. Or you can use it with the built-in microphone on a laptop to record guide-track voice-over while on your way back from a shoot. That voice-over can form the basis for an outline edit, saving significant time later.

Adjusting audio volume

There are several ways to adjust the volume of clips with Premiere Pro, and they are all nondestructive. Any changes you make will not affect your original media file.

Adjusting audio in the Effect Controls panel

Earlier, you used the Effect Controls panel to make adjustments to the scale and position of clips in a sequence. You can also use the Effect Controls panel to adjust volume.

1. Open the Excuse Me sequence from the Master Sequences bin.

This is a simple sequence with just one clip in it. However, the clip has been added to the sequence twice. One version has been set (in the bin) as stereo, and the other has been set as mono.

2. Click the first clip to select it, and go to the Effect Controls panel.

3. Expand the Volume, Channel Volume, and Panner controls in the Effect Controls panel.


Each control gives the right options for the type of audio you have selected.

• Volume adjusts the combined volume of all the audio channels in the selected clip.

• Channel Volume allows you to adjust the audio level for individual channels in the selected clip.

• Panner gives you overall stereo left/right balance control for the selected clip.

Notice that the keyframe toggle stopwatch icon is automatically enabled for all the controls. This means every change you make will add a keyframe.

However, if you add only one keyframe and use it to set the audio level, it adjusts the overall level for the clip.

4. Position the Timeline playhead over the clip where you would like to add a keyframe (it doesn’t make too much difference if you intend to make only one adjustment).

5. Click the Timeline Settings menu, and make sure Show Audio Keyframes is selected.

6. Increase the height of the Audio 1 track so you can see the waveform and keyframe rubber band.

7. In the Effect Controls panel, drag left on the blue numbers that set the volume level.

Premiere Pro adds a keyframe, and the rubber band moves down to show the reduced volume. The difference is subtle, but as you become more familiar with the Premiere Pro interface, it’ll stand out more and more clearly.


8. Now select the second version of the Excuse Me clip in the sequence.

You’ll notice you have similar controls available in the Effect Controls panel, but now there is no Channel Volume option. This is because each channel is its own clip segment, so the Volume control for each channel is already an individual one.


Image Note

The volume adjustments for individual channels are cumulative with the overall volume-level adjustment. This means you can add a boost or cause unintentional audio distortion by combining them.

9. Experiment with adjusting the volume for these two independent clips.

Adjusting audio gain

Most music is created with the loudest possible signal to maximize the difference between the signal and the background noise. This is too loud to use in most video sequences. To address this issue, you need to adjust the clip’s audio gain.

1. Open the clip Cooking Montage.mp3 from the Music bin. Notice the size of the waveform.

Image Note

You may need to adjust the zoom level on the Source monitor to see the waveform.

2. Right-click the clip in the bin and choose Audio Gain.

There are two options in the Audio Gain panel that you should pay attention to now.


• Set Gain to: Use this option to specify a particular adjustment for your clip.

• Adjust Gain by: Use this option to specify an incremental adjustment for your clip. For example, if you apply –3 dB, this will adjust the “Set Gain to” amount to –3 dB. If you go into this menu a second time and apply another –3 dB adjustment, the “Set Gain to” amount will change to –6 dB, and so on.

3. Set the gain to –12 dB, and click OK.

Right away, you’ll see the waveform change in the Source Monitor.

Changes like this, where you are adjusting the audio gain in the bin, will not update clips already edited into a sequence. However, you can right-click one or more clips in a sequence and make the same kind of adjustment there.

Image Note

None of the changes you make to the volume of your clips will change the original media files. You can make a change to the overall gain here, in the bin, or on the Timeline, in addition to any changes you make using the Effect Controls panel, and your original media files will remain unmodified.

Normalizing audio

Normalizing audio is similar to adjusting gain. In fact, normalization results in an adjustment to the clip gain. The difference is that normalization is based on automated analysis rather than on your subjective judgment.

When you normalize a clip, Premiere Pro analyzes the audio to identify the single highest peak, the loudest part of the audio. The gain for the clip is then adjusted automatically so that the highest peak matches a level you specify.

You can have Premiere Pro adjust the volume for multiple clips so that they match any perceived volume you like.

Imagine working with multiple clips of a voice-over, recorded over several days. Perhaps because of different recording setups or working with different microphones, several clips might have different volumes. You can select all the clips and, in a single step, have Premiere Pro automatically set their volumes to match. This saves significant time you would have spent manually going through each clip, one by one, to make adjustments.

Try normalizing.

1. Open the Journey to New York sequence.

2. Play the sequence, and watch the level on the audio meters.

The voice level varies quite a lot, particularly in the third and fourth clips.

3. Select all the voice over clips in the sequence. To do so, you can lasso them or make an item-by-item selection.

4. Right-click any of the selected clips and choose Audio Gain, or press the G key.

5. Enter –8 for Normalize All Peaks To, and click OK. Listen again.

Every selected clip is adjusted so that the loudest peaks are at –8 dB.

Image Note

You may need to adjust the track size to see the audio waveforms. Do this by dragging the divider on the Track Header.





Image Tip

You can apply normalization in the bin too. Just select all the clips you want to automatically adjust, go to the Clip menu and choose Audio Options > Audio Gain, or press the G key.

Notice the way the waveforms for the clips level out. If you choose Normalize Max Peak To, rather than Normalize All Peaks To, Premiere Pro will make an adjustment based on the loudest moment of all the clips combined, as if they were one clip.

Sending audio to Adobe Audition CC

While Premiere Pro has advanced tools to help you achieve most audio-editing tasks, it can’t compete with Adobe Audition, which is a dedicated audio post-production application.

Audition is a component of Adobe Creative Cloud. It integrates neatly into your workflow when editing with Premiere Pro.

You can send your current sequence to Adobe Audition automatically, bringing all your clips and a video file based on your sequence, to produce an audio mix that follows along with the pictures.

To send your sequence to Adobe Audition, follow these steps:

1. Open the sequence you want to send to Adobe Audition.

2. Choose Edit > Edit in Adobe Audition > Sequence.

3. You’ll be creating new files to work with in Adobe Audition to keep your original media unchanged, so choose a name and browse for a location, then choose the remaining options as you prefer, and finally click OK.

4. In the Video menu, you can choose Send Through Dynamic Link to view the view part of your Premiere Pro sequence live in Audition.

Adobe Audition has fantastic tools for working with sound. It has a special spectral display that helps you identify and remove unwanted noises, a high-performance multitrack editor, and advanced audio effects and controls.

It’s also easy to send an individual clip to Audition to benefit from its superior audio cleanup, editing, and adjustment features. To send a clip to Audition, right-click the clip in your Premiere Pro sequence and choose Edit Clip in Adobe Audition.

Premiere Pro duplicates the audio clip, replaces the current sequence clip with the duplicate, and opens the duplicate in Audition, ready to work on it.

From now on, every time you save changes you have made to the clip in Audition, they’ll automatically update in Premiere Pro.

For more information about Adobe Audition, go to

Creating a split edit

A split edit is a simple, classic editing technique that offsets the cut point for audio and video. The audio from one clip is played with the visuals from another, carrying the feeling of one scene into another.

Now you’ll try creating split edits with the Theft Unexpected sequence.

Adding a J-cut

The J-cut gets its name from the shape of the edit. Picture the letter J over an edit. The lower part (the audio cut) is to the left of the upper part (the video cut).

1. Play the last cut in the sequence. The join in the audio between the last two clips is rather abrupt. You’ll improve things by adjusting the timing of the audio cut.


2. Select the Rolling Edit tool (Image).

3. While holding Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), click the audio segment edit (not the video), and drag a little to the left. Congratulations! You’ve created a J-cut!


4. Play through the edit.

You might want to experiment with the timing to make the cut seem more natural, but for practical purposes the J-cut works. You can smooth it over and improve it further with an audio crossfade later.

Image Tip

You can apply a rolling edit using the Selection tool if you hold Control (Windows) or Command (Mac OS).

Remember to switch back to the Selection tool (V).

Adding an L-cut

An L-cut works in the same way as a J-cut but in reverse. Repeat the steps in the previous exercise, but try holding Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you drag the audio segment edit a little to the right. Play through the edit and see what you think.

Adjusting audio levels for a clip

As well as adjusting clip gain, you can use the rubber-band controls to change the volume of clips in a sequence. You can also change the volume for tracks, and the two volume adjustments will combine to produce an overall output level.

If anything, using rubber bands to adjust volume is more convenient than adjusting gain because you can make incremental adjustments at any time, with immediate visual feedback.

The result of adjusting the rubber bands on a clip is the same as adjusting the volume using the Effect Controls panel. In fact, one control will automatically update the other.

Adjusting overall clip levels

To adjust overall clip levels, do the following:

1. Open the Desert Montage sequence in the Master Sequences bin.


The music already fades up and down at the beginning and end. Let’s adjust the volume between those fades.

2. Use the Selection tool to drag down at the bottom of the A1 track header, or hover the mouse cursor over the track header and scroll to make the track taller. This will make it easier to apply fine adjustments to the volume.

3. The music is a little too loud. Click the middle part of the rubber band on the music clip in the sequence, and drag down a little.

As you drag, a tooltip appears, displaying the amount of adjustment you are making.

Because you’re dragging a segment of the rubber band rather than a keyframe, you’re adjusting the overall level for the segment between the two existing keyframes. If the clip did not have existing keyframes, you’d be adjusting the overall level for the entire length of the clip.

Changing clip volume with keyboard shortcuts

You can also raise and lower clip volume using keyboard shortcuts. The result is the same, although you won’t see a tooltip informing you about the amount of adjustment.

These are particularly convenient shortcuts for quick, precise audio level adjustments:

• Use the [ key to decrease clip volume by 1 dB.

• Use the ] key to increase clip volume by 1 dB.

• Use Shift + [ to decrease clip volume by 6 dB.

• Use Shift + ] Increase clip volume by 6 dB.

Image Tip

You can find these, and many more available keyboard shortcuts, by choosing Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts (Windows) or Premiere Pro > Keyboard Shortcuts (Mac OS).

Keyframing volume changes

If you use the Selection tool to drag an existing keyframe, you’ll adjust it. This is the same as making adjustments to visual effects using keyframes.

The Pen tool (Image) adds keyframes to rubber bands. You can also use it to adjust existing keyframes or to lasso lots of keyframes to adjust them together.

You don’t need to use the Pen tool, though. If you want to add a keyframe where there is none, you can hold Control (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) when you click the rubber band.

The result of adding and adjusting the position of keyframes up or down on audio clip segments is that the rubber band is reshaped. Just as before, the higher the rubber band, the louder the sound.

Add a few keyframes to the music now and listen to the results.


Image Tip

If you adjust the clip audio gain, Premiere Pro combines the effect with the keyframe adjustments dynamically. You can change either at any time.

Smoothing volume between keyframes

The adjustments you made in the previous exercise are probably pretty dramatic. You might want to smooth the adjustments over time, and this is easy to do.

To do so, right-click any of your keyframes. You’ll see a range of standard options, including Ease In, Ease Out, and Delete. If you use the Pen tool, you can lasso multiple keyframes and then right-click any one of them to apply a change to them all.


The best way to learn about the different kinds of keyframes is to select each kind, make some adjustments, and see the results. In the following example, all the keyframes have been set to Continuous Bezier, which maintains the same curved line into the keyframe and out.


Using clip vs. track keyframes

Until now, you’ve made all your keyframe adjustments to sequence clip segments. Premiere Pro has similar controls available for the audio tracks those clips are placed onto. Track-based keyframes work in the same way as the clip-based ones. The difference is that they don’t move with the clips.

This means you can set up keyframes for your audio level using track controls and then try different music clips. Each time you put new music into your sequence, you’ll hear it via the adjustments you have made to your track.

Image Note

Adjustments you make to your clips are applied before adjustments you make to your tracks.

As you develop your editing skills with Premiere Pro and create more complex audio mixes, explore the flexibility offered by combining clip and track keyframe adjustments.

Working with the Audio Clip Mixer

The Audio Clip Mixer provides intuitive controls to adjust clip volume and pan keyframes over time.

Each sequence audio track is represented by a set of controls. You can mute or solo a track, and you can enable the option to write keyframes to clips during playback by dragging a fader.

Faders are industry-standard controls based on real-world audio-mixing desks. You move the fader up to increase the volume and move it down to decrease the volume. You can also use the volume faders to add keyframes to your clip audio rubber band while you play the sequence.


Try this for yourself.

1. Continue working with the Desert Montage sequence. Make sure the Audio 1 track is set to show audio keyframes.

2. Open the Audio Clip Mixer, and play the sequence.

Because you already added keyframes to this clip, using the Pen tool, the Audio Clip Mixer fader moves up and down during playback.

3. Position the Timeline playhead at the beginning of the sequence.

Image Note

You won’t see new keyframes until you stop playback.

4. In the Audio Clip Mixer, enable the Write Keyframes button (Image) for Audio 1.

5. Play the sequence, and while it plays, make some adjustments to the Audio 1 fader. When you stop playback, you’ll see the new keyframes that you added.

6. If you repeat the process, you’ll notice that the fader follows existing keyframes until you make a manual adjustment.

Image Tip

You can adjust pan in the same way as you would adjust volume using the Audio Clip Mixer. Simply play your sequence, and make adjustments using the Audio Mixer’s Pan control.

You can adjust keyframes you have created this way just as you would adjust keyframes that were created using the Selection tool or the Pen tool.

You have now discovered several ways to add and adjust keyframes in Premiere Pro. There’s no right or wrong way to work with keyframes; it’s entirely a matter of personal preference.

Review questions

1. How can you solo an individual audio channel to hear only that channel?

2. What is the difference between mono and stereo audio?

3. How can you view the waveforms for any clip that has audio in the Source Monitor?

4. What is the difference between normalization and gain?

5. What is the difference between a J-cut and an L-cut?

6. Which option in the Audio Clip Mixer must be enabled before you can add keyframes to sequence clips during playback?

Review answers

1. Use the Solo buttons at the bottom of the audio meters to selectively hear an audio channel.

2. Stereo audio has two audio channels, and mono audio has one. It is the universal standard to record audio from a Left microphone as Channel 1 and audio from a Right microphone as Channel 2 when recording stereo sound.

3. Use the Settings button menu on the Source Monitor to choose Audio Waveform. You can do the same with the Program Monitor, but you probably won’t need to; clips can display waveforms on the Timeline. You can also click the Drag Audio Only button at the bottom of the Source Monitor.

4. Normalization automatically adjusts the Gain setting for a clip based on the original peak amplitude. You use the Gain setting to make manual adjustments.

5. The sound for the next clip begins before the visuals when using a J-cut (sometimes described as “audio leads video”). With L-cuts, the sound from the previous clip remains until after the visuals begin (sometimes described as “video leads audio”).

6. Enable the Write Keyframes option for each track you would like to add keyframes to.