Adobe Premiere Pro CC Instructions


Recording Audio

Under normal circumstances, the on-board, or internal microphone of a camera records in 2-channel stereo track. When a stick microphone or a wireless gets used, the sound is recorded to a single channel of audio, which means that it can only be heard on either the right or left channel of your speakers, which is known as a Mono input. Many new users get confused when they hear their audio coming from only one channel and they might find it odd that voices get recorded in Mono tracks. Actually, there's a very good reason why we record voices in Mono.

Why are voices recorded in Mono?
To put it simply - the voice is a single instrument. When you record in stereo, the 2-channels help provide a sense of direction for the sound. That's great for ambience of a city street, a park or even an orchestra, but not for voices. The voice is coming from only a single direction. Think of it this way - one mouth, one channel of audio - MONO!

There's no need to record voices in stereo. If you try using the internal camera microphone, what you may get is a voice that also competes with the ambient sound. Your audience shouldn't strain to hear the voice when other sounds are being picked up that are even louder and more distracting. That's why you use the stick or wireless microphone anytime you record voices. 

Editing audio that is recorded on only one channel
Even though you recorded the voice on one channel, you still need to hear it in both speakers. The way to do that is to apply an audio effect.

In the Project Panel, click on the Effects tab. You'll find a search field above the list of effects. If you know the name of the effect, simply type it in the search field. The effect we want to use is called Fill, so type that in and you'll get a return on the search that looks something like this:

Is the voice heard on the right or the left channel? Knowing this will help you know which Fill to use. If you know the sound is coming from the Right channel, then use Fill Left with Right to apply it to the Left channel. 

To apply the effect, click to highlight the clip you want to apply the effect to, then double-click on the effect itself. The effect will now be applied to the clip. It's that easy! Play it back to make sure you now hear the sound in both channels. 

Changing Audio Levels
We briefly went over how to change the audio levels in the section about the Effects Controls. You can also change the levels of the clip directly in the Timeline itself. 

Expand the audio clip - Use Option plus + (plus sign)

What you'll see in the clip is a display showing the audio waveform... and a line running across the length of the clip.

With your pointer, click on the line and drag it up or down - this will change the overall audio levels to make them louder or softer. 

Let's say you want to fade the audio or reduce the sound temporarily in the same clip. It's easy when you know how to use Keyframes. 

Using Keyframes to Change Audio Levels
The explanation about keyframes deserves its own chapter, but here's a quick summary: keyframes are markers that tell Premiere where you want to change a certain thing like the position of the clip, or audio levels. 

A simple way to apply keyframes to the audio in a clip in the Timeline is to use the Pen tool. 

Select the Pen tool and then apply a keyframe directly to the audio level line in the clip where you want to start changing the audio level. You'll need at least a second keyframe to make it possible to change the levels. In this example, we're simply going to fade down the audio. You can always change the position of the keyframe along the audio level by dragging the keyframe to a new position. You then drag the keyframe to lower the audio level. 

In the illustration below, the first keyframe marks the audio level up until that point. The second keyframe marks the level of the audio that is now faded. 

Using the Audio Meter
For most TV levels, audio shouldn't exceed -12 dB (decibels) or -18 dB. However, if the levels peak in the red, then they are too high and can result in distorted, or over-modulated sound. 

You need to use the audio meter to monitor the levels. If the levels exceed -12 dB, then lower them. 

It's also crucial that you mix the audio levels properly. Audio mixing happens when you want to make sure that some sounds are heard more clearly than others. For example, if you cut to b-roll during an interview, we want to make sure the NATS in the b-roll don't overwhelm the person's voice. Therefore, turn down the NATS on the b-roll clip until they're subtle. 

Audio mixing is all about making a judgement call - ask yourself if you can hear clearly what is considered to be the most important sound. Put yourself in the audience seat - if you have to strain to hear the most important sound, then you still have some tweaking left on your audio mix.