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Premiere: Basic Audio Editing

Version: Adobe Premiere Pro 2020. Be aware that different versions of Premiere will vary in appearance and functionality. Full Guide: View/Download


Although some rough or shaky video footage can sometimes be acceptable and fixable, audiences are less forgiving of poor sound quality. Make sure to listen to the project many times while wearing headphones to make sure no portion is too loud or too quiet. Volume needs to be consistent; the audience shouldn’t have to adjust their volume while watching your movie.

An audio meter should display to the left or right of the Timeline. The top of the meter, or 0dB, is the loudest.

To separate audio from a video clip, right-click the clip in the Timeline and select “Unlink.” The audio can now be edited and moved independently of the video.

Ideal Audio Levels

The overall audio level should be in the -12 to -6dB (decibel) range, especially during dialogue. The audio meter will turn yellow in this range. Some parts of the audio will be louder or quieter than this, but the goal is that the majority of the audio settle into the above range.

The level should never hit the top, or 0 decibels. This is referred to as “peaking.” When an audio level peaks, it is so loud that the waveform becomes distorted and the quality suffers as a result.

Adjusting Volume Levels

To adjust the volume of all clips in an audio track:
  1. Select a sequence in the Timeline and switch to the Audio workspace from the Interface Menu.
  2. Navigate to the Audio Track Mixer tab in the Source Window.
  3. Each audio track for the sequence, even empty ones, will have a meter in the mixer. While playing the sequence, the appropriate meter will light up with a visual representation of how loud the sound is. The Master channel on the far right controls all of the tracks at once.

  4. Click-and-drag the black rectangle, located to the left of the audio meter(s), to adjust levels. Drag up to increase volume, and down to decrease.
To adjust the volume of single a clip in the Timeline, either:
  • Right-click the clip select “Audio Gain” from the pop-up. In the Audio Gain window, type a number into the Adjust Gain By field. The number can be a positive or negative decibel.
  • Click the Settings button in the Timeline, which looks like a wrench icon, and ensure "Show Audio Keyframes" is selected. A horizontal line should appear through the audio clips. Click-and-drag this line up to increase volume, and down to decrease.
Sometimes only portions of an audio clip need a volume adjustment, such as when dialogue is suddenly too quiet or loud. See Premiere: Keyframing & Automating Effects for instructions on how to edit those portions of audio.


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Keywords:Adobe, editing, video, audio, movie, audio, volume, levels   Doc ID:100573
Owner:Misty B.Group:Pacific Lutheran University
Created:2020-04-14 11:32 PDTUpdated:2020-04-21 12:56 PDT
Sites:Pacific Lutheran University
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