Using the Audio Mixer

The Audio Mixer is a mixed blessing. It can automate volume changes on multiple tracks, but making individual track adjustments can be tedious and error prone. Many times it's easier to use the red rubberband volume control.

I won't go into too many details because the Adobe manual explains things well. However, I do suggest experimenting with the Audio Mixer:

  1. Leave the J-cut or L-cut you just made open on your Timeline window.

  2. Go to Window, Audio Mixer and up pops the Audio Mixer. Note that it displays as many audio tracks as you have in your timeline. You can add audio tracks by using the Timeline fly-out menu and selecting Add Audio Tracks.

  3. Each audio track in the Mixer has three icons at the top: Automation Read, Automation Write, and Automation Off. Select the first, Automation Read, for each track (probably only tracks 1 and 2). I've highlighted that icon in Figure 7.22.

    Figure 7.22. Audio Mixer controls. From left to right: Automation Read, Automation Write, and Automation Off.

    graphics/07fig22.jpg

  4. Drag your edit line in front of the J- or L-cut you made and play your piece. Watch the sliders on the Audio Mixer move as the volumes change in your edit. Nifty.

  5. Play that segment again and grab the slider controls and move them up and down. Note that they change the audio playback levels, but there is a little disconcerting delay. That is one of the minor drawbacks to the Mixer.

  6. Stop playing your clips and return the edit line to somewhere ahead of the edit. Click the Automation Write icons?the middle "pencil" tools?and start playing your piece.

    The sliders will once again move to follow the cross-fade you created, but you can override that by moving the associated track slider. You'll notice that if you release the slider it returns automatically to the volume level you originally set.

Stop playing and take a look at the red rubberband. It should be chock full of red handles, signifying each volume adjustment you made using the slider.

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The default setting for Automation Write on the Audio Mixer is called "Touch." The Mixer will record new volume levels only if you're dragging and holding the volume slider. Release it and the volume returns to whatever was on the track to begin with. You can change that setting to one of several other options by right-clicking or Option-clicking in the Mixer window, selecting Audio Mixer Options, and selecting a new Automation Write option.


In most cases these new handles are serious overkill. Rarely does anyone need all those minute adjustments. You could have accomplished the same effect by simply creating a new handle on the rubberband and dragging it to a new volume level.

Where the Mixer shines is "gang" volume control?that is, controlling more than one track at once, in unison. This is helpful if you have natural sound plus a music track and you want to drop their volume when the narration starts. Instead of dropping each separately, you can adjust them en masse with the Mixer.

To "gang" tracks, simply right-click a slider and assign it a gang number. Do the same for other audio tracks, assigning them the same gang number. Click the Automation Write icons for each track. Now when you move the slider, it sets new volume levels for all ganged tracks.

If you don't like how you did the volume change, go back by using the History palette or Edit, Undo.

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When you use the red audio volume rubberband, make sure the Audio Mixer is closed. When it's open, it overrides changes you make on the rubberband.


Audio Special Effects and Music

Premiere comes with several audio "sweetening" tools, including a new set of three highly customizable plug-ins. I'll cover them in Hour 11. I'll also show you how to "rip" tunes off music CDs to use in Premiere and create your own high-quality, royalty-free tunes in Hour 9, "Advanced Editing Techniques and Workspace Tools." They'll sound terrific. Really.



    Part II: Enhancing Your Video
     
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