A Beginner’s Guide to Working with Audio in Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro Audio

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Highlights

Your video’s sound is critical to its overall quality, so understanding how to edit audio will do wonders for your project
The 3 main components in a final mix are video sound, music and sound effects
Check out 3 tutorials for editing and mixing audio in Premiere Pro

Table of Contents

Adding music and effects to your video in Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the basic skills for any filmmaker using this software. If you know how to add and edit audio in Premiere Pro, an infinite world of creativity will open to you for future creations.

The importance of sound

When we talk about ‘video’, ‘filmmaking’ or any other term related to our craft, we tend to think about images. Of course, visuals play an essential role in this medium, but sound, music and effects are equally important to the quality of the video. So no matter how good your visuals are, you should absolutely pay attention to video sound and make it shine to create the perfect video.

Introduction to audio editing: 3 types of audio.

There are 3 elements or ingredients that make a final audio track: the sound of the video, the music and the sound effects.

Video Sound

The sound of the video will be usually recorded in-camera or with an audio recorder. It includes dialogue, voices, sounds in the background, etc. This sound is critical because it helps make the video alive and makes the viewer feel on the scene. This feeling of immersion is more noticeable when you turn the sound off or include b-roll shots without sound. When you see a video without this part of the mix, the sensation is disconnection or abstraction. To make the point more vivid, try playing a video without sound, or you can add effects that don’t match the scene you are watching.

Of course, achieving good sound starts in the pre-production stage and then on location. The planning and scouting, mics, sound device, and, of course, the skills you or your crew possess directly impact the post-production workflow. For example, if you record poor-quality dialogue, you will have to dub in post, costing more time and money.

Music

Imagine Indiana Jones, Rocky, Pirates of the Caribbean or Lord of the Rings without music. They would not be the same films. Music adds emotion to our videos; it can be epic, relaxed, tense, dramatic… The character of a movie, a commercial or any video will be defined by its music -or its absence-. Again, you can reinforce what your visuals say, underline it or even subvert expectations by adding funny music to a dramatic scene, for example. Your imagination is the only limit when using music. You can work with a composer and create an original score or work with a royalty-free music platform, where you can find endless options for your video. Learning how to add music to your video in Premiere Pro and mix it properly will improve your final result.

Don’t forget that silence is another tool in the filmmaker’s bag. Using it wisely will help you better communicate your narrative idea.

SFX

Sound effects add the final touch to the mix. You can create your SFX as foley artists do. Still, nowadays, it’s more practical to go to a library of high-quality royalty-free sounds and download the SFX you need. Sometimes you will have to use these sound effects to mimic what you couldn’t record on the field, like steps, ambiance sound or specific sounds, like glasses clinking, etc. Voice-over could fit in this category since it’s recorded separately from the video.

However, the magic starts when you use sound effects to boost your visuals, create new meanings in your video, and make it look top-level. Transition sounds, impacts, whooshes and swishes, synthesized effects… you can layer sounds to add a new dimension to your work and make images flow seamlessly. Anyway, it’s easy to overdo it, so use your taste and learn when to stop adding stuff.

Editing and mixing these components is the final part of any good audio mix. Let’s see how to do this in premiere pro.

How to edit video audio

The first thing we usually do is edit the audio from the actual clips. Of course, if the sound is usable, we will adjust it, edit it properly and prepare it for the final mix.

Basic audio edits

  • volume adjustments
  • Fade-ins and outs
  • Getting rid of unwanted noises
  • Equalizing

If your sound is not usable, the standard solution is to mute the sound or delete it and replace it with a sound effect.

So let’s see how we do it in this short tutorial.

Adding and editing music in Premiere Pro

The steps for editing music in Adobe Premiere Pro are similar to what we did with the sound. Here, the most important thing is to make the music an integral part of the video and not a distraction. We will use volume adjustments, fade-ins and outs. Sometimes, we will blend different music tracks or even different parts of the same song to match our narrative intentions with the video. Let’s see some basic music edits in Premiere Pro in this tutorial.

Adding and editing SFX

The final part can be the most creative one. In this case, we will work with some sound effects to enhance our soundtrack and the visuals in our video. But, again, this is a matter of taste. Adjustments such as volume or SFX placements depend on the filmmaker and what you want the video to communicate.

It is good to organize and separate the different audio tracks (for video sound, dialogue, music, sound effects, etc.)

Frequently asked questions about using audio in Premiere Pro

Is Premiere Pro good for audio editing?

Of course. After so many years in the market, Premiere Pro is an excellent editing system for working with audio. And you can easily upgrade it with additional software like Adobe Audition.

Connect your headphones to your computer or sound card and select the correct output in Premiere Pro>Preferences>Audio Hardware.

Where is the audio on Premiere Pro?

The audio tracks in Adobe Premiere Pro are below the video tracks. In the Windows tab, you can open the different audio windows you need, and there is another ‘Audio’ button on the top of the screen that will organize your workspace for audio editing.

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Wrap up

Adding music and effects in Adobe Premiere Pro is an excellent way to give life to your videos. Learning how to edit and mix audio is a skill that will benefit any filmmaker to improve their work.

Frequently asked questions

About Jose Prada

Jose Prada is a filmmaker, musician and writer based in the UK and Spain. He has won several awards with short films and commercials and has published filmmaking courses on different platforms. jrvisuals.co.uk, the production company he founded together with Rene Strgar contributes high-end stock footage to Artgrid.

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