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Top 5 Techniques for the Best Audio Mixing Practices

The success of your video is largely contingent on how masterfully you can mix audio and add sound effects to it. Dialogue, ambient noise, and music… To put together an eye-catching video, you’ll want to ensure that all these components work well together. For this, you should mix them properly and make sure no extraneous noises or ragged sound go in the way of your viewers’ experience. Here are five basic audio mixing techniques you might want to use when making your next video.

  • Useful tip! To spare yourself the bother of mixing your audios, you can use royality free music, background noises, and out-of-the-box sound effects in your video projects. 

Tweaking Gain

The gain, or the input level of your audio can be adjusted in the project panel or directly in your timeline. All of your sounds typically should stay between -24 and -60 decibels. The basic guideline for your sound is to have dialogue between -18 and -9, music around -18 to -22, and sound effects between -10 and -20. Anything at zero or above will be distorted and thus threatening your viewer experience. To get the best result possible, adjust the gain to your preference, making sure to match all the pieces throughout your timeline to the same level.

Adjusting Keyframing Levels

Depending on the flow of your piece, you may need to create keyframes to raise and lower the levels of your music at certain points of your video. You may also want to use the Pen tool to add or remove keyframes. What’s more, you can set their interpolation type, if you want to ease them in or out or keep them linear. Click and drag the keyframe up and down to raise or lower the level or grab the lines on the tracks to adjust the area between the specific keyframes.

Ambience / Room Tone

It’s standard practice to record 30 seconds or so of room tone when you’re in any shooting location to use later in editing. You can lay the recorded audio over any sections of your footage where the room tone is missing or where there is any inconsistent background noise. You can normally mask the differences between shots using this technique and thus make it all sound smooth and consistent. On the other hand, you may need to get rid of ambient noises. To remove unwanted noises like humming or buzzing from your video, apply the adaptive noise reduction effect to your clip, making sure there are a few seconds of the noise that needs to be removed in front of your desired audio. Then, adjust the necessary parameters until you’re fully satisfied with the end result. That being said, you should keep in mind that too much noise reduction can lead to distortion, as well.

Tapping into Crossfades

Crossfades are usually only a few frames and cover subtle pops that occur when audio clips cut in or out. They should be used on pretty much every audio clip in your timeline, especially if there is nothing in front of or behind it. A crossfade  also eases the transition from one clip to another when editing multiple sound bites or sentences together. Longer crossfades are more common in music tracks, especially when turning corners within the piece or at the beginning or end of the piece. They can also be useful if you’re repeating sections of a song to make it fit the video which will match the transition between the repeated sections.

Using Panning

The last technique you would be well advised to use in your videos involves panning your audio tracks to give yourself more creative freedom in editing. Instead of one stereo track for your audio, consider creating two mono tracks and pan them according to how the action moves on the screen. This can go a long way in boosting the psychological effects on your audience and create a more natural and immersive viewing experience. Viewers’ eyes can move in the direction of the action on screen. They can also move in the direction of the audio pan.

Now you see that mixing your sound properly can add depth and layers to your video project, enriching the entire viewing experience. It also ensures that none of the different audio components distract, overwhelm, or interfere with each other.      

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