How to Use Essential Sound in Adobe Premiere to Mix and Improve Audio for Your Videos

It can be a hard concept to fully digest for a visual photographer making the transition to another essentially visual medium in filmmaking, but when it comes to video, what you hear can be just as important and sometimes more important than what you see.

If you’re anything like me or many other filmmakers, your first and only step when it comes to audio is to hire a sound professional to do it for you. Not that this is a particularly bad idea. As photographers, we make our living convincing clients to shell out just a little bit more for a professional who specializes in providing the best results. The same can be said for trying to do audio on our own.

But of course, in the real world, sometimes our budgets simply don’t allow for us to hire Christopher Nolan’s sound effects editor to pump up the sound of our YouTube clip or short film. This is where knowing your way around the Essential Sound panel in Adobe Premiere comes in handy.

It may look intimidating, with endless rows of dials and level adjustments and terminology that might make a non-native speaker’s head turn. But if you take a couple hours to simply play around in there, you will quickly find that the steps to improving your audio mix are deceivingly simple.

Fortunately, Adobe has made understanding the Essential Sound panel even easier in this hour-long tutorial moderated by Worldwide Creative Cloud Evangelist Jason Levine. This tutorial is chock full of useful and easy to follow information. Ever want to know things like how to quickly equalize dialogue from multiple clips so that the levels are relatively uniform? How about reducing the background rumble and hum that can sometimes make it hard to hear essential dialogue? Or maybe you’re scratching your head trying to figure out how to fit a three-minute song into a two-minute video? All these answers and more are laid out in the tutorial so even visual people like me can follow along.

Of course, just like photography, the first step is to get your audio right on set. But, also like photography, even the best initial capture can often benefit from a bit of tweaking in post to take it to the next level. So take an hour, or, in my case, break the tutorial up into a couple sittings, and really learn how to improve your video by improving the sound in Adobe Premiere.

Christopher Malcolm's picture

Christopher Malcolm is a Los Angeles-based lifestyle, fitness, and advertising photographer, director, and cinematographer shooting for clients such as Nike, lululemon, ASICS, and Verizon.

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