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Working with Audio: Levels

Lesson 20 from: Adobe Premiere Pro CC Video Editing: The Complete Guide

Abba Shapiro

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Lesson Info

20. Working with Audio: Levels

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

This lesson focuses on working with audio levels in Adobe Premiere Pro CC. The instructor explains how to adjust the volume of individual clips, make global changes to the volume, and use keyframes to create transitions in audio levels. The lesson also covers other features such as controlling panning and bypassing effects.


  1. How can you make a clip's volume louder or softer directly in the timeline?

    By selecting the clip and adjusting the volume bar located in the audio track.

  2. Where can you access the effects control panel to control the parameters of a clip?

    By loading the clip into the viewer and going to the effects control panel.

  3. What are keyframes and how can they be used to change audio levels over time?

    Keyframes are break points that allow you to make changes to audio levels at specific points in time. They can be added by holding down the Command or Control key and clicking on the keyframe icon.

  4. How can you view and adjust keyframes in more detail?

    By zooming in on the waveform and using the Plus key to control the interface. Keyframes can be moved left or right, lassoed and dragged, or deleted.

  5. What is the purpose of the cut, copy, and clear options when right-clicking on a keyframe?

    These options allow you to modify or delete keyframes. The clear option is used to delete a keyframe, while the cut option is used to remove a keyframe and its associated value.

  6. How can you reset all keyframes and return the audio to its default level?

    By clicking on the stopwatch icon for level and selecting "yes" when prompted to delete all existing keyframes.


Class Trailer

Understanding Editing: Bootcamp Overview


Understanding Editing: Overview


Understanding Editing: Video Examples


Tour The Interface: Digital Video Workflow


Tour The Interface: Project Panel


Tour The Interface: Choosing Your Shot


Tour The Interface: Music And Voice Over


Tour The Interface: Video Tracks


Tour The Interface: Edit Markers


Building a Rough Cut: Cut Planning


Building a Rough Cut: Selecting Media


Building a Rough Cut: The Edit


Building a Rough Cut: Edit Points


Refining Your Edit: Preparation


Refining Your Edit: Making Cuts


Refining Your Edit: Using Markers


Refining Your Edit: J and L Cuts


Refining Your Edit: Replace Edit


Working with Audio: Overview


Working with Audio: Levels


Working with Audio: Music


Working with Audio: Mixing And Syncing


Transitions: Overview


Transitions: Effect Controls


Filters & Effects: Overview


Filters & Effects: Using Multiple Filters


Motion & Animation: Motion And Animation Overview


Motion & Animation: Movement With Still Images


Motion & Animation: Picture In Picture


Motion & Animation: Motion Effects


Titling & Graphics: Overview


Titling & Graphics: Advanced Tools


Titling & Graphics: Roll And Crawl Effects


Titling & Graphics: Working With Photoshop


Speed Changes: Overview


Speed Changes: Stills And Variable Speeds


Color Correction: Overview


Color Correction: Lumetri Scopes


Color Correction: Contrast


Color Correction: Advanced Tools


Color Correction: Adjusting To A Master Clip


Finishing: Prepping for Output


Finishing: QC Edit Points


Sharing & Exporting: Overview


Sharing & Exporting: Size And Quality


Ingesting Media:


Ingesting Media: Transferring And Importing


Media Management & Archiving


Multi-Camera Editing: Overview


Multi-Camera Editing: Creating A Sequence


Multi-Camera Editing: Switching Multiple Cameras


Multi-Camera Editing: Finalizing


Creating Timelapses: Shooting Strategies


Creating Timelapses: Editing Images


Creating Timelapses: Importing Strategies


Creating Timelapses: Animation


Advanced Editing Techniques: Take Command Of Your Timeline


Advanced Editing Techniques: Transitions


Advanced Editing Techniques: Keyboard Shortcuts


Advanced Editing Techniques: Preference Hacks


Thinking Like an Editor: Editing Choices


Thinking Like an Editor: Telling the Story


Special Tools: Warp Stabilizer


Special Tools: Morph Cut


Special Tools: Green Screen


Lesson Info

Working with Audio: Levels

Jump back here, we have the Habba Mix that I'm gonna use initially because I just want you to see some levels. I'm gonna make this a lot bigger so it's easier to see. We learned that Command Plus makes the video bigger. Then we learned that Option Plus makes the audio bigger. If you do ... Zooming in there. If you want them all to be made bigger, you can hold down the Shift key. Holding too many keys here. I'll do it this way. This is just the scroll bar. So, I want my audio to be pretty big. I can now see in here, listen to it. So, my goal here is to start getting my levels the same. What we do is, there's a couple ways, we can do global changes. And we can also do specific changes. So, if I want to raise the entire volume level of a clip, I have a couple ways to do that. You'll notice that there's a very thin bar here in my audio track. I'm going to deselect it. This little bar here is the volume. Okay, this is one way you get at controlling the volume of a specific clip. If I have a...

clip and it's too loud or too soft, I can go ahead and zoom in, so you can see this. As I move this up and down, it actually tells me how much softer or how much louder. DB stands for decible, it stands for, it's air pressure really. Think of it is as volume. The higher the number, the louder its going to be. Bring it down, the softer it's going to be. You can do that here, directly in your timeline. But, you can also access this in other places. If I wanted to, and I'm going to go ahead and reset this back to our original editing. Because a lot of times you'll tweak this in the original editing spot. Remember I played with this. Go ahead, Workspace, Reset to save layout. There we go, the audio that we're used to working with. Let's say, I'm going in and I want to make this all match again, shift minus, shift plus, there we go. I want to work with the volume level of this clip. I'm going to load this clip into the viewer. I can look at the volume there, but I'm not changing the volume there. If I want to change the volume I can go over here to effects control, this is a new panel that we haven't seen before, haven't looked at before. This is where i start controlling the parameters of a clip. Whether it's a clip that I bring in before I drop it in to my sequence or occasionally from a clip, in this case, a clip that's already in my sequence. When I select it, I have some default settings that I can control. We're going to look at audio. But, you can see here that I can control motion, which is the size or scale of a clip. How bright or transparent it is, how opaque or transparent. Time Remapping, but, I'm also getting down here into volume. This is where I can control the audio volume of my clip and also do some deeper control. If we look at this closely, and I move this line up and down, you'll see this number change and visa versa. If I go down here and grab that audio and let go this number is now changed to -05, I'm not going to zoom in. Okay, if I go up there and change it, and as soon as I let go, this moves. I can control the general volume in two places, whatever's easier. By the way, when working in this window and you'll see this throughout the application, whenever you see like, the blue number here, and if I put my cursor over it. Do you notice that it's a little hand with two arrows pointing? That's because this is in essence, a virtual slider. If I put my cursor over it and click, as I move left and right, I actually can increase or decrease the numbers. All I'm doing is moving my cursor left or right by clicking and holding, same thing with a mouse. It's kind of weird to get used to. If I actually click and select it, I can't do that. I can type in any number I want. I can say, I want an apps, I want a value number of -6 or +6. That's one thing to keep in mind. If you find that a little tricky, there's always these disclosure triangles. If I open that up, I can now have a nice slider that I can work with, okay? There's many ways to do it, whatever's easiest. If you noticed, when I was working down here, it was really hard for me to see and grab this. In that case, maybe I don't want to go there, I want to go here, but they're all related. If I've loaded it from here back to here, I'm modifying the clip that's in the time line. If I do it before I bring it in, I'm modifying the master clip, or the original clip. That's something to keep in mind because depending on ultimately, your work flow, you may want to fix the volume even before you start editing. If you know it's really soft, you may say, you know what, I'm going to pump it up so it hits -6 DB because it was recorded really soft. Now when I cut it in, I don't have to go back to each individual one and fix it, okay? On the flip side, you may cut it all in and at one point the guy just starts speaking softer, and you say, oh I need to pump that up. Or, gets real excited, I need to bring it down. You want to make changes, you'll be making changes in both locations. There's several ways to do it globally. That's what we just did, if you just want to pump up or bring the volume down. There we go, I hit play. You see it's at that level, I'm going to go ahead and grab this, make it softer. Now it's barely hitting. Then it goes to the next clip, and the next clip gets loaded in. That's some basic audio, how you make things louder. We're going to actual put this in to practice once we get our heads wrapped around it. I've also accidentally done some key framing. We're going to reset that for now. My edit has got ahead of where I wanted it to be. That's some basics with levels. Our goal is to go through, listen to it and look. It's a little hard to hear in the studio, the quality of the volume levels. We're not going to look at repairing anything at this point. That's done with an effect. But, I'll go through and I'm going to try to eyeball this. This was recorded, so, I'm watching. You'll notice that it changed and it got a little louder on this one. I may want to go in and bring that down a little bit. Bring my levels down, load it in, volume, pull it down a little bit and continue to go through it. That's good, I'm going to go to this little cut away here. It's a little bit soft, so, I can zoom in. I can go ahead and maybe bring that up a little bit. I would do that to kind of, even things out during the show. The next thing I might have a challenge with is, maybe it gets really soft here and I need that to be louder. What we want to do is, instead of moving it globally up and down, which makes everything louder or softer. We want to do what's called key framing. We can change it over time, so, at one point we want it to get louder. Or in the case of music we may want it to get softer because people are starting to speak. That's called key framing . You can do that directly in your sequence. Or you can do that in the source panel. Again, it updates because they mirror each other. Lets suppose, I want to work on this clip right here. I'm going to select it. I'm going to open up my volume. I want it to get louder right here. I need to go ahead and I need to put in some key frames. If I hold down the Command key on a Mac or the Control key, I can go in and click on these things that are called key frames, and I'm making them wherever I click. Think of them as break points. Because now I have a key frame, if I move this middle bar up I have a nice transition to louder and then softer again. Key frames actually came back from the, comes from the old animation studio days. Where the master artist would draw the key frames, and say where Snow White is here and where Snow White is there, then the other animators would come in and do all the betweening. How to get from A to B. These are the key frames and now you have the transition. The computer now are those artists that worked really really hard, they've become obsolete, like the rest of us. You can easily put key frames in and make things louder or softer right there. You'll notice that as I bring this clip in, I'm zooming in and zooming out. There we go. Double click to load that in. Look at our audio. Look at our effects control. I'm twirling down audio levels here. We're pretty zoomed in, but if you look very closely there is my audio key frame. How would I look at that in more detail? The Plus key, remember our good old Plus key. I can control this interface. I can do my animation here, if I go here we're reflecting down to the bottom. I can say, oh yeah, it needs to be softer, update it. Or, maybe I need to actually move a key frame. Okay, I want a slower transition as it gets softer. This is how you would go through looking at the wave form. Also, looking here to make your audio peak and valley. If we go ahead and we play that, I'm going to do this with the music underneath. You can see how you can really control and fix volume issues. Pretty short window of time. You can move these left and right. You can simply lasso them and drag them out. If you want it to be up longer, then do it down here. If you want to erase a key frame, maybe you put an extra one in by accident. Go ahead and do that. Well, my first reaction is, I don't know how to remove a key frame. But, Abba once told me if I right click on something I might get some choices. Again, that's what I run to. Here I can go ahead and I can hit cut. You can see there's other things, copy and clear. There is something very interesting here. If you've worked in any kind of motion graphics, or animation, where, you know, a bezier curve is this nice smooth curve. Sometimes you may not want you audio to be like Chh Chh. If you switch, to say, a bezier, you now can actually get smoother transitions. There's auto-bezier which will do the default for you. If you mess it up, you'll notice one thing, as you change this, this key frame icon changes depending on the type of curve that you have. So, you have that feedback. You can start manipulating and modulating things. If you mess up completely, you can always just select it and hit delete, or you can right click on it. You really have a lot of control. I recommend starting slow. What I have found with audio is people try to do too much and they end up making things sound worse. But, if you find a situation where you want something to gradually go down, that's a great option. You can even do that here in the timeline. Make this a little bit bigger. Right click. Auto-bezier, nice smooth little curve. I can control that curve. You can do it in either place. And remember you can always undo. If you really mess up everything, you put in all these key frames, you didn't know that you were key framing it. These little stop watches, which we'll be using in our filters and effects lesson also. These allow you to turn off and reset your key frames. I should get a warning if I click on that for level. It says, If you do this, and it gave me the warning I was looking for. It will delete all existing key frames, is that okay? And you can say yes, absolutely, that's okay. I completely messed up my audio and I just want it back to the default. That's a quick way to reset. While we're in here, I'll just point out a couple things. You can control panning left and right. I save that for the end, left and right channel. You can also, if you put an effect, or let's say, you did a bunch of key framing, if you click on bypass, it will ignore all the modifications and play it at it's original level. So you can temporary toggle that stuff on and off, without having to erase your key frames. That's just a little bit how you would have the control.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Abba Shapiro's Work File Information
Building a Rough Cut - Project Files
Refining Your Edit - Project File
Working with Audio Project File
Motion Effects - Project Files
Titling and Graphics - Project Files
Speed Changes - Project Files
Color Correction - Project Files
Finishing - Project Files
Multi-Camera Editing - Project Files (Large Download - 3.25GB)
Creating Timelapses - Project Files (Large Download - 1.25GB)
Thinking Like An Editor - Project Files
Special Tools - Project Files

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I've never even tried video editing before this class. I opened the program once and panicked. After only 9 lessons I was able to throw a short video together (basic of course, but still pretty cool). I wish all of my teachers growing up were just like Abba. He goes over everything without dragging anything on for too long. He repeats things just enough for me to actually remember them, and he is funny. He keeps it fun and shows that even he makes mistakes. I can't even believe how much I have learned in less than a quarter of his class. I have a long way to go and am very excited to learn more. This class is worth every penny and more! I was hesitant on buying the class because I have CS6 and he works with CC, but I have already used what I've learned in his course to create a video. The first 9 lessons were already worth what I paid for the entire course. Thank you, Abba! You are an awesome teacher! You have me absolutely obsessed with creating right now! I highly recommend! You won't find this thorough of a course for this decent price!

Patricia Downey

Just bought this yesterday and cannot stop watching!!!! What a FANTASTIC teacher-- just love the way he explains everything. For someone like me (who has a zillion questions) it is perfect. As soon as he introduces a feature, he explains several aspects in such a way that's easy to grasp and remember. So, so happy I got this. Thank you Abba and CreativeLive!

a Creativelive Student

I am only on lesson 19 and I am so glad I bought this class, so worth it and Abba packs so much information into these lessons its crazy. I will for sure have to come back and watch again when I need to remember to do stuff or need a refresher. He is funny and quirky and a great teacher. I so recommend this to anyone wanting to become a better video editor!! I am coming from being self taught and using iMovie and he makes it so simple and understandable. Can't wait to learn more :)

Student Work