Adjusting volume

on Saturday, February 28, 2009

Perhaps the most common thing anyone does to audio tracks is adjust the volume. As you preview your project, you may notice that the background music seems a little too loud or the narration isn’t loud enough. You may also have sounds in the main audio track that you want to get rid of altogether, without affecting the rest of the audio clip. Virtually all video-editing programs allow you to adjust volume in two different ways:
  • You can adjust the overall volume of an entire clip or track.
  • You can adjust volume dynamically within a clip, making some parts of the same clip louder and some parts quieter.
If you don’t have audio clips of your own to work with. Place all three scenes in the timeline in sequential order.
To begin adjusting volume in iMovie, place a check mark in the Edit Volume check box at the bottom of the timeline. In Studio, click the clip you want to modify and then choose Toolbox>Change Volume so that Studio’s audio toolbox appears above the timeline.
Each program displays audio rubberbands across audio clips. Rubberbands aren’t just for holding together rolled up newspapers or your hairdo; in video programs, they show you the volume for an audio clip, and they allow you to make dynamic adjustments to the volume throughout the clip.

Adding audio to the timeline


Adding audio to the timeline is pretty easy. Record and import your and then simply drag-and-drop it to an audio track.
Video Sound effects Background music You can move clips by dragging them left or right in their respective tracks, and you can trim them by dragging on the edges. In fact, you’ll find that editing audio tracks is a lot like editing video tracks. Sometimes you’ll want to edit main audio independently of the video clip with which it is associated. In iMovie, first extract main audio from the video clip by selecting the clip and choosing Advanced>Extract Audio. In Studio, click the track header on the left side of the timeline to lock either the main video or main audio track. When the main video track is locked, you can edit the main audio track without affecting clips in the video track. One nice feature of iMovie is that it allows you to link audio clips to video clips. For example, suppose you’ve recorded some narration to go along with a video clip. If you decide to move that video clip to a different part of the timeline, you have to move the narration clip as well. If the two clips are linked, moving one will also move the other. To link an audio clip to a video clip in iMovie, follow these steps:

  1. Position the audio and video clips that you want to link in the timeline.
  2. Move the play head to the beginning of the audio clip.
  3. Click once on the audio clip to select it.
  4. Choose Advanced>Lock Audio Clip at Playhead.

A yellow pin appears on both the audio and video clips. If you move the video clip to a different place in the timeline, the linked audio clip moves with it. To unlink the clips, select the audio clip and choose Advanced>Unlock Audio Clip.

Understanding audio tracks


A movie program can play several sources of audio at once. For example, while you hear the audio that was recorded with a video clip, you may also hear a musical soundtrack and some narration that was recorded later. When you’re working on a movie project in your editing software, each of these unique bits of audio would go on its own separate audio track in the timeline. Most editing programs provide audio tracks for main audio (the audio that was recorded with a video clip), music, and narration. More advanced editing programs offer you many more audio tracks that you can use any way you see fit. Adobe Premiere, for example, can provide up to 99 separate audio tracks in the timeline. Although it’s difficult to imagine anyone actually needing that many audio tracks, having too many is better than not having enough. Pinnacle Studio provides three separate audio tracks. To lock a track in Studio, click the track header on the left side of the timeline.
Apple iMovie handles audio tracks a little differently, but you still have essentially three audio tracks to work with. The main audio track is actually hidden inside the video track. Two other audio tracks handle sound effects and background music. You can extract audio from video clips if you want (simply select the clip in the timeline and choose Advanced>Extract Audio), but doing so causes the main audio to take up one of the other two audio tracks. You can enable or disable audio tracks by using the check boxes on the right side of the timeline. This is helpful during editing when you want to hear just one or two audio tracks at a time.