Adjusting the audio levels of multiple clips in Premiere Pro

In Creative Cow’s Premiere Pro forum, FCP switcher and award-winning editor (Good Eats, CNN, This American Land) Walter Biscardi wanted to know how to raise the audio level for one or more selected clips as he used to in Final Cut Pro in the Gain Adjust dialog. Walter finds this option useful when raising or lowering voice overs by the same amount, for example. This is so important to Walter that he recorded a “Gotchas” tutorial video explaining to others how to invoke audio gain. Though you might want to watch the entire video, go to 10:12 to see Walter’s tips for Audio gain. More info about the Audio Gain dialog is found in Premiere Pro Help.

A fully featured Audio Gain dialog box

A fully featured Audio Gain dialog box

Premiere Pro super user and now an Adobe Employee, Jon Barrie offered up the right piece of advice. Here are his steps:

  • Create a keyboard shortcut for the Audio Gain dialog (Jon assigned it to Shift+G, but you can also assign it to Option+CMD+L if you like).
  • Select the clips you wish to adjust the audio for.
  • Type the shortcut for Audio Gain (note that there are a lot of options here). You can also right-click on any clip and choose>Audio Gain, or select a clip or group of clips and then choose Clip>Audio Options>Audio Gain.
  • Choose one of the options: Set Gain to (Absolute in Final Cut Pro) or Adjust Gain by (Relative in Final Cut Pro).
  • Enter in a value for dB or click and drag to scrub to a new value.
  • As you change the value, you should see the audio waveform changing in the timeline. These levels can go further than Final Cut Pro’s limit of 12 dB.

Controls for the Dynamics effect are shown here

Controls for the Dynamics effect are shown here

Jon adds, “This function doesn’t affect the levels band, it still reads as 0 and you can manipulate it as though the gain added or removed is a level of 0 on the levels band.” He also notes that in the dialog, the loudest peak level of the selected clips is visible, so you can see the amount of gain you have before it distorts. Adding the Dynamics effect to limit the levels will further keep anything from distorting. Note that in this dialog you can normalize all peaks or max peaks, as well.

Audition processes clips so that the volume matches

Audition processes clips so that the volume matches

On the same thread, Editor David Cherniack added another tip for balancing audio clips: send the clips to Audition.

  • Create sequence with the clips that need to have the volume matched.
  • In the sequence, select the clip and choose Edit>Edit in Adobe Audition>Sequence.
  • Once in Audition, choose Effects>Match Volume.
  • Drag and drop the clips into the Match Volume dialog.
  • Click the Batch Process button.
  • The clips then will process for matching volume.
  • Choose File>Save.
  • Send the Audition sequence back to Premiere Pro by choosing Multitrack>Export to Adobe Premiere Pro.

The newly sweetened audio will now be imported back into Premiere Pro.

So there you have it! Some great and simple audio tips to help you adjust the levels of multiple clips using Premiere Pro. Audition too!

One Response to Adjusting the audio levels of multiple clips in Premiere Pro

  1. asdf says:

    re your gotcha 3:

    The way track selection works is a close replica of how it works in Avid – I have no problems with it and the logic is quite sound once you get your head around what selectors on the left and the “named” ones on the right represent:
    – left selectors – source channels available / active
    – right selectors – timeline channels available / active
    Logic is – whichever side has an active (loaded) track – it takes precedence over inactive track and it will affect it by either insert/overwrite with material or blank space (delete)

    So when you leave selectors on in the source side and do an edit onto the timline with EXTRA channels selected – those will become deleted between in/out points or from in/hairline.
    This system should not be changed or you might get into a new set of inconsistencies but for the benefit of your logic there could be an option (like in Avid) to
    1 auto-route source channels to timeline channels and
    2 to ignore timeline channel selectors if they’re not taking any material from the source.