Mixing audio involves adjusting volume levels so that they maintain a good range within each clip, and then adjusting them in proportion to other clips used in the movie. For example, you might first adjust the volume of a narration clip so that there is little variance between its softest and loudest sections; then raise the narration’s overall volume so that it is clearly audible over background sounds or music included in other clips.
In Premiere Elements, volume changes are measured in decibels. A level of 0.0 dB is the original volume (not silence). Changing the level to a negative number reduces the volume, and changing the level to a positive number increases the volume.
To control a clip’s volume, you can use the Volume graph—the yellow line running horizontally across the audio track of each clip (sometimes referred to as the volume rubberband)—or the Audio Mixer. You can use the Audio Meters window to view the overall audio volume for your project.
Consider the following guidelines when adjusting volume levels:
If you combine particularly loud audio clips on multiple tracks, clipping (a staccato distortion) may occur. To avoid clipping, reduce volume levels.
If you need to adjust the volume separately in different parts of a clip (for example, one person’s voice is faint, while later another’s is too loud), you can use keyframes to vary the volume throughout the clip.
If the original level of a clip is much too high or low, you can change the input level. However, adjusting the input level will not remove any distortion that may have resulted from recording the clip too high. In those cases, it is best to re-record the clip.
Use the Audio Mixer to adjust audio balance and volume for different tracks in your project. You can adjust the balance and level of audio contained within your video clips, and within soundtrack and narration audio. For example, you may want to increase the volume of the narration and decrease the volume of the soundtrack at different points for emphasis or so that quiet voices can be heard above the music.
You can adjust settings while listening to audio tracks and viewing video tracks. Each track in the Audio Mixer corresponds to an audio track in the Expert view timeline, and is named accordingly. As you make adjustments, keyframes are added to the track. You can specify a default minimum interval for keyframes in the Audio preferences.
Ideally, you should mix the volume for one track from beginning to end before moving on to the next track. Same for mixing balance.
(Optional) Choose Adobe Premiere Elements 13 Editor > Preferences > Audio, and set a value between 1 and 2000 milliseconds for Minimum Time Interval Thinning to limit keyframes to intervals larger than that value. If you don’t want to hear audio while you scrub audio, deselect Play Audio While Scrubbing.
Click Play in the Monitor window and adjust the controls in the Audio mixer to automatically add keyframes to the track:
To adjust balance for a track, turn (drag) the Balance control left or right.
To increase the volume for a track, drag the Level control up or down.
note: You can specify the spacing of keyframes in the Audio preferences.
To mute a track while mixing, click Mute. This option does not mute the track permanently—only while mixing.
Sometimes the background music is loud and the dialogs in a clip are not audible. To ensure that the dialogs are easily heard, the volume of the background music must be lowered. SmartMix enables automatic adjustment of the volume of the background music. For best results, place dialog clips on the Audio 1 track or the Narration track (Foreground tracks) and music on the Soundtrack track (Background tracks). Premiere Elements analyzes clips on all Foreground tracks for dialogs. Keyframes are then smartly/automatically created to lower the volume level to ensure that the dialog in the Foreground track is audible. SmartMix adjustments apply to all audio clips on the Expert view timeline, not just on the selected clip. When you use SmartMix on an audio track, keyframes you applied previously on the Soundtrack are deleted.
By default, when you create a track, it is a Foreground track. You can change the track type per your requirement. You can also disable a track to ensure that the track is ignored when you perform a SmartMix.
To change SmartMix options, select Adobe Premiere Elements 13 Editor > Preferences > Audio. You can change the following options:
Track Default Criteria
Specify the type of track. The available options are: Foreground, Background, and Disable. When you create a track, by default, it is a Background track.
Normalize the dialogs to ensure that the volume remains constant throughout the duration of the clip.
The Audio Meters panel (Window > Audio Meters) displays the overall volume level of the clips as you play them from the Quick view timeline or the Expert view timeline. If the meter’s red clipping indicators turn on, lower the volume of one or more clips. The peak indicators show the peak volume reached while playing the movie. Generally, you want the peak to be between 0 and ‑6 dB.
You can adjust clip volume directly on an audio track in the Expert view timeline. By dragging the Volume graph up or down, you can, for example, make the volume of a clip match that of its neighbors, or mute it entirely.
You can also raise and lower volume with keyframes.
If the original volume of the clip is too high or low, change the input level, or gain, before adjusting to the output levels. However, if the level of source audio was set too low when it was recorded, increasing the gain amplifies noise. For best results, record audio at a high volume level that is not so high as to cause distortion. Without adjustment, well-recorded audio peaks between 0 dB and -6 dB in the Audio Meters panel. Recording audio above 0-dB results in clipping.