How do you transform silent video footage into a sequence full of captivating sounds and music? Commercial filmmaker and lifestyle photographer Daniel Jensen (aka @danielsjensen) shares his secrets for building an immersive soundscape in Adobe Premiere Pro.
What you'll need
Set up your project
Open up the footage you’d like to add sound to in Premiere Pro.
Choose your sound effects
Select the sound effects you want to add to the video and drag them over into your Timeline. You can purchase your own sound effects, or practise using the effects Daniel’s made available to download. If the sound effect has dual tracks, right-click, choose Unlink and delete one of them. Choose sound effects that match your clips (e.g. bird song, running water, wind, leaves rustling, etc.) – they don’t have to match exactly, it’s just about making connections for your viewer.
Make it sound more natural
If a sound effect is quite loud and dramatic, you might want to tone it down so it sounds more natural, and fits better with the visuals. Go into Effect Controls and turn down the volume, then go to the Effects tab and search for Reverb and select Surround Reverb and transfer that over to your sound effect. Next, go up to the Effect Controls panel, click Edit so you can create an equalizer on your sound effect to push it back in your soundscape. To make it seem natural, choose the effect Somewhere not Here. Repeat this process for all of your sound effects to bring your scene to life so it sounds like the real world.
Make the sound fit the pictures
If your video clip is zoomed in (e.g. a person walking) then the sound would be louder. Zoom in by selecting C for the Cut Tool and cut the clip up. Then select V to get your mouse back, select the clip and go to Effect Controls, where you can increase the volume. Don’t worry about lining up the sound and movement perfectly frame by frame – your brain will fill in the gaps.
Add some music
You’ve gone from no sound at all to creating a complete soundscape for your sequence of clips. The icing on top is the music. Choose a music track and combine it with the sound effects. Select Audio from the top of the screen. Choose Window > Media Browser, then navigate to your audio file. Click on it and select Import to add it to the Project panel. Choose Window > Project to reveal the project panel, and the audio file you imported will be selected. Double-click it to open it in the Source panel – you can play it here if you want to listen to it. Drag the audio clip to the sequence in the Timeline panel and drop it on any audio track below the video tracks. And there you have it. Your immersive soundscape is complete.
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