Getting the Right Audio Mix

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5041

When you're working in the Timeline, chances are you'll use multiple audio tracks. Over time you'll have interviews, environmental sounds, music, and sound effects. And they all add up. The natural tendency of most editors is to start to raise the volume across the board, making each element louder than the next.

There’s a lot of confusion when looking at the Audio Meter. Unlike the analog world, you
DO NOT want to mix to 0 db. What this means is that you’ll likely need to adjust audio clip by clip in the Timeline.

  • For a digital mix, you should aim the volume to be near –12 dbfs. This works for tape-based output as well as DVD, and Blu-ray Disc (all non-broadcast environments).
  • Many broadcasters request -20 dbfs as reference with peaks up to -10 dbfs.
  • If you’re going to just output to the Internet, you can mix it hotter for playback on computer speakers. Boost the volume during the compression stage with a Normalize effect.
  • If you’re “seeing red” in the audio meters, then your audio is distorted. This is bad and will create unwanted distortion.

For more on DSLR video, check out
From Still to Motion.