Sweeten your music in Premiere Pro with track based mixing and effects. Check out this recipe for success.
As a follow up to my track-based dialogue tricks post, here are some track-based tricks for working with music in Premiere. Just like the dialogue tricks, these are easy things you can do to improve your audio quickly. A dedicated program like Audition or going deeper into the settings in Premiere will let you get even better results, but these all do the job in your video editing app without wasting a lot of time tweaking settings.
Notching Music with EQ in Premiere Pro
One of the techniques I learned from my post-production audio teacher in college was that you can make voices easier to distinguish from music (and sound effects) by lowering the frequencies on the music where dialogue is most clear. Right around 1 kHz – 2 kHz, depending on the voice, is generally the range you want.
By using the EQ filter on your music track to create a “valley” with those frequencies at the low point, you can have your music be at a good volume, but still be able to easily understand your dialogue.
Making “Demo” Songs Sound Less Bad With Reverb
I’ve worked on a few projects where I’ve had to use home-recorded or demo songs at the client’s request. Often times, these tracks aren’t mixed and mastered very well, so they sound pretty bad.
One way to at least reduce some of the horribleness of poorly mixed songs is to add just a little reverb. This gives it a hint of a live performance, which audiences tend to be much more forgiving towards (as far as audio mixing quality goes).
Premiere has a very simple Reverb effect with several easy to understand presets. I’ve found the “Studio” and “Medium Room” presets to be the best for me, but your mileage may vary.
Route Multiple Music Tracks to a Submix in Premiere
When you’ve got a short video with one song, it’s easy to keep you music down to one track, which means it’s easy to just apply your EQ to that track directly. But what if you have several music tracks? It’d be a total pain to have to apply the same EQ effect to each track, especially considering Premiere doesn’t let you save your own track effect presets (a serious omission in my opinion).
The solution is to add a submix track by right-clicking in the audio portion of your timeline. You can route the input of multiple tracks into a submix track and control their volume all together using keyframes or add effects to all of the routed tracks as a whole.
Once you’ve created the submix, all you have to do is change its routing from going to the Master to going to the submix. Track routing can be found right above the pan control. Using this, you can route several music tracks into the same submix, then apply your notched EQ to the submix only once:
Another advantage of routing your music tracks a submix is when you use multiple songs that have a high-likelihood of changing, like temp music for example. By keyframing your audio levels and ducking on the submix, you can easily switch out songs on the tracks routed to the submix without having to re-keyframe your audio. You can audition and edit songs to your heart’s content without having to adjust levels each time.
Track based effects in Premiere Pro are great for music, especially when combined with a submix. I hope these tricks help you get a better sounding mix for your edit, and if any of you audio pros have tips or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!