How to Use Auto Ducking in Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro 07/01/2019 3 min read

Audio ducking is a fancy way of saying that when there are competing sounds in the audio of your footage, you pick one of them to “duck down,” and let the other take priority. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use auto ducking in Premiere Pro with just a few clicks! 

Part 1: An Audio Ducking Scenario

Let’s say your footage has a piece of dialogue that you want to hear, but when it’s finished, you want the music to get louder. Then when the dialogue comes back in, you want to go back to a lower volume of the music to hear the dialogue clearly again.

Usually, this is done by adding keyframes and manually adjusting each one. If you just have a few short instances of this, the process shouldn’t take too long. But if you find that you have an entire 10-minute video with many of these types of moments, it can be incredibly time-consuming to do this for every iteration. Especially, if you’re doing an interview-type project with background music.

Luckily, Premiere Pro has a quick solution that makes the process a lot easier. And it’s all found in the Essential Sound Panel

Part 2: How to Setup the Auto Ducking Feature

To get started, it might be helpful to set up your timeline with at least some background music and dialogue. You may also want to brush up on some basic audio editing info in this tutorial. With that all done, it’s time to dive in. 

Step 1: Designate by Audio Type

First, you’ll want to go to your Essential Sound Panel, which you can find by either entering the audio workspace or by going to Window > Essential Sound

You’ll notice here that you can see there are different types of audio that you can designate for your clips — to make this work properly, you’ll want to designate what kind of clips are what kind of audio. Then, mark your dialogue clips as dialogue, music as music, and so forth.

Step 2: Apply the Audio Ducking Feature

You’ll find the label for Audio Ducking at the bottom. This is where the magic happens. If you’ve selected the music and are applying the audio ducking feature to it, this will make sure that the music is lowered when it comes up against something else, dialogue for example. 

If you were instead to apply audio ducking to dialogue tracks, the dialogue tracks would be the ones that would lower when they came up against music tracks — giving the music tracks the priority. Whichever you select for audio ducking tracks will be the type of tracks that are lowered.

Step 3: Customize the Auto Ducking Options

You can select what your music file will recognize as something to duck against. Like dialogue or sound effects, for example. And you can select multiples to designate what combination you want your audio to duck against. 

From there, you will have three parameters that will impact how your music is ducked:

  • Sensitivity which will impact how Premiere Pro decides what is necessary to duck out against.
  • Reduce By will impact how much your music drops out. The lower the number, the less it drops and the more you tell it to reduce by, the further down the music will drop out.
  • Fades control how gradually your audio goes from being normal to being ducked.

Using these three parameters, you can decide what you want your ducking to sound like, but you won’t be able to check what it sounds like until you generate keyframes.

If you listen to your audio and decide that you want to make changes, make sure your music is highlighted and adjust the sliders as you’d like. Once you’re done, re-generate the keyframes again, and your sound will be updated as per your specifications.

If you find something that works to your liking, you can save it as a preset so you can keep it consistent or just save time in the future! And that’s it! You’ve now learned how to use the auto ducking feature in Premiere Pro. We hope this will save you lots of time when audio editing!