Audio might be the most underrated element of a great video. There are a lot of things that go into creating a video project, but your sound design really can take your project from good to amazing with a little effort. With that in mind, here are 7 Premiere Pro sound effects tips to take your project up a notch!
So, why is it so important to invest in good sound effects and sound design?
Video isn’t just a visual experience; it’s also auditory. Think of how many different facets you put into the visual elements — base footage, color correction, VFX, and more. Everything that you do to the visuals, you’re doing to create either a feeling or to convey information to the fullest extent possible.
That same depth and care you put into the visuals should be present in your audio as well. Not only does it just help to make the whole piece feel more professional, but it can also help to convey either new information or translate the existing information with more clarity. For example, if you have a car going from right to left. You get what’s going on, but if you add in an audio pan in the same direction. It feels a lot better!
7 Ways to Improve Your Sound Design in Premiere Pro CC
1: Get the Right Equipment
Once you’ve got your visuals in place and you want to enhance them with sound, it’s time to break out a microphone and record.
When capturing Sound Effects or Foley, typically you’ll want to switch to a directional microphone which captures sound in the direction that it’s pointed (and doesn’t pick up what it’s facing away from).
This can be a standard shotgun microphone like the Rode NTG 2, Sennheiser MKE 600 or ME66 (and many other directional microphones). These are pretty standard around rental shops, so if you’re on a paying gig, it’s probably worth the rental cost of $10-15 — a small price to pay for upping your audio quality.
You’re also going to need something for it to plug into for recording. If you’re in a home studio, something like the Scarlet 2i2 is great for recording right into your computer. But if you’re out in the field, Zoom is kind of the king of indie recorders. The ZoomH4n version is available pretty much anywhere, and you can rent for less than $10 a day!
2: Improve Your Recording Technique
Once you’ve got your equipment, you’re ready to record. You’ll want to test your mic to ensure it’s at a good volume, then simply start recording to create the sounds you want.
When it comes to making sound effects, do so with relatively close proximity to the microphone. You’ll have to do some trial and error, testing it out a couple of times and see what sounds the best.
It’s really helpful to try and wear some good headphones to really hear the sound as it’s being recorded, and see if you need to make some changes. Even if you think you’ve gotten a good take, do it over and over just a few more times for variation. Then drop it in and see what it sounds like.
3: Record Original Sound Effects Through Experimentation
You’ll probably realize somewhere along the way that there are sound effects that you don’t quite know how to create.
For example, roots stretching down into the ground—you can’t record that just by pointing my mic at the dirt so, what should you do? Cling wrap could work!
There are a lot of sounds that can help create complex sounds. Like stretching cling wrap for the sound of roots stretching. Or rubber gloves for a plastic squeak. With a little creativity, you’d be surprised about what you can create.
When it comes to creating these sounds, you’ll probably have to do a lot of trial and error. Get creative!
4: Layer Multiple Sound Effects to Add Complexity
When it comes to creating more complex sound effects, you might have to combine more than one sound, or even several clips of the same sound on top of each other to get a fuller sound.
This is called layering, and it’s not just for the same type of sound, it can be adding multiple different sounds to create a better fuller world. Take, for example, forest sounds—you’ve got just the general forest ambiance, then you’ve got the birds layered on top and maybe even a creek!
But even the biggest pack rats among us might not have the right combination of objects to create the sounds that we want. In that case, there are always public domain sounds. Things in the public domain mean that you can use it for whatever purpose really and it’s not under any copyright restrictions.
5: Try Adding Modulation
But after you’ve sourced from the internet, raided your house, and you still can’t find something to make your sounds, this is where you can turn to modulation.
Modulation is when you take an average sound, like humming and in Premiere Pro you create modifications, like adding a studio reverb. Sometimes the best solutions are found by just literally playing around and seeing what happens.
6. Explore the Audio Effects Panel in Premiere Pro
If you open up the Audio Effects panel in Premiere Pro, you can see that there’s pretty much no shortage of effects you can use to truly make it your own. And if you have the full Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, you can open up Audition for truly unparalleled audio capabilities!
7: Use Royalty Free Sound Effects from Motion Array
When it comes down to it, there’s a chance your creativity won’t be able to take you through the whole piece. In times like those, you can always go to Motion Array and grab some royalty free sound effects to boost your piece. And keep in mind that you’re not limited to using the sound effects you download as they were recorded!
Your projects sound really can make or break your video project. So, we hope you found these tips on how to improve your sound design helpful. With the right equipment, a little experimentation, and Adobe Premiere Pro CC, you can make your sound effects truly amazing.