How To Record Audio To Your Timeline In Premiere Pro


Saving time is a huge part of the process of video editing.  There's a reason why videos exist describing how you can use keyboard shortcuts, optimal workflow, and a whole host of other techniques to save time.  When you record audio you are likely doing so either through a separate program or to an external recording device.  Then you will likely upload those files to your computer, trim them down, and then place them onto your timeline.   It may be surprising to know that you can do all of these steps at once in Premiere Pro.  With that in mind, let's take a look at how you can record directly onto your timeline.

Microphone Setup

The first thing you’re going to want to make sure of is that you can actually plug your microphone successfully into your computer.  I personally use a DAC which lets me plug in a microphone with an XLR cable.  If you don’t have an audio interface, it’s possible you might have something like a USB powered microphone.  Any way you cut it, your first step is to make sure that your computer is actually able to recognize that you have a microphone setup to talk to it.  


Once that’s accomplished, make sure that Premiere itself knows the setup that you’re working with.   To make sure your microphone is being recognized, go to Edit > Preferences > Audio Hardware.  Under device input, try and find the microphone or DAC you’re working with and select it.    Now there’s one other setting we can change in our menu and that’s under the audio section.  We want to select, “mute input during timeline recording” This will prevent your newly recorded audio from being played back with the rest of your video as you are in the process of recording it.  If you don’t check this box, you will likely get a very minor delay between when you speak your recording and when it’s immediately played back to you.

Prepping To Record Audio

Now click over on the ‘audio' workspace tab and select your audio track mixer.  If you can’t find it, go to Window > Audio Track Mixer.  In this area you should be able to see the readouts of each of your audio tracks separately in your video.  Let’s take a look at the example clip that we’re working with right now.  The example we have  is just some visuals that we want to set our narration to.  The benefit of recording in Premiere is that we can see exactly what’s happening visually to correspond with our narration in real time.  

Recording Audio in Premiere

There’s two main things that we want to do to record audio.  We want to select an audio track that we can record onto. When we record audio, it will overwrite anything else on that same track that’s playing during the time of recording.  So it’s important to choose a track that is free at that time we want to record at, or to open up a new one by right clicking on one of your tracks and selecting add track.  You’ll see that this also creates a new audio track meter for us to use as well.  I prefer to create a new track, and then you can label it specifically to be only used for Narration.  This is really helpful both for staying organized as well as if you have multiple teammates working on the same project.

We're going to select track 3.  Now that we know what track we’re going to use, we need to enable it for recording.  Go to the corresponding track mixer, denoted by it’s label at the bottom, which we just labelled Narration instead of Audio 3.  Now go to your intended track mixer, and hit the 'R' button up here.  This enables our track for it to record audio.  And now that it’s enabled, we need to hit the record button and the next time we play our timeline, we will start recording automatically to that track.  

Great! That’s pretty much how you record audio in Premiere Pro.  But let's go over one more example just in case.

One More Method

In our second example, we want to do some simple ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) where we redo the audio for our subject talking.  In our case, it’s because the audio quality is really poor and we want to make it sound better.  

For this example, what can be helpful is to set in and out points a little before and a little after the bit that we want to replace.  Then go to our button editor here and select looping playback.  Now if we click it, our video will loop between our in and out point continually.  This is really helpful to be able to have your subject listen to the line they need to recreate over and over.  Once they’ve listened to it a lot and have got it down, it’s time to enable our recording and go for it.  

But for this example, we’re going to go over a second way to activate your dialogue recording.  Instead of using the audio track mixer,  let’s go down to the audio track layer itself and here we can see that there’s a little microphone button.  If you don’t have it visible, try making your track layer wider, or right click and go down to customize, and here you can drag in the button if it’s not present on your layer.  Now if you press the microphone button it will give you a countdown and start to capture directly onto the timeline from where your playhead was located.

But before we actually record, lets right click again and go to voiceover record settings.  Here we have even more options available to us, where we can name the audio file that will be created when we record, we can manually choose the microphone input from here as well.  And finally,  you can choose whether or not you want your countdown to have sound, or whether or not you even want a countdown at all.    

We hope you found this video helpful.  If you did, we’ve got lots of other tutorials for Premiere Pro, After Effects, and filmmaking in general! If you have any questions, let us know in the comment section below.  

 Thank you so much for watching and we hope to see you in the next video!

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