How To Use The Audio Clip Mixer In Premiere Pro


Today we're taking control of our audio editing by taking an in-depth look at the Audio Clip Mixer!

How To Use The Audio Clip Mixer In Premiere Pro

The following text has been transcribed for optimal reading

So just to clarify off the bat, there are 2 mixers that you can use in Premiere Pro.  The Audio Track Mixer, and the Audio Clip Mixer. We’ve actually done a video already on how to use the Audio Track Mixer.  Check that out if you’re looking for how that one works, but in this video we look exclusively at the audio CLIP mixer. So let’s jump into Premiere Pro and take a look!

So here we are in Premiere Pro, and right off the bat, we’re just going to take away any confusion and go over the difference between the audio track and clip mixers.  

The audio Track mixer is designed to control the entire track that houses each piece of audio.  When you edit in the track mixer, you control parameters that influence the entire track as a whole.  But when you work with the audio clip mixer, you make changes to each specific clip that’s under the playhead at any given time.

So let’s take a deeper look specifically at the audio clip mixer.  To start with, it helps to be in the audio workspace tab. So to get there, go up to your top section here, and make sure that the audio tab is selected.  Then we can see our new layout looks like this.

From here you should see your audio clip mixer located in this box here.  But if you can’t find it, you can go up to window, Audio Clip Mixer.

So one of this first things you should notice is that the number of audio channels in the clip mixer section directly reflects the number of audio tracks you have on your timeline.  And if we add more tracks of audio in our timeline, then we see more channels appear in our clip mixer section. But it’s important to note though that the audio clip mixer doesn’t control the audio tracks, but instead the audio clips within those tracks.  It simply uses the tracks to identify which clip you are working with.

So for example here when we start to play our video, we can see the audio levels moving in conjunction with the clips that are being played on the timeline.  Each audio clip mixer channel here is displaying the results of the specific clip on that track that the playhead is over at that given time. So if we stop the playhead here, this audio channel is controlling this specific clip, while this audio channel is controlling this specific clip.  And so on and so forth. But as soon as we move the playhead forwards and we end up with the playhead over a different audio clip, this channel no longer controls this clip, but now this one, because the playhead is over this section. So the audio clip mixer is entirely dependent on the position of the playhead to be used correctly and to even identify which piece of audio you will be interacting with.  

But now that you know where the audio clip mixer is looking, let’s learn how to use it to impact your audio.  Like we saw when we started to play our audio, we can notice the audio meters bouncing up and down displaying how loud or quiet the audio is playing, and whether or not it’s even playing at all.  In this section keep in mind that if your audio enters the red section, you’re in danger of clipping your audio and losing quality as a result. You can also control the volume of each of your audio clips that your playhead is over by raising or lowering this slider here.  And we can notice that when we change our audio with this slider, our corresponding clip on our timeline shows that our audio level has been changed. If you can’t see this keyframe signifier here, make sure that your audio track is tall enough and then ensure that your audio keyframes are enabled by right clicking on the clip and going to show clip keyframe, volume, level.  

You can also see here that the blue number here changes when we move our audio slider around.  But you can also change things by manipulating the value of this number here. Because it’s highlighted blue, it signifies that we can click and drag the value to input a new amount.  Or we can even click and then key in a specific number if we so choose.

So now we can see that we have a basic understanding of how to identify which channel controls what clip, and how to change simple clip volume.  But keeping things organized and quickly identifiable can be easier said than done. What can really help is by keeping similar items on similar tracks.  So for example, we have only music on this track. So we can actually go down here to the corresponding channel in our audio clip mixer, and change the name from audio 3, to Music.  And this will help us to remember when we see our audio changing up and down, that this channel controls the music.

And as long as your tracks are organized together properly,  we can do this for each of our channel labels. So now we have a really clear understanding of where things are when we need to change them.    But there’s a lot more flexibility you have in controlling your audio clips than just changing the audio volume. Let’s go to the top here and look at three symbols we have here.  

We have M, S, and a diamond.  The M stand for mute, and when you click it, it highlights green, and that entire track will be muted.  

Next we have S which stands for solo.  Highlighting this will turn it yellow and this will cause everything except for that track to be muted, leaving it as the only thing that’s playing.

And finally we have the diamond, which denotes the ability to write keyframes.  Unlike normal keyframes, clicking this button doesn’t create a new keyframe, but simply activates writing keyframes for the clip under the playhead for that track. Let’s look at a quick example. Here we can see that when we highlight the write keyframes marker, and then make a change to the audio meter, a keyframe pops up on our clip down here.  If we move the playhead forward and make another change, a new keyframe is added and the volume of the clip changes over time. Let’s quickly erase these keyframes by selecting our pen tool, highlighting the keyframes, and then hitting backspace or delete.

Now let’s try that same idea, but let’s move the slider live as the clip is playing.  The result is that we get a slew of keyframes all adding up to the final effect of making our audio change over time.  Let’s get rid of these now and let’s just make a simple lowering of our volume with two keyframes again. But if we move forwards to a point where the playhead is now over a new clip, we can see that when we make a change, it only affects the new clip that is under the playhead, and it doesn’t impact at all the previous clip we were making changes to before.  

This is one of the most significant differences between the audio clip mixer and the audio track mixer.  The audio clip mixer respects the unique identity of each clip on it’s own.

And guys that’s the basics of the audio clip mixer but we’re going to go through one more feature that you have control over with the audio clip mixer.  You can actually control the panning, or how much the audio is being output from either the left or right direction. You can do this one of two ways. And the first way, is you can control it from the top here by dragging this knob either to the left side, or right side.  This will influence the balance of where it sounds like the audio is coming from. So here for example we have sound effects of the water and waves to aid the visuals of the waves in our clip. But the waves are on the right hand side of our footage, so we can make the wave sound effects feel like they’re coming from that side by turning our nob so that the sound is coming more from the right.  Take a listen.

And also keep in mind, that as long as the write keyframe button is active on that channel, you can tell that audio clip to change the left and right orientation over time.

If you right click on any of the channels of your clip mixer, you can change a few parameters.  You can show the peaks and valleys which are simply the high and low points of your audio given with marker.

You can make those markers static or dynamic.  Dynamic meaning that they will re-adjust every few moments to reflect the current state of the audio, and static meaning that they will remain where they are unless they are either forced higher or lower by the audio itself.  

Enabling color gradient will simply control whether or not your audio levels are displayed as either solid green, yellow, or red, or displayed as a slow gradient of the vast range in between those three colors.  

And finally we have the second way you can control the left and right channels of your audio.  Right click and make sure that show channel volume is selected. This will bring up two sliders that can independently control the volume coming from either the left or right channel of the entire audio channel itself.

So if we play the clip and play around with the left slider here, we can hear that we raise or lower only the audio coming from the left side speaker or headphone.

And keep in mind that this too is subject to be keyframed as long as the write keyframe parameter is checked.

And guys That’s the audio clip mixer in a nutshell.  I hope you found this video helpful. If you did, check our our other video on using the audio track mixer in Premiere Pro.  Knowing how to use BOTH these tools will greatly help your ability to work with audio inside of Premiere Pro.

Well, that concludes this tutorial. I hope you found it helpful, if you did, please give us a thumbs up and if you’d like to see more tutorials, we’ve got lots of other Premiere Pro TutorialsAfter Effects tutorials, and filmmaking tutorials for you to check out!

Thanks for watching and see you in the next video.

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