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How to fix inconsistent audio levels

Mar 27, 2012 8:54 AM

I've got video footage from a presentation and everytime the speaker turns his head to look at a screen, the audio level drops significantly because the mic was placed on the wrong side.  I have clips where half the audio is fine, but half is significantly lower.  I have a full timeline of clips like this, and want to know what the quickest way to bring the low volume up without raising the parts with high volume.  I do not want to have to go in and manually adjust the audio for just the lower volumes within a clip.  I thought normalizing all peaks would do this, but it also raises the high volume along with the low volume parts.  I just want to raise any peaks that are below, say, -4 db up to -4 db without increasing the pieces that are already at or above -4db.

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    Mar 27, 2012 9:21 AM   in reply to advantagevideo101

    Use fader automation in the audio mixer, push the fader up when he turns his head and pull it back when he is looking forward. It would probably need eq as well. You could duplicate the audio track add a bit of gain and HF eq to this second track and then just fade up this track on the head turns.


    Richard Knight

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    Mar 27, 2012 10:14 AM   in reply to Richard M Knight

    The super-lazy way to do this is to put a compressor/limiter on the track.  Set a high make-up gain value, a fast attack and release, and a threshold around -2.  That would slam the quiet portions of your audio, and squash the loud parts.  It probably won't sound great, but it will be easy.


    Richard posted the "right" way.

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    Mar 27, 2012 1:01 PM   in reply to advantagevideo101

    There are several ways to adjust Volume, or Gain, in Audio in PrPro. This ARTICLE goes into a little detail on using each.


    Personally, I like Richard's suggested method, but one must remember that the Audio Mixer adds Track Keyframes for the automation. If one were to later edit the Clips on that Audio Track, those Track Keyframes remain, where they were, and do NOT follow Clips. Still, as I do the final Volume adjustments AFTER my editing, having Track Keyframes is not an issue.


    Good luck,



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    Mar 28, 2012 9:11 PM   in reply to advantagevideo101

    You didn't mention what version you are using, but if you have CS5.5, you can right click the audio and select edit in Audition. Once there, put the filter "speech volume leveling" which is found in effects/amplitude and compression/speech volume leveler. That will level the low and high volume. You may need to remove noise that gets amplified by this process and other filters are available for that.

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