20 Replies Latest reply on Jan 22, 2013 1:44 PM by AlaskanNomadProductions

    For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow

    AlaskanNomadProductions Level 1

      OK, I've read the help docs, gone through the tutorials, watched the videos.  Still I am not finding an efficient workflow for dealing with audio in PP.  Let's face it, audio in 5.5 was completely baffling to us newbies jumping ship from FCP 7, and I thought the CS 6 update was going to simplify things.  No dice.  As I am a somewhat recent transplant, I am willing to admit that…. wait, nay, I'm HOPING that I am probably missing something here and that it's just stupid operator error.  Fingers crossed.

       

      Here's my situation.  I am editing a documentary that has hundreds of hours of footage and thousands upon thousands of clips.  We are working with three different kinds of audio: stereo, mono 1 & 2 (interviews with a lav mic on channel 1 and boom on channel 2) and mono (interview on channel 1 with lav microphone only).  Here's my problems: 

       

      If I set the audio so that they're all stereo clips

      Then I'm running into problems with the mono 1 & 2 tracks.  Say the boom audio is better on the right channel, and I want to silence the left.  I turn the left channel off.  Then I want the boom audio to be on both channel's equally… well, I can't figure out a way to do that.  In FCP, I would just put the pan to center, and the audio would play the right channel's audio on both channels equally.  With PP, panning does nothing but adjust how much of the boom is heard, as opposed to how much the lav (now silent) is heard.  I can't find a way to pan the boom to the center, so that it is heard equally on both channels.

       

      If I set the audio so that they're all mono 1 & 2 clips

      Doing this solves the boom/lav problem as listed above, as the mono tracks seem to center pan and play on both channels equally, so simply deleting the lav works well.  However, now if I have a stereo song that I want to keyframe some fades in (say a music bed playing in the background that I want to fade lower when a person starts talking)… now I have to pen tool in keyframes for the left track AND the right track separately, try to get the fades to match on each track, then separately fade the audio back in for each track.  So essentially I've DOUBLED my work  for each of the tracks I've marked this way.

       

      As a note, I love having found this out the hard way, after editing a 20 minutes interview into bits and pieces scattered across my timeline, and then finding out I should have set the audio to Mono 1 & 2.  Easy enough, I thought, as I went back to the Project window, found the original clip, then went to modify the audio so it would work in my project.  I got the extremely helpful message that "Any changes you have made to the number of clips or the type of those clips will not be reflected in the existing timelines.  Do you want to continue?"  YEAH!  That's super.  You might as well have put "Making this change now will do nothing to help you.  You'll have to go back and edit everything again.  Do you want to continue?"  Great, Adobe, thanks.  Bang up job there.

       

      I was really happy about not having to transcode in PP like I used to have to do in FCP 7.  That was until I realized how the audio worked, and for the latest scene of this documentary  had to go through every clip/camera download to figure out how the audio had to be set-up before I could start editing.  Transcoding a big job used to take me a day.  Configuring the audio in PP for this one scene took two. 

       

      I would be the happiest person on the planet to find out that I've been wasting my time and that there is a simple solution for all of this.  Hope someone can point me in the right direction and thanks for any help!

        • 1. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
          SimonHy Level 2

          Are you doing the mix in Premiere or is it going to a sound engineer?

           

          You can set up sequences so that they have both mono tracks and stereo tracks, which would mean you just use the stereo tracks for music and get the best of both worlds in terms of your keyframing. If it's being exported for sound mix, I'd work with mono tracks, as this emulates the way FCP and AVID work. The best way to do this is to create a sequence with only mono tracks, and set your media in preferences -> audio for mono and stereo media to "use mono" on import, which will save you going through and modifying each clip (next time). You can't modify current sequence settings but you can create a blank sequence with the correct audio set up and then copy everything from your current sequence into this new sequence.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 3. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
            Jim_Simon Level 8

            mono 1 & 2 (interviews with a lav mic on channel 1 and boom on channel 2)

             

            We need to start with the correct terminology.  From a PP perspective, any audio clip that has two channels is by definition stereo, regardless of what's on each channel, or even if one of the channels is empty.  It's stereo; not mono, not dual mono...stereo.

             

            The reason that's important is that you will add all such clips to the normal stereo track.  To center one or the other of the channels in a stereo clip, you can use the Fill Left/Right effect on that clip, or you can add those effects at the track level (Mixer window).  To get both Left and Right centered, duplicate the clip and add one effect to each.  (Take note that Fill Left actually means Fill with Left, so the Left side of the stereo clip will be centered and the right side muted.)

            1 person found this helpful
            • 4. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
              AlaskanNomadProductions Level 1

              First off, THANKS everyone for the insanely quick replies and help here, much appreciated.  A few questions/comments for each of you:

               

              1) SimonHy - Wow, this is close to perfect, essentially what I was looking for... except for one thing.  It seems that this option puts an equal pan on all the clips.  As such, a stereo mix on a piece of music I'm using will turn flat, duplicating the sound to both channels instead of leaving the left/right pans in place.  I'm not seeing an option on this to adjust the pan of each channel, is that in here somewhere?  Is there a way to do this?  Eventually this will go to an audio engineer for a mix, but not all my projects will... so not being able to pan the audio would be an issue.

               

              2) Lasvideo - Thanks for the link, it was a good primer but discusses  exactly the problems I'm having here without offering much of a solution... it's essentially points out the same limitations that I'm running into.

               

              3) Jim Simon - This is great, also very close to a perfect solution.  I think the "Fill Left", "Fill Right" effects could work, a few extra steps but effective for 95% of the situations I'm running into (and the last 5% I could fake.  Haha.)  This may do the trick, using the "standard" audio tracks for the project, then turning off the channel I don't want, and then "Filling" it with the effect to equalize the audio on both channels.

               

              Any more insight or suggestions you could offer on this would be greatly appreciated.  Man, I wish I would have posted this before I spend two days doing audio prep.  You guys are life savers.

              • 5. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                Stan Jones Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                The reason that's important is that you will add all such clips to the normal stereo track.

                Similar to SimonHY, my method for dealing with this scenario is to map the "mono content on a stereo track" as mono. By definition, if the master track is stereo, then that output of each mono track will be L and R. And the mono track can be panned and adjusted for volume.

                 

                It occurs to me that 5.1 sound might create other issues,  and export for further sound work could argue for all mono tracks.

                 

                Am I missing any advantage of duplicating "mono content on a stereo track" and then filling left/right?

                1 person found this helpful
                • 6. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                  Jim_Simon Level 8

                  my method for dealing with this scenario is to map the "mono content on a stereo track" as mono.

                   

                  You can't when the clip is already used in a sequence, as is the case here.

                  • 7. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                    Stan Jones Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    You can't when the clip is already used in a sequence, as is the case here.

                    Very true. And when you map from the beginning of the project, you can achieve a less janky audio workflow! I did a lot of fill left and right before I trained myself to map upon import.

                     

                    Nomad: Honk if you love Jeebus.

                    • 8. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                      SimonHy Level 2

                      Stan Jones wrote:

                       

                      and export for further sound work could argue for all mono tracks.

                       

                      When we first started using Premiere we used "standard" audio tracks because they seemed handy and versatile, but all mono clips get doubled up on OMF export so there is a left and right version, and all our sound engineers HATED all the extra audio tracks this created. Working with mono tracks has been much more straightforward for us. Plus you can still pan things left and right using the mixer.

                       

                      I don't like the idea that just because something has two tracks it's automatically seen as stereo. Maybe it's my background as an audio engineer, but stereo is something very specific. Plus it just doesn't seem very connected with the reality of the way most people record audio.

                      • 9. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                        AlaskanNomadProductions Level 1

                        Stan and SimonHy, it seems you've been able to accomplish exactly what I'm trying to do.... which tells me I'm still doing something wrong as I can't get the results you're getting.  Maybe you can help me de-jankify my noobness?  Here are my exact steps...

                         

                        1) Go to Preferences -> Audio.  Under "Default Audio Tracks", Set "Mono Media: Mono".  Set "Stereo Media: Mono"  (Choices from the pull-down for both are Use File, Mono, Stereo, 5.1, Adaptive)

                         

                        2) Set audio for clips by selecting all clips and going to Modify Clip -> Audio Channels Tab.  Under "Number of Audio Tracks" there should be a "1".  Under Channel Format it should read "Stereo".

                         

                        3) Create a new sequence.

                         

                        4) Delete all the existing audio tracks in the sequence and replace them all with mono tracks, so all tracks in the sequence are mono.

                         

                        5) Import a clip to the timeline.  This will give you a stereo clip on single mono track.  This seems to be fine, except that Premiere now centers the pan of both channels.  As such, music that had a stereo mix now has a flat, mono mix.

                         

                        This is where I stop.  You guys say that there is a way to pan the tracks independently (so that right is coming out of the right channel and left out of the left) but I can't find this.  Under my Effects Controls panel there is only Channel Volume, and nowhere to adjust the pan.

                         

                        Obviously I'm messing something up here.... which step needs fixing?

                         

                        Thanks a ton.

                        • 10. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                          SimonHy Level 2

                          AlaskanNomadProductions wrote:

                           

                          Stan and SimonHy, it seems you've been able to accomplish exactly what I'm trying to do.... which tells me I'm still doing something wrong as I can't get the results you're getting.  Maybe you can help me de-jankify my noobness?  Here are my exact steps...

                           

                          2) Set audio for clips by selecting all clips and going to Modify Clip -> Audio Channels Tab.  Under "Number of Audio Tracks" there should be a "1".  Under Channel Format it should read "Stereo".

                           

                          I think this step is where it's going wrong, you shouldn't need to do this. If you have it set to import as mono, it should set itself up correctly already - although this is only true for new clips imported after the preferences have been set to import as mono.

                           

                          For the clips that are already imported, modify them and set the number of audio channels to 2, and the channel format to mono. You won't get a single stereo clip on a mono track then, you'll get two tracks, a left and a right, that will each go onto a mono track. Open up the mixer (window -> Audio Mixer, or Shift+6) and you can set the panning there. I'd set up your mixer so most of the tracks are panned center, but have a couple tracks at the bottom panned left and right that you put music onto.

                           

                          The Source Channel set up on the Modify Audio channels page should read:

                          Left - Audio 1 - Ch. 1

                          Right - Audio 2 - Ch. 1

                          • 11. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                            AlaskanNomadProductions Level 1

                            Thanks for the reply Simon.  I've done this as well, but then run into the other problem I've described above... this doubles your work when you need to modify the  clip.

                             

                            1)  If you want to add an audio transition to the clip, say a crossfade, you have to add it to the left channel on  Audio 1 AND  the right channel on Audio 2.  Even though it's technically the same clip, now you have to do the same thing to both channels to get the result you want.

                             

                            2) More annoyingly, if you want to do any in-clip fades (say you want to fade down the music for when someone is talking on your dialogue track, and then fade it back up again when they're done talking) you have to pull out the pen tool, mark the fade-down/fade-up on the left channel, then lower the audio.  After that, you then have to try to duplicate the same points (in and out), same fade volume, same duration, etc on the right channel.  This is a gigantic time drain.

                             

                            What I would love is to find out how to get it to work like FCP, where each clip is on it's own channel, but any changes you make to the left channel of a stereo clip are automatically made to the right channel as well.  Are these the results you're getting?  If so, what steps am I missing?

                             

                            Again, thanks a ton for all of your help.

                            • 12. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                              SimonHy Level 2

                              Yeah I don't use the pen tool for audio adjustments, I tend to razor the audio, adjust the levels around the cut to suit, and then put in an audio cross fade. Because it's a single clip on two channels it means razors and cross fades affect both channels at the same time, so nice and simple. Possibly a bit simple for some people's tastes, but I'm all about getting a result quickly with audio, and then handing it off for finessing to an audio engineer.

                               

                              The only caveat I'll add is that any gain adjustments made to the audio get baked in when you export an OMF, so I tend to duplicate my sequence, label the duplicate as "audio export", then select all clips and set the audio gain to zero. That way you retain a sequence with a decent temporary mix within premiere, but have a clean audio version to go for mixing.

                              • 13. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                                AlaskanNomadProductions Level 1

                                Thanks Simon.  Yeah, for that reason (stereo tracks not being "linked" when on mono tracks) I think best workflow for me would be using Jim's set-up of stereo tracks, then using the "Fill Left" or "Fill Right" effects if I have to delete a mic'ed audio track and have the remaining audio play on both channels.  Seems to be the best system with how I do things. If someone has a way that works better for them, please feel free to chime in. 

                                 

                                Regardless, this discussion has saved me a bunch of time in my upcoming sequences, so thanks to all who chimed in!

                                • 14. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                                  SimonHy Level 2

                                  Stereo clips remain linked even when spread across two mono tracks. But yeah, there's a lot of different ways of achieving the same result, hope it all works out for you!

                                  • 15. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                                    Jim_Simon Level 8

                                    Obviously I'm messing something up here.

                                     

                                    That's why I still use the 'janky' Fill effects.  I find it much easier and very hard to do wrong.

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 16. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                                      AlaskanNomadProductions Level 1

                                      Yeah Jim, the more I look at it, I think this method fits my style of editing a bit better as well.  Thanks for the help, it's going to save me tons of time in the future.

                                      • 17. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                                        Stan Jones Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        I'm not suggesting any of this as a model, and your needs are different than mine.

                                        1) Go to Preferences -> Audio.  Under "Default Audio Tracks", Set "Mono Media: Mono".  Set "Stereo Media: Mono"  (Choices from the pull-down for both are Use File, Mono, Stereo, 5.1, Adaptive)

                                        You can change these, but I don't. I am using both mono and stereo tracks. I set up a custom sequence with the particular combination of stereo and mono tracks I want.

                                         

                                        2) Set audio for clips by selecting all clips and going to Modify Clip -> Audio Channels Tab.  Under "Number of Audio Tracks" there should be a "1".  Under Channel Format it should read "Stereo".

                                        I am not sending the audio to anyone else to edit further. I am doing a final stereo mix. If camera one is set up to record 2 mikes as a stereo track, then I leave that unchanged and put it onto a stereo track. If camera two is set up to record one mike onto channel 1 as ambient sound and channel 2 is a mono feed from a sound board, then I modify those clips as Preset Mono, 2 audio tracks, Channel format Mono, and that puts the left source channel (or whichever I choose) onto Audio track 1, channel 1 (of one), and right source channel onto audio track 2, channel 1.

                                         

                                        4) Delete all the existing audio tracks in the sequence and replace them all with mono tracks, so all tracks in the sequence are mono.

                                        I modify the tracks while creating the sequence, and ultimately use a custom sequence.

                                         

                                        Under my Effects Controls panel there is only Channel Volume, and nowhere to adjust the pan.

                                        I'm using the mixer, not the effects control panel.

                                        • 18. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                                          ellemichelle

                                          First, this has been incredibly good timing for me because I am a newbie and have been struggling with the same issues, so thank you Alaskan for doing this much of the work for me

                                           

                                          One workaround I've found for your problem of having to duplicate modifications done from one track to the next is to just modify one of the tracks, then copy and paste attributes to the second track. Or, duplicate the entire modified track when finished.

                                           

                                          Am I right that this doesn't help with panning, left or right as a stereo pair would, right?

                                           

                                          I've learned a lot from this discussion, so thank you all.

                                          • 19. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                                            Jim Curtis Level 3

                                            I have nothing to add, and it looks like you got it sussed.  I just wanted to tell AlaskanNomad that your thread title and original post gave me some big laughs, and thanks for the entertaining way that you phrase things.  Please have some more problems so that I can look forward to more enjoyable reading. 

                                            • 20. Re: For the love of Jeebus, please tell me I am missing something with PP's janky audio workflow
                                              AlaskanNomadProductions Level 1

                                              Thanks Elle and Jim!  Good to know this thread is helping some people and I'm not alone out there. I appreciate the tips from everyone, and though I'd be happy to write some more posts, Jim C., I hope that my problems with PP are limited!

                                               

                                              For what it's worth, for my workflow it was Jim Simon's workaround that was best.  The "Fill Left, Fill Right" solution gave me the most flexibility when working with my audio.  It will also save me a bunch of set-up time the next time I have a project this big to work on.

                                               

                                              The edit I wrote about is almost finished, and I have to say that as a former FCP user, I am impressed by Premiere Pro.  There are more than a few little things I'd like to see ironed out (being able to sort your clips in Icon View, anyone?), but for the most part I feel as if PP's streamlined workflow probably saved me a day or two as opposed to editing with FCP 7. 

                                               

                                              Strangely enough, one of the major problems I had throughout the edit was audio.  These ranged from workflow issues like the one addressed in this post to a host of strange bugs, like audio constantly dropping out for no reason, not being recognized, or (most disturbing), audio just not loading at all and Premiere telling me it was gone.  Audio clips would simply disappear.  I've done some research, and it seems that these are common problems.  It's strange to me, as one would think that it would be all the complexities associated with video that would be the hardest to tackle, but in my experience Premiere handles video great.  It's audio that is dodgy and unreliable, which is a huge problem.  One can only hope that they keep improving...