Why do some Audio Clips seem to have a mind of their own. They refuse to go to certain Audio Tracks, and often actually create new Audio Tracks, down the stack. What is happening here?
Premiere (Elements and PrPro), insist on matching the channel-count of an Audio Clip to an appropriate Audio Track. This matching is imperative, and Premiere will NOT allow you to place a 1-channel Clip onto a 2-channel, or 6-channel Audio Track. If necessary, the program will create an appropriate Audio Track to match the channel-count of the Clip, if you drag to the lower portion of the Master Audio Track.
First, let’s talk about the channel-count. There are three options here:
- 1-channel (mono)
- 2.-channel (usually stereo, but this could be dual-mono seen as stereo - we’ll just call these stereo, as that is the most common)
- 6-channel (5.1 SS in most cases)
In Premiere, each Audio Track has a little icon, in the upper-right corner of the Track’s Header. A single speaker = 1-channel, dual speakers = 2-channel and “5.1" = 6-channel. These indicate the channel-count of that Track, and remember, the Clip MUST match that channel-count, or it will NOT go onto that Track.
Tracks can be created, at will, and also automatically, if necessary, by the program. Depending on the version of Premiere one has, there may be a default Project, or Sequence setup for the number of Video Tracks, and the number AND type (channel-count) Audio Tracks. These numbers and types can be altered with the creation of the Project, or Sequence (PrPro). In PrPro, one can setup, or create a Project to have virtually any number of the three different types of Audio Tracks. At this level, the arrangement will be 1-channel Tracks upper, 2-channel Tracks below, and 6-channel Tracks at the bottom of the stack. This is not related to the Master Track, which will always be at the bottom of the stack, and is a very special type of Track, and cannot have Clips placed on it. Note: PrE does not have Sequences, and does a default arrangement of Video and Audio Tracks, and these are grouped together, so are not “stacked” like in PrPro. The exception is that when one chooses a PrE Preset with 5.1 (6-channel) Audio, Audio 1 will be 6-channel. Now, if one has not chosen a 5.1 Audio Preset, but has 5.1 Audio, PrE will create an appropriate Audio Track for you, but it will not be visually associated with Video 1.
One can create additional Audio Tracks, and with limitations, where they want them to appear. In PrE, one can choose After Last Track, or Before First Track, while in PrPro, they also have the option of Before Targeted Track, or After Targeted Track, so two more options for the visual display.
Remember, the channel-count of the Clip MUST match the channel-count of the Audio Track, or an appropriate Audio Track must be chosen, or created.
Here is a closer look at the "speaker" icons in the Audio Track Header in PrPro. The icons are the same, but the overall look differs in PrE.
Also note that PrE allows one to view either Audio Tracks, or Video Tracks, or both. PrPro has a different display configuration, but by dragging the border between the Audio & Video Tracks, one can also alter the view.
The only method of "moving" Audio Tracks is to Delete Tracks, and Create Tracks. In PrE, this is a bit limited, but in PrPro, with the two additional location options for the created Tracks, one has more control. Some users, who come from a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), are used to click-dragging Audio Tracks around. This is not possible in Premiere, but has been a requested feature in PrPro.
Also note: one can Rename the Audio & Video Tracks (as in my example above), so one is not limited to Audio 1, Video 1, etc.. If doing involved Audio editing, I will likely Rename the Audio Tracks to exactly what will be contained, such as "Loon," "Whip-o-will," "Frogs 1," "Frogs 2," etc., so I am looking at exactly what will populate that Track, and not just SFX 1, SFX 2, etc. Few Projects spend more than a few minutes with "Audio 1, Audio 2," etc. [Same for my Video Track names too.]
My default PrPro Sequence is 3 1-channel (primarily for SFX files, which from my library, tend to be mono), 4 2-channel Audio Tracks (one always gets renamed "AV Audio" for the Audio from muxed AV Clips), and then a 5.1 Master. If I need more Audio Tracks, I create them, where I want them. If I do not use them all, when I am done editing, I just do Delete Unused Tracks>Audio to clean up the layout.
When you Clip seems to develop an aversion to a particular Audio Track, just check the channel-count. It is telling you, "I can't go there."