Every week, I mix the “show bed” for the Digital Production Buzz in Adobe Audition. The show bed includes all music cues and commercials, plus a countdown clock so that I can easily time a segment. A show bed makes timing and mixing a show a LOT easier when you have a small crew.
NOTE: Philip Hodgetts showed me the benefits of building all non-live elements into a show bed when I took over The Buzz in 2008. And he, in turn, learned it from Scott Simmons. Great ideas are always valuable.
The reasons I use Audition include greater control over levels, plus three essential diagnostic tools:
But there are several tools in Audition that I find essential for mixing a video project that I want to share with you here.
A FASTER WAY TO SET LEVELS
Setting levels is an essential part of audio mixing. But dragging the yellow volume envelopes is a pain because they aren’t precise and, unless the waveform is expanded vertically by a lot, the increments are too large and hard to control.
Here’s a better way.
Select the clip, or clips, you want to adjust. Display the Properties panel (Window > Properties).
In Basic Settings, type in the level change you want to apply to the selected clip(s).
NOTE: The Clip Gain and the yellow Clip Volume Envelope line are discreet controls. Clip Gain comes first in the signal chain and is a global adjustment for the clip. The Volume Envelope can obviously be adjusted using keyframes and is a relative adjustment further down the signal chain.
A BETTER WAY TO MAINTAIN SYNC
In Audition, audio and video clips – even those that are supposed to be in sync – can be moved horizontally. This destroys sync between the two clips.
To prevent this, select all the audio clips you want to lock horizontally, go to the Properties panel and check Lock in Time. (Keyboard shortcut: Control+L)
This allows you to edit, trim, and delete clips, move the clips vertically, but not shift their position horizontally. This also allows adding fades and effects, which don’t affect timing.
NOTE: You can also lock video clips. Select the clip in the video track, go to Properties > Basic Settings and click Lock in Time.
To unlock any clip, simply select it, then uncheck this checkbox.
A BETTER WAY TO MOVE CLIPS
Many times, I need to move a clip a precise amount of time; for example, to create a 10 second music bumper after an interview. Dragging a clip is easy, but not precise; and it’s slow – I hate slow.
Here’s a better way. Select the clip, or group of clips, that you want to move. (This is also a GREAT way to move a group of clips by the same amount.)
Make SURE the clip you want to move does NOT have Lock in Time enabled. Otherwise, you won’t be able to move it horizontally.
Go to Properties > Info and change the Start time to the specific time you want the clips to move.
NOTE: Adobe’s help files state that we can move clips a relative amount by clicking in this text box and simply typing “+4:00” to move the selected clip(s) forward 4 seconds. Be sure to enter the colon when typing.
A BETTER WAY TO HANDLE CLIPS
As long as we are looking at the Properties panel, there’s one more option that I find very helpful: Groups.
Select the clips you want to treat as a group, go to Properties > Basic Settings and check Group Clips. (Keyboard shortcut: Cmd + G)
As an option, click the Group Color chip just above it, to select a color for the group.
Grouping allows you to select all the clips in the group with a single click. This simplifies moving the group without losing sync, or the relationships between the clips.
To ungroup clips, select the group, go to Properties > Basic Settings and uncheck Group Clips.
None of these techniques are obvious, but I find myself using them constantly, which is why I wanted to share these with you here. (You can also find these by Control-clicking a clip and choosing the option you want from the pop-up menu.)
It’s my hope that Adobe can improve the flexibility of moving clips and making level changes by adding keyboard shortcuts for these functions. In the meantime, feel free to give these a try on your own.