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Quickstart Guide to Audio in Premiere Pro

In this QSG, we look at working with audio for filmmakers, editors, and mograph artists.

Here are the essentials you need to know to quickly create high-quality audio in Premiere Pro.

 

Clipping is Bad

Premiere Pro measures audio in decibels. The audio should never hit 0 decibels on the meter, which causes clipping. Clipping is bad and causes the distortion of your audio.

Recorded music often comes in hot (clipping) so I generally reduce the volume in the project before putting the clips into a sequence. Put all your music clips in one bin (its a folder, all the other Adobe apps call them folders). Press G to bring up Audio Gain, so you can change the loudness/gain for all the tracks at once. Experiment with this, but generally setting your music to -20ish is a good starting point if you have narration/dialogue with it. If you are just cutting to music, you could pick “normalize max peaks to -6, ensuring the music a good level but that it won’t clip. As a general guide,  you want your main audio to average around -12 and not peak above -6.

 

Clipped Audio in Premiere Pro

 

Audio Gain in Premiere Pro

Changing the Volume of a clip in a sequence.

The line on the audio waveform shows you the clip volume.

 

 

I can drag the line up and down to change the volume, but its not a very exact way to work. Press the left and right bracket keys to lower/raise the volume 1 decibel.

Adding Shift will lower/raise the Audio 6 decibels. (this can be changed in Preferences > Audio)

 

If you want to manually keyframe the audio volume, Hold Command/Control and click on the line to add points.

Audio keyframes on a clip

 

Clip vs Track Audio

There are 2 types of Audio adjustments in Premiere Pro: clip level and track level.

Clip Level Adjustments – Dragging the clip audio line up and down,  the Audio Clip Mixer, the Essential Sound Panel.

Generally, you are working with audio on a clip level. To work on a track level, use the “Audio Track Mixer”.

If I move the fader for a track in the Audio Track Mixer”, I’m changing the volume for the whole track.

You will need to change the view to track from clip keyframes to track keyframes to see the audio changes you make in the track mixer.

 

Changing track volume

The track mixer is handy if you want to apply an audio effect(s) to all the clips on a track, and when you are doing a submix (grouping tracks like multiple SFX tracks so all the tracks are treated as one).

 

Applying audio effects to a track

 

 

 

Essential Sound Panel

The Essential Sound Panel was added in 2017, and offers a unified interface for working with audio.

Adobe has done a similar thing with graphics and color correction, adding the Essential Graphics and Lumetri Panels.

To get started, switch to the Audio workspace which automatically brings up the sound panel.

Then select the”Audio Type”  you want to adjust in the sequence.  Selecting the appropriate audio type

then allows you to pick from a variety presets or to manually make adjustments.

 

 

If you are new to audio, the presets are the best place to start. Experiment with them till you get a sense of how they work. Unchecking the boxes in the presets is a good way to hear what each setting does.

One of the features I use the most is the automatic ducking feature. This drops the music’s volume when you have narration, dialogue, SFX with the music clip. Select a music clip, pick the Music Preset, then one of the ducking presets. If I have multiple audio clips above the music (narration, dialogue, SFX), I start with the “duck against everything’ preset as it will react to all the audio clips.

The Noise Reduction Preset is essential when recording video/audio in an uncontrolled (not a studio) environment. Select a narration or dialogue clip, pick the Dialogue “Audio Type’. and select “clean yo noisy dialogue preset.

Loudness “Auto-Match” will set the “perceived loudness” of all the selected clips to be the same and is a quick way to make multiple clips sound even.

Using the essential Sound Panel will allow to quickly tweak your audio mixes, and production crate has a large selection of royalty-free music, SFX, and ambiances with new collections released often. If you have any questions, post them in the comments or in the forum.

 

Reduce Noise Preset

 

Easily learn all these steps in this video!

 

If you want to learn some advanced techniques using Apple’s Logic Pro X consider reading this article.

How to Make an 8-Bit Effect

8-Bit is back! You’ve probably noticed the growing popularity of this retro style. We’ve seen it in titles and openers, logo animations, indie games, VFX Shorts and many more. Let’s take a look at how to achieve this style. We’ll be using After Effects but if you’re a Hitfilm User you can find an awesome tutorial here.

We’ll show you how to make this 8-Bit style in AE, but you can also download the preset here

For our effect we chose this aerial explosion from the popular Anime and Toon Category to give it that 8-Bit look.

cartoon explosion assets

Import your clip or effect into After Effects.

A popular technique in AE for achieving the 8-Bit look is by using the Mosaic Effect, but we find it far too difficult to achieve the perfect squares and pixelation needed to pull this effect off. Instead, we’re going to use CC Block Load.

 

Drag CC Block Load onto your footage. Set the Completion to 0. We set our Scans to 3. For the number of scans, use to your discretion. Uncheck the Start Cleared selection.

Classic 8-Bit games were limited in what colors were available. While our explosion doesn’t appear to have too many colors, we can still limit the variation and add some color degradation with the Posterize Effect.

 

Add the Posterize Effect to your layer. You will instantly notice some color degradation. Play with the level. Depending on your footage you can find the right look for you. We suggest adding these effects to individual layers but staying consistent with the CC Block Load scan number for pixel consistency.

One additional item you can change is your composition’s framerate. We are going to change our comp’s from 29.97fps to 15fps. To do this you can go to Composition>Settings or just hit Control K (Command K for Mac) and change your framerate there.

learn to make an 8 bit explosion

For the final step we want to get rid of those semi-transparent pixels. This can be done quickly with the Levels effect. Drop the levels effect onto your layer, and select the Alpha option from the drop-down.

 

Select the Alpha Input White number (32768) and type /2 for (32768/2) and deselect. Now your number will read half of that, or 16384. Copy that number and paste it into your Input Black. Now you have crunched out those semi-transparent pixels!

Now you have your 8-Bit style. Mess around with the Anime FX and see what works best for you.

8BIT AFTER EFFECTS

 

Want to keep learning? Check out this Bouncey Text Tutorial in After Effects

Create Callouts for Free in After Effects (Script Download)

Creating callouts for your video can often be a complicated and time-consuming process, though all that is about to change…

We’ve created a free powerful script for Adobe After Effects that can do all the work for you in seconds: Crate’s Callouts!

Download the Free Callout Script here.

 

Callouts are the small infographic labels that overlay a video, highlighting an important feature to inform the viewer of a name, statistic or the anatomy of a seal:

Create Callouts for Free in After Effects (Script Download)

The script is packed with a huge bundle of presets, all fully customizable and ready for you to composite onto your video. This means that if you work for an organization or run a YouTube channel, you will be able to match the branding by adjusting the colours of the templates with one click!

To get started, you’ll need to first use a Null object to mark the position of what you want to be featured by the callout. The best part about this script is that it can be completely animated, so if you need the callout to follow a moving subject then this is the script for you.

Create Callouts for Free in After Effects (Script Download)

For the next step, we’ll need to install our script. Extract the files from the download, and drop both the “Crate’s Callout Script.jsx” and “images” folder into your After Effects > Scripts folder You then can run the script by heading through File -> Scripts -> Crate’s Callout Script.jsx.

Now let’s take a look at what features we have at our disposal:

Create Callouts for Free in After Effects (Script Download)

 

 

 

 

 

Arrows: Navigate through the presets to find the one you want.

 

Track Layer: Select the Null object you want the callout pointer to follow.

Title + Subtitle: Here’s where you input the text you want to be displayed.

Animation direction: Which way would you like the callout to come in from?

Color tools: Adjust the look of the preset to match your brand.

Smart Color Change: This nifty feature will automatically adjust any other colours that can be controlled to match your theme.

In/Out: What period (in seconds) do you want the callout to be on screen?

Base Point/Outline: Control the shape of the feature mark.

 

F: Click this to open up the text composition after creation, so you can adjust the font manually.

 

Once you’re happy with all the settings, hit “Create”, and you’ll save hours of time while the script creates your dream callout card within seconds!

Each preset has been carefully designed animated to give it the most professional appearance possible, helping you increase your production value at no extra cost!

If you want to control and customise the callout card after it has been generated, that is no problem! There will be a control null generated in your main composition window, clicking on this will reveal all of the various colour settings that you can adjust instantly in the effects window.

We’re excited to see how you make use of these free After Effects callout presets. If you’re interested in how else you can boost your workflow, take a look at our Lower Thirds script.

Create Callouts for Free in After Effects (Script Download)

 

 

Crush a Car with VFX!

We’re taking you on a quick journey to explore how we created this awesome car-crush VFX shot!

We’ll cover plenty of techniques in this mini-tutorial that will help you build your very own VFX shot from start to finish.

We used 3ds Max and After Effects for this, however, we’ve ensured that you will be able to follow along and use the same workflow in almost any other 3D software like Blender.

This is our first Davesplanation episode, so let us know if you want to see more!

Let’s get started:

You can download the car model here if you are a Pro User

For Pro’s we have another car model you can download here

Find the Crate’s Camera Shaker Script Here

The Sound Effects  used are all available on SoundsCrate

Kick down a door with VFX!

Whether you’re making a dramatic entrance, or you just don’t like doors, kicking down doors with VFX can be an awesome addition to your movie.

We featured a shot in our Captain Marvel VFX tutorial that included just this, and now we’re showing you how we did it!

You can apply these steps to almost any software, so whether you have Blender, 3Ds Max, Maya or Cinema4D, you’ll be able to follow along. Likewise, most compositing software (After Effects, Premiere Pro) will be powerful enough for you to use these techniques.

Watch our quick tutorial on how you can create your own door-kick VFX!

Want to learn even more compositing tricks? Check out our UFO invasion tutorial!

Spaceship UFO VFX – Tutorial

Download HD UFO VFX Assets Here

Whether they’re friendly or not (usually the latter), no Sci-Fi movie is complete without alien spaceships flying over a city. They’re some of the coolest VFX shots out there.

We’re super happy to be introducing these new HD UFO effects, all available for you to download! We even have a free option, so this tutorial is for all of you.

Inspired by Independence day, District 9 and Arrival, we want to show you how you can create your own blockbuster CGI alien spaceship. So let’s get started with the tutorial!

You can use almost any compositing software for this tutorial, whether that’s Nuke, Hitfilm, or Premiere Pro. I’ll be using After Effects!

We’ll first need the city that our outer-worldly visitors will be hanging out over. I’ve gone for the popular choice, New York City! You can download the same image here from Pexels.

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

You can apply the same VFX techniques to a video if you would rather use that! If you haven’t yet downloaded the UFO assets, download the effects here.

We can drop our first spaceship into our shot! You’ll find that it’s already looking incredibly realistic without any work needed to be done. FootageCrate elements are all designed to make your workflow as easy as possible!

The first adjustment we want to make is ensuring that the lighting is in the correct direction. You’ll see that the sunlight is coming from the left side of the screen, so if the UFO asset doesn’t match, simply flip it horizontally. This makes the scene seem consistent.

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

The next small adjustment we can perform is adding a tint effect. Make both colors match the sky, so that the UFO appears to be distant in the sky. Typically, you’ll increase the tint if the spaceship is larger or further away to give a sense of scale.

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

Feel free to go crazy and add even more of our spaceship assets! Once again you can change the tint levels so that the closer spaceships have less of it applied (which you can see in the top right asset).

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

If you have buildings that are supposed to obstruct the view of some of these VFX assets like I have here, you can either rotoscope the foreground, or use a simple color key with the sky as the target! We can then use this duplicated layer above our UFO effects to put the buildings in front.

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

And it’s as easy as that! In no time we have our VFX UFO invasion underway. Add any final corrections you would like to your scene. I’ve even used our Auto-Cinemabar plugin to quickly create the cinema aspect ratios in a single click!

Download UFO Spaceship VFX Tutorial

We’ll love to see what you create with these UFO VFX assets! If you’re tempted to create your own UFO animations, Pro Users can download our model here.

If you’re interested in more compositing tutorials, check out our Helictoper tutorial.

Super Slow Motion Tutorial

We have always loved the super-slow motion scenes of Quicksilver in the X-Men films. A lot of creators have attempted to create their own version of the effect, we thought it was past due for us to try the same. Check out our results and the tutorial below!

We used a variety of practical effects, like moving hand-held lights on the subject (2:58) and an office chair to make it appear as though he was actually running on the walls (5:07) but the VFX are where things really came together!

The debris effects were done in Element3D inside of After Effects. We cloned many of these and randomized the rotation to really add in the destructive feel.

Download the debris effects here 

The explosion effect used some of our awesome fireball effects

If you want to see how we built out the fireball in more detail Pro Users can download that Project File Here

Overall we thought it came out great! What do you think?

Want to learn more? Check out this great tutorial for compositing Helicopters

How to add Snow to your videos – VFX Tutorial

Download HD snow effects for your videos here

With only a few days to go until Christmas takes over, it’s time to go over one of the most fundamental uses of VFX compositing – snow!

Whether you’re shooting a Christmas comedy or a reflective and chilling scene for your film, snow can always help add value to your project. But not everyone has access to weather manipulating machines or industrially sized snow cannons, and so in these cases, we must rely on VFX to composite the snow into our footage.

FootageCrate has a huge library of snowfall effects, ranging from realistic to cartoon styled. Similar to all of our content, these snow effects are pre-keyed, meaning that transparency is preserved when you drop the snow footage on top of your shot without any further hassle! You can take a look at our collection of snow effects here.

Let’s get started with the tutorial! You can use almost any software for this, including After Effects, Hitfilm, Nuke and Premiere Pro!

I’ve taken this stock image from Pexels.com, so if you want to follow along, be my guest and download the image.

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

One step I’ve often seen people skipping is that they don’t add depth to their snow effect. What I mean by this is that it’s quite clearly visible that there’s just a snow effect simply being placed on the footage, giving it a “flat” feel. We’re going to give the snow volume by first creating a solid that matches the colour of the lighter clouds, and making it so that the further away the footage is, the higher the opacity. This can be done through masking or opacity painting.

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

Already we’ve given a nice volumetric feel to the scene. This will look like snow that is too distant to be seen by the camera individually, and so appears like a cloud.

We can now mask out or rotoscope the foreground so that it doesn’t sit behind this fog.

It’s now time to drop the snow effect into our video. I’ve taken two different effects from the FootageCrate website, which is the “snow background” and the “slow snow falling”. I’ll have the first placed behind the foreground, and the second in front of it. This makes it appear as if the subject is sandwiched between the two snow assets so that they feel part of the scene!

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

Apply these snow effects with an add/lighten/screen transfer mode so that the dark halos around the snowflakes are invisible, and admire your now far more chilling scene! You can add further colour corrections to then cool the image with bluish tints.

How to composite snow VFX into your video tutorial

Thanks for reading this tutorial! If you’d like to learn more VFX, take a look at our helicopter compositing tutorial!

 

Helicopter VFX Tutorial

Download HD Helicopter VFX assets here

Our brand new helicopter assets have landed in the FootageCrate library, giving you the power to create your own stunning action movie VFX!

Over 30 exciting elements are available for you, with some of them being free to download. We’ve made sure the selection covers all of the intense helicopter sequences you’ll need to build the perfect narrative for your project.

The collection includes take-offs, flybys, static graphics and even a spectacular helicopter crash.

Helicopter Crash VFX for your Videos

It’s time to get started with the tutorial, so you can learn how to add these helicopter VFX into your own videos! We’ll be going over the general workflow which covers the steps you need to take to composite all of our helicopter assets. I’ll also be using After Effects today, but you can replicate the steps in almost any compositing software such as Hitfilm and Nuke.

We’ll first need a background, which today will be this beautiful aerial mountain scenery from Pexels, but feel free to use your own!

Helicopter VFX Tutorial Background

Once you’ve created a composition featuring your background, find a helicopter asset that best suits your shot. There’s many to choose from, so you’ll have no trouble finding one that you want. I recommend that you also consider the lighting when deciding which effect you want for your VFX. Here I’ll be using a looping shot from the side:

Download Helicopter VFX Assets

Drop the effect into a new layer of your composition, and position it where you need it. Since the background and the helicopter don’t have matching sources of light, I flipped the landscape horizontally in order to have the light coming from the same direction. This goes a long way when it comes to making sure your effect fits naturally into your scene!

Helicopter VFX Tutorial

The shot is already looking pretty good, but we’ll perform some colour correction to make it perfect. I used a curves effect to lightly decrease the red as well as increase the blue, which matched the chilling tone of the environment.

Download Helicopter VFX Tutorial

No action scene is complete without some background motion blur, which also gives the illusion that the helicopter is moving at great speeds. It also helps highlight the main feature of our shot, so that it stands out from the rest.

Download Helicopter VFX Tutorial

This is the third tutorial in a row which has made use of our ProductionCrate Lightwrap generator, so if you haven’t checked it out already download it here! This tool is an absolute game-changer when it comes to compositing inside After Effects. It takes the colour of the environment and blends it into the edges of the asset, making it seem as though light from the scene is bouncing off our helicopter and into the camera. The default settings will do for most scenes, so hitting “Generate” should do the trick, but feel free to adjust the settings if needed.

Download Helicopter VFX Tutorial

You’ve made it to the end! We now have a photorealistic helicopter VFX effect in almost no time at all thanks to ProductionCrate’s helicopter library. It’s time to add our final colour corrections to give it the cinema-quality tone we want to see (here I had increased the contrast and saturation).

Download Helicopter VFX for your Movie

If you want to learn even more compositing tricks, take a look at our Nuclear Bomb VFX tutorial:

Fluid Ink Transition Effects

Download 4K HD ink fluid effects here.

Video transitions are one of the critical aspects of editing, connecting two different shots together. Since the dawn of digital editing, we have seen creators begin to take transitions even more seriously than before, especially in the vlog format.

Whip-pans, spins, fades and light leaks have all become a popular choice for Premiere Pro editors, but one other is a particular favourite of ours. Fluid transitions!

4K Fluid Ink Transitions for Premiere Pro

Otherwise known as ink bleeds, these can be some of the most stylish and beautiful effects, and add a whole new dynamic to your video.

To make your own, you’ll need three things. Your clips, an editing platform, and one of our fluid ink transition effects (which you can download here).

4K Fluid Ink Transitions for Premiere Pro

It’s then as simple as setting your clips alpha to match the brightness) of our transition effect. This can be done by placing the effect above your second clip and adding a “Track Matte Key” to the clip you’re fading into. You then select the ink-effect in the “Matte” option.

4K Fluid Ink Transitions for Premiere Pro

4K Fluid Ink Transitions for Premiere Pro

The “composite using” is what this effect uses to calculate the alpha value of the second clip, and since our ink effect is black and white, we’ll be using the luma value as our source.

Have fun with these awesome 4K ink fluid effects. If you want to hear about more ways you can use our range of effects, take a look at our blog!