Science & Tech

How to Make Web Video Sound Great

Making high-quality video and getting it out for the world to see has never been easier. In the past, it took an army of technicians and artists to tell a story that could reach millions though cinema or broadcast. Now one person can do it with a mobile device and access to streaming digital video services.

And new tools are making it easier than ever to create your video’s final sound mix. The new version of Adobe® Premiere® Pro enables native Dolby Audio™ – Dolby Digital Plus™ audio streams. That means you can mix your video in surround sound, with no additional plug-ins. Now you can create immersive, surround sound content up to 7.1-channels directly in the Adobe Premiere Pro editorial platform or in its companion editorial platform specifically for audio, Adobe Audition®.

I’m going to give you some basic tips for creating a great-sounding audio mix in Premiere Pro and Audition. But remember that you can’t create a great mix if you don’t have great sound to start out with. If you’re a beginner who wants to capture better-sounding videos, start with our basic production guide. You can find more tips on capturing great sound from the Dolby® Institute and Corridor Digital.

Step 1: Create your mix

Once you’ve captured all the elements of your video, you need to create the final audio mix. Start by creating a mix in Premiere. Open the Track Mixer panel to assign individual tracks to the channels in your surround environment. If you want more control, you can open an Audition window from inside Premiere and send over the volume keyframe, audio clip effects, or other elements you want to work with.

Step 2: Distribute the sound

In Audition, use the Track Panner panel to adjust each track’s output. Try starting with dialogue and narration in the Center channel, stereo music and effects panned in Front Left and Front Right channels, ambient sounds in the surround sound channels, and sound effects throughout the soundfield. Once you’ve got the sound where you want it in Audition, export the mix back to Premiere (choose Multitrack, then Export) and mix the session down to a 5.1 file.

Step 3: Export your mix

In Premiere, review to make sure the audio lines up with the visuals. Then export with just a few keystrokes to a format that supports Dolby Digital Plus: either H.264 or MPEG2 Blu-ray™. Premiere provides some default options for each format and lets you customize as you wish. You can change the bit rate, the channel configuration, or other parameters to suit the streaming network or media that viewers will use for playback.

Our friends at Adobe have also created a short video to take you step by step through how to create a great Dolby Digital Plus sound mix in Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition for playback on disc and streaming applications. Watch the video and let us know what you think.

Glenn Kiser is the director of the Dolby Institute, which is dedicated to educating and inspiring content providers to effectively use sound and visual technologies as creative tools.