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Normalizing Audio in Premiere Pro and Audition

Normalizing Audio in Premiere Pro and Audition

Normalizing Region A will produce a different result from normalizing region B

Jan Ozer

Typically, you normalize audio volume so your entire production will have similar levels and your viewers won’t have to adjust the volume from scene to scene. Technically, however, normalization increases the amplitude of the audio to a target level, usually 100%, which is maximum volume available without distortion.

What’s critical to realize is that normalization affects the entire file equally. So if you have a file (or region in a file) with loud segments, but also with low segments, normalizing the entire file will probably not increase the volume of the low points.

Consider the two regions defined in Figure above. Region A has consistently low volume, while Region B has both high and low points. If you normalized Region A, you would increase the volume of the low points to much higher levels. However, if you normalized Region B, Audition might even reduce the volume a bit, making the low-volume portions even harder to hear.

If Figure above was a piece that was supposed to have high and low regions (say, the 1812 Overture), normalizing Region B, or even the entire song, would produce the desired result—a piece rendered at maximum volume with the desired highs and lows without distortion. In this case, you could safely use Premiere Pro’s Normalization tool, accessed by right-clicking the Audio clip and choosing Clip Gain from the pop-up menu that appears, and then clicking the Normalize button.

On the other hand, if Figure above was a song (or wedding ceremony) with loud applause at the end, normalizing the entire file wouldn’t increase the volume in the lower regions, which might be the bride or groom softly stating their vows. In these instances, normalize in Audition to target specific portions of your audio clip.

Need to Normalize Multiple Files?

If you have multiple files to normalize, load them into Audition, select the files in the Files panel, right-click, and choose Edit Group Waveform Normalize from the pop-up menu that appears. Audition will analyze the files and normalize their respective volumes.

Working Through a Long Audio File?

When working through a long audio file (say 2 minutes or more), you might find it helpful to use markers to break the file into regions and then edit them individually. To set a marker, move the current-time indicator to the target location, right-click, and choose Add to Marker List. You can divide the regions by duration, or use natural breaks like songs or scenes.

Article continues, Increase Low Volume Regions

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