In the previous part of this series on post production, we explained how to edit audio tracks. Now we’re going to take a look at the program’s sound optimization features.
Sound optimization with Movie Edit Pro
It’s very rare that you can use the original sound from a video without touching it — usually unexpected noises that don’t have anything to do with the video’s content (e.g. passing cars) detract from the quality of the audio, as can ambient noise (e.g. hissing) and generally unintelligible speech. MAGIX Movie Edit Pro provides a range of options for optimizing audio tracks:
- Premade optimizations, which can be applied by dragging and dropping
- The Audio Cleaning Editor
- Loudness editing for entire tracks or individual objects
Premade optimization options
In the Media Pool effects tab under Audio Effects > Audio Effect Templates, you’ll find preset effect configurations which can be applied to audio objects by dragging and dropping them.
Some templates (e.g. Speaker 1 and Speaker 2) are specifically designed for voice recordings. Others (e.g. High Pass 1kHz) are used to filter out noises such as rumbling. When you click on a template, you’ll hear a short sample of the effect it has on an example song.
However, the Audio Cleaning Dialog is much better suited to true sound editing.
The Audio Cleaning Dialog lets you remove all kinds of sounds. The quickest way to get to the dialog is to select it by double clicking an audio object.
In the first tab in the dialog, called “Noise reduction”, you’ll see the three effects DeClipper, DeNoiser and DeHisser.
If the signal in your video’s audio is too loud, you’ll get digital clipping. The DeClipper effect is used to remove these types of clipping artifacts.
It can restore trimmed signal peaks. You can have the clip level automatically defined for you, or you can use the slider to set the level above which the signal clips.
The DeNoiser feature is used to remove continuous noise, such as the sound of the camera drive. To use this feature, you need just the sound you want to remove in order to create a suitable filter. Under “Noise sample” you’ll find a few included samples. Switch to advanced to create the sound yourself from the material you’re using.
In the dialog, you’ll find additional explanations on how to create noise samples.
Head back to the main “Noise reduction” dialog: Use the slider to set the damping level.
Finally, the DeHisser effect removes steady noises which occur during analog video recording (e.g. tape noise). Use the slider to set the damping level. There are several intensity options under “Noise level”.
Once a parameter has been changed, a check will appear in the box. You can reset the effects to their original values by clicking the “Reset” button.
You can play your clip and listen to the difference by using the control keys under the preview monitor. The “Temporarily switch off all effects” option can be used to turn the effects off for comparison purposes.
You can jump to the previous or next audio object by using the control keys and copy the settings with “Apply from previous object”. “Apply to all” changes all the clips in the current movie.
The 10-band equalizer gives you ten controllers which you can use to alter different frequency bands. You can lower the bass and raise the highs, for example, to make speech more intelligible, or you can remove rumbling noises by reducing the bass ranges.
The “Link frequency bands” option moves adjacent controllers together to avoid over emphasizing the bands.
The compressor produces uniform sound by reducing loud sections and boosting quieter ones — a sort of automatic loudness adjustment. You can use the slider to set the intensity, and under “Function” you’ll find various presettings.
The compressor is good to use on your own vocal recordings. Music that’s loaded into your movie from external sources, on the other hand, is already so compressed that you won’t need to perform any editing on them.
This is where you edit the stereo panorama. You can set the stereo effect dosage by using the “Stereo width” slider. A high stereo width produces a broad stereo sound. Low stereo width gives you mono.
You can pan the sound to the left or right by using the “Balance” feature.
Volume editing with Movie Edit Pro
The volume editing in a film project can present a particular challenge. MAGIX Movie Edit Pro offers many options for optimizing audio tracks that we would like to introduce you to.
Automatic track damping
The main problem of using music in a movie is that in certain places, you might simultaneously hear the original film sound. Here, the music volume should be reduced in favor of the original audio track to avoid the volume of the music and the original audio track together becoming too high. In MAGIX Movie Edit Pro, you can reduce the volume automatically, known professionally as “ducking”.
When using the automatic track damping in Movie Edit Pro, you should keep in mind that these settings will affect damping on the other tracks. The volume of the selected track will remain unchanged, and everything else will become quiter.
- Select the object to be emphasized in the foreground
- Right-click on Audio and waveform display > Volume reduction… in the context menu.
A volume curve will appear on the music track. This has been lowered for the length of the object selected.
Manually adjust the volume curve
The volume sometimes needs to be reduced for a short time in certain places. To do this, you can draw a volume curve onto the object.
- Make the audio object visible via the option Audio and waveform display > Video/audio on separate tracks
- Right-click on the Volume curve
The volume curve will now be displayed on the object. If you click on a point in the volume curve, a handle will appear that you can use to lower the position. This way, you can create as many reductions as you wish on an object. The volume curve can also be used to erase certain positions on the audio track completely, like for example to cut out an accidental crackles.
Automation using the mixer
A third way to edit the volume is to use the mixer. It works based on tracks – this means that you’re always editing whole tracks and not the individual objects. In the mixer you can see at the bottom which track you’re currently working on. You can quickly access the mixer by pressing the M key on your computer’s keyboard.
To get the most out of working with the mixer, you should organize your audio material on different tracks like the following:
- The original sound as a combination track on track 1
- Additional sounds and dubbing on a noise track
- Speech commentaries on a speech track
- Music on a music track
Using this method, you can quickly create a complex arrangement with many image and audio tracks. However, there’s always the problem that the audio tracks need to be quiter and louder in certain places.The mixer also has an automatic function that can be activated via the small Auto button on one of the mixer channels, so that you don’t have to separately edit each object using a volume curve. Once you’ve activated the automation, you can adjust the volume live using the large fader. Movie Edit Pro will then automatically draw a track curve. This method can be repeated for each track. If you need to edit individual areas, simply move the playback marker to the position to be edited and regulate the volume from here.
Movie Edit Pro: Make your own video projects come to life.
MAGIX Movie Edit Pro is the perfect tool for cutting unique videos and editing them at a later date. If you don’t yet have Movie Edit Pro, you can try out the trial version.