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Lesson 11. Mixing Audio Tracks > Using Clip Overlays to Set Audio Levels

Using Clip Overlays to Set Audio Levels

You have already adjusted volume levels for clips in the Viewer by entering a dB amount or dragging the pink volume level overlay line up or down. You can also adjust volume on clips directly in the Timeline. To do this, you toggle on a clip overlay that displays a pink volume level line like the one in the Viewer.

Click the Canoe Club Mix sequence tab. Click the Audio Controls control for this sequence, then solo the A3 and A4 narration tracks. As you play these clips, watch the dB levels in the audio meters.

Although the narration clips are fairly consistent, they fall beneath –12 dB on the audio meters. Since the narration is the primary audio in this sequence, you will need to raise the volume of these clips.

To turn on clip overlays for this sequence, click the Clip Overlays control. You can also press Option-W.

A pink volume level line appears in each audio clip representing the volume of that clip. Black overlay lines appear on the video clips. These rep resent the percentage of video opacity. The audio overlay lines appear on the one-third line of the clip, allowing room to raise the volume above the original level. The video opacity lines, when in their default position, are at the top of the video clips at 100%, or full, opacity.


The Audio Controls and Clip Overlay controls can be toggled off or on in each individual sequence open in the Timeline. When you save the project, the sequence will reopen in that state.

In the VO_01 clip, move the pointer over the volume level line on the A1 or A2 track, and drag the line up and down.

As you drag, both lines move up or down because these tracks are grouped as a stereo pair. An information box displays the dB amount you are changing the volume relative to its original 0 dB level.


Remember, the 0 dB level for each clip represents the original audio level as it was captured. It does not mean it will appear at 0 dB on the audio meters.

Drag the volume level line 4 dB above 0, and play the clip again. Try it 8 dB above its original level.


As you drag, the volume level overlay will change in different increments depending on the height of the track. To see each increment and have greater control, hold down the Command key as you drag.

Determining a starting point is the first step in setting levels. When you preview the sequence audio with this clip, you may need to come back and readjust these narration clips.

Play and adjust the volume of the VO_02 and VO_03 narration clips to be consistent with the first one.

Now click the Solo controls for the A5 and A6 music tracks to add them to the mix. Play the areas where the music and narration clips overlap in the sequence.


As you finish listening to one narration clip, and without stopping the playhead, just click in the ruler area above the next narration clip, and the playhead will continue playing from that point.

At full volume, the music overpowers the narration. Let's adjust the music volume to create an optimum mix level that supports the narration.

Drag the volume level line on one of the stereo music tracks down –12 dB, and play the area again. Adjust the level so the music is clearly heard but not distracting to the narration.


Later in this lesson, you will learn how to raise and lower the sound level within the music clip, allowing you to bring it up to a fuller level when the narrator isn't speaking.

To turn off all the Solo buttons and listen to all tracks, Option-click the A1 Solo button, then Option-click it again.

Option-clicking a deselected Solo button first selects all the Solo buttons. Option-clicking again deselects them all.

Play the sequence where the first narration clip, VO_01, overlaps with the first rowing sound clip. Lower the first rowing sound volume to a mix level you like.

To apply the volume level of the first rowing sound clip to the others, select the first clip, and press Cmd-C to copy it. Select the remaining rowing sound clips.

Ctrl-click one of the selected clips and choose Paste Attributes from the shortcut menu. In the Paste Attributes window under Audio Attributes, click the Levels check box, and click OK.

The volume lines on all the rowing sound clips move down to the same level as the first sound effect clip in this sequence.



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