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Lesson 11. Mixing Audio Tracks > Using Waveforms for Audio Editing

Using Waveforms for Audio Editing

In addition to the volume level overlay line, you can also see the waveform displayed for the audio tracks in the Timeline. Seeing the actual representation of the audio can be very helpful as you adjust volume and edit audio tracks. As you edit, you may want to display the volume level overlay lines and audio waveforms together in the Timeline. To help you focus on the waveform display in this exercise, you will turn off the clip overlays.

If you balanced the volume levels of the Team Story sequence in the previous Project Practice, continue with that sequence. If not, open the Team Story Mixed sequence in the Sequences bin in the Browser.

This is the same sequence but with mixed audio levels.

Choose Show Audio Waveforms from the Timeline Layout pop-up menu. You can also press Option-Cmd-W.


Sometimes it's easier to remember similar shortcuts together. Option-W toggles clip overlays, and Option-Cmd-W toggles the waveform display.

Move your pointer into the Timeline track area over the A1 and A2 boundary line. When the cursor changes to the resize arrow, press Option and drag down.

As you enlarge the audio tracks, the waveforms appear larger as well, allowing you to take a closer look at the shape of your audio signals.

Look at the A1 and A2 tracks to see which is the boom track and which is the more robust lavalier, or lav, microphone track.

Look at the bike sfx.aif clip on A5 and A6.

If you played this clip in the previous Project Practice, you may have seen there was no audio registering in one of the audio meters. Viewing the waveform display provides a visual clue to the audio content of your clips without playing them.

To delete the empty track from the stereo bike sfx.aif clip, select the clip, and press Option-L to ungroup the stereo pair. Select the lower track, and press Delete.

Now only the good bike sfx.aif track appears in the Timeline.

Move the playhead to the end of the fourth team member clip, and play to the end of the sequence. Look at the waveform display for the MB wins clip.

From the waveform display, it looks as though there could be additional crowd clapping sounds earlier in this clip. Extending that sound under the image of the MB long run clip before it would add the sound of the audience before you see them, making the sequence more interesting.

In the Timeline button bar, click the Linked Selection button to toggle it off. Drag the In point of the MB wins clip to the left, and snap it to the Out point of the MB championship clip. Play from this location.

Even though the extended portion of this clip is not synched to the video above it, it coincidentally syncs perfectly with the man clapping.

Another use for the waveform display is when you edit audio tracks in the Timeline.

Open the Waveform Editing sequence from the Browser. Play the two unedited clips, and then play the group of edited audio clips that follows in the sequence.

The edited version of these two clips was used in the Racing – Transitions sequence in the previous lesson. When you remove the ums and ahhs from the team manager's comments, you end up with a tightly edited and much more effective sound bite.


If the audio waveform does not appear, make the track taller or zoom into the clip to see the waveform display.

Zoom into the head of the first clip, JM stakes rise.

When zoomed in, it's easy to see where the pauses occur in this clip by the shape of the waveform display. You can mark the pauses and delete them to shorten these two clips and improve the sound bite.

Play from the beginning of the clip, and set an In point just after the team manager says, “When the stakes rise,” but before he pauses. Set an Out point just after the next “hum,” but before he says, “You'll see…”


When viewing the waveform display on stereo audio clips, such as in this sequence, you can enlarge one track but make the other small, since whatever you do to one track of a stereo pair, you do to the other simultaneously.

Press Shift-Delete to delete the pause and pull up the remaining portion of the clip. Play the new edit point to see how it sounds.



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