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Mixing Quickly in Premiere Pro - Advice for Experienced Avid User

Community Beginner ,
Aug 07, 2020

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I'm trying to move from Avid Media Composer to Premiere Pro for a job. As I've been working on Avid for 20 years, this involves a bit of a shift to the muscle memory.

 

I'm finding it in equal parts joyful and exasperating, butI don't mind the experiment as I'm finding I really do like some aspects of Premiere Pro. I especially love Extendscript as it opens some areas of automation - I only wish it could do more! I keep running into scenarios that simply aren't solvable through Extendscript.

 

I'm very keyboard centric in the way I cut, and I like to be able to edit by moving the mouse as little as possible. If I can avoid lasso selecting things and moving anything with the mouse I definitely will.

 

One action I can't get right in Premiere is adding audio fades and dissolves. I thought I could automate some of this with Extendscript, but CEP is hobbled when it comes to transitions. So I figured perhaps I'm just going about it in too Avid a way. Can someone help me find the right (meaning most keyboard efficient) solution to my day-to-day mixing activities on Premiere Pro?

 

Please skip to the Question/Challenge section if you don't want to read the preamble.

 

My Mixing Process

In Avid, I use audio transitions for Level Mixing and for Short audio transitions (softening hard audio edits). Here's a picture of a typical sequence in Avid for a fairly simple edit.

 

Timeline

Timeline%20ZoomScenario 1 - Level Mixing

In Avid, I mix my sequences using clip Levels and placing dissolves (transitions) on through-edits.

 

- I have a bit of music on A9/10 (or a bit of sync on A1-4) that needs to dip,

- I add a through edit on A9/10.

- go to the mixer to set the level after the cut.

- I move the cursor to where I want to start the level dip, fix the level in the mixer and

- Click Shift+3 which I've mapped to Fade to cut.

 

I can slow down or speed up the fade in two simple operations:

- move the cursor to where I want the fade to start and

- click Shift+3 to overwrite the existing fade with a new one.

 

With my Razer Naga mouse, this is an incredibly swift and streamlined process.

 

quickfade

I can the positions of the mixes very quickly too. If I'm dipping for a bit of sync and I want to move the sync up a bit, I just go into trim mode (The [ key on my keyboard) on A9 and A10 and move the match cut.

 

So moving a dissolve 12 frames ealier is as simple as pressing:

  • ] (Trim mode on selected tracks),
  • -12 (move edit by -12 frames),
  • Escape (leave trim mode).
 

Movedissolve

I know I've seen other editors use dissolves like this: I've seen their timelines.

 

Quick Aside - Why not rubber-banding

Personally, I use this method in preference to rubber banding for a few reasons:

 

1) I like the accuracy of just being able to type numbers in to set levels on clips - it feels accurate, clean and mathematical. A bit too loud (-3), a lot too loud -14.

2) I find it much faster to adjust the position of through-edits as things slip and move around a complex timeline.

3) it's very light when it comes to keypresses and doesn't require any fiddly mouse movements.

4) I'm often not trying to get the perfect mix, but the best mix fastest to test my edit, and I can adjust complex sequences in a blind of an eye.

 

Scenario 2 - Short Transitions

I use short transitions to soften audio cuts in audio. Say I've got a cut between two bits of interview, but there's a short pop or a difference in background noise.

 

- In Avid, I select my sync tracks (say A1,2,7,8)  then I click Shift+1 on my keyboard. This maps to Add Quick Dissolve.

- This brings up a dialog box with a duration in it, and the textbox with the duration is already selected, so I then tap keyboard 3, or 5 or 10, or wahtever to set the audio mix to the appropriate number of frames frames (the precise count depends on the precise sound difference I'm trying to soften).

 

Assuming I've got the right tracks selected, this is 3 button clicks to get a dissolve on the four tracks:

 

  • Shift+1, 3, Enter. Done!
 

AddTransition

If I haven't quite got the dissolve length right, I just go through exactly the same process again with a different frame count and it overwrites the existing transitions:

  • Shift+1, 5, Enter

 

With my mouse with a number pad (Razor Naga), I can do this without ever touching the keyboard. 

 

I also use this technique for dealing with starts of words which strictly lie between the frames. Sometimes I need to add a 1 frame edit to really get the start of the word.

 

Quick overview. It's fast, and very un-fiddly.

 

Potential Solutions

I thought I'd get up and running mixing in Premiere Pro quite quickly as I found the Apply Default Audio Transition To Playhead command in the keybaord settings nad I mapped it to Shift+3. This looks like the right operation, but it's not. It works when you're fading tracks up or down to silence, but does not operate correctly when mixing between levels or between two different tracks. This command doesn't add a transition between two clips, but a fade to zero at the cut, and then a cut to the level at the cut.

 

The fastest way to add a real dissolve between two clips appears to be to select all the audio clips using the Lasso and press Ctrl+Shift+D to add a default audio dissolve. Then you have to multi-select the dissolves themselves (v fiddly) and double click them to change the dissolve length. What is an operation that I can achieve in less than a second in Avid takes 10 seconds in Premiere Pro.

 

It's even fiddlier to adjust the offset of the transition (i.e. where it starts relative to the edit), especially where you might have multiple audio tracks.

 

I thought I could just create an ExtendScript to pop up a dialog box and add custom transitions, but it doesn't appear there is a good way of interacting with transitions in Extendscript. In fact, if I could do this, I reckon I could solve all of my problems!

 

The Question / The Challenge 

I'm beginning to think I'm fighting the system a bit, and I'm just not approaching my mix in the Premiere Pro way. I absolutely need to keep my mixing fast and flexible - it could cost me hours in an editing week as it's easily the most common taks in my day.

 

Here's the challenge/question for you Premiere editors:

  • For scenario 1: What is the fastest way of dipping audio for a continuous set of tracks. I need it in a way that means I can adjust the length and position of the dip as quickly as possible. And the levels on either side of the dip on multiple tracks as quickly as possible.

  • For scenario 2: In the shortest number of keystrokes possible, how do I add a dissolve between (multiple tracks of) audio clips where the dissolve is N frames long. I would need this scenario for dissolves starting at the cut, ending at the cut, and centered on the cut.

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Mixing Quickly in Premiere Pro - Advice for Experienced Avid User

Community Beginner ,
Aug 07, 2020

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I'm trying to move from Avid Media Composer to Premiere Pro for a job. As I've been working on Avid for 20 years, this involves a bit of a shift to the muscle memory.

 

I'm finding it in equal parts joyful and exasperating, butI don't mind the experiment as I'm finding I really do like some aspects of Premiere Pro. I especially love Extendscript as it opens some areas of automation - I only wish it could do more! I keep running into scenarios that simply aren't solvable through Extendscript.

 

I'm very keyboard centric in the way I cut, and I like to be able to edit by moving the mouse as little as possible. If I can avoid lasso selecting things and moving anything with the mouse I definitely will.

 

One action I can't get right in Premiere is adding audio fades and dissolves. I thought I could automate some of this with Extendscript, but CEP is hobbled when it comes to transitions. So I figured perhaps I'm just going about it in too Avid a way. Can someone help me find the right (meaning most keyboard efficient) solution to my day-to-day mixing activities on Premiere Pro?

 

Please skip to the Question/Challenge section if you don't want to read the preamble.

 

My Mixing Process

In Avid, I use audio transitions for Level Mixing and for Short audio transitions (softening hard audio edits). Here's a picture of a typical sequence in Avid for a fairly simple edit.

 

Timeline

Timeline%20ZoomScenario 1 - Level Mixing

In Avid, I mix my sequences using clip Levels and placing dissolves (transitions) on through-edits.

 

- I have a bit of music on A9/10 (or a bit of sync on A1-4) that needs to dip,

- I add a through edit on A9/10.

- go to the mixer to set the level after the cut.

- I move the cursor to where I want to start the level dip, fix the level in the mixer and

- Click Shift+3 which I've mapped to Fade to cut.

 

I can slow down or speed up the fade in two simple operations:

- move the cursor to where I want the fade to start and

- click Shift+3 to overwrite the existing fade with a new one.

 

With my Razer Naga mouse, this is an incredibly swift and streamlined process.

 

quickfade

I can the positions of the mixes very quickly too. If I'm dipping for a bit of sync and I want to move the sync up a bit, I just go into trim mode (The [ key on my keyboard) on A9 and A10 and move the match cut.

 

So moving a dissolve 12 frames ealier is as simple as pressing:

  • ] (Trim mode on selected tracks),
  • -12 (move edit by -12 frames),
  • Escape (leave trim mode).
 

Movedissolve

I know I've seen other editors use dissolves like this: I've seen their timelines.

 

Quick Aside - Why not rubber-banding

Personally, I use this method in preference to rubber banding for a few reasons:

 

1) I like the accuracy of just being able to type numbers in to set levels on clips - it feels accurate, clean and mathematical. A bit too loud (-3), a lot too loud -14.

2) I find it much faster to adjust the position of through-edits as things slip and move around a complex timeline.

3) it's very light when it comes to keypresses and doesn't require any fiddly mouse movements.

4) I'm often not trying to get the perfect mix, but the best mix fastest to test my edit, and I can adjust complex sequences in a blind of an eye.

 

Scenario 2 - Short Transitions

I use short transitions to soften audio cuts in audio. Say I've got a cut between two bits of interview, but there's a short pop or a difference in background noise.

 

- In Avid, I select my sync tracks (say A1,2,7,8)  then I click Shift+1 on my keyboard. This maps to Add Quick Dissolve.

- This brings up a dialog box with a duration in it, and the textbox with the duration is already selected, so I then tap keyboard 3, or 5 or 10, or wahtever to set the audio mix to the appropriate number of frames frames (the precise count depends on the precise sound difference I'm trying to soften).

 

Assuming I've got the right tracks selected, this is 3 button clicks to get a dissolve on the four tracks:

 

  • Shift+1, 3, Enter. Done!
 

AddTransition

If I haven't quite got the dissolve length right, I just go through exactly the same process again with a different frame count and it overwrites the existing transitions:

  • Shift+1, 5, Enter

 

With my mouse with a number pad (Razor Naga), I can do this without ever touching the keyboard. 

 

I also use this technique for dealing with starts of words which strictly lie between the frames. Sometimes I need to add a 1 frame edit to really get the start of the word.

 

Quick overview. It's fast, and very un-fiddly.

 

Potential Solutions

I thought I'd get up and running mixing in Premiere Pro quite quickly as I found the Apply Default Audio Transition To Playhead command in the keybaord settings nad I mapped it to Shift+3. This looks like the right operation, but it's not. It works when you're fading tracks up or down to silence, but does not operate correctly when mixing between levels or between two different tracks. This command doesn't add a transition between two clips, but a fade to zero at the cut, and then a cut to the level at the cut.

 

The fastest way to add a real dissolve between two clips appears to be to select all the audio clips using the Lasso and press Ctrl+Shift+D to add a default audio dissolve. Then you have to multi-select the dissolves themselves (v fiddly) and double click them to change the dissolve length. What is an operation that I can achieve in less than a second in Avid takes 10 seconds in Premiere Pro.

 

It's even fiddlier to adjust the offset of the transition (i.e. where it starts relative to the edit), especially where you might have multiple audio tracks.

 

I thought I could just create an ExtendScript to pop up a dialog box and add custom transitions, but it doesn't appear there is a good way of interacting with transitions in Extendscript. In fact, if I could do this, I reckon I could solve all of my problems!

 

The Question / The Challenge 

I'm beginning to think I'm fighting the system a bit, and I'm just not approaching my mix in the Premiere Pro way. I absolutely need to keep my mixing fast and flexible - it could cost me hours in an editing week as it's easily the most common taks in my day.

 

Here's the challenge/question for you Premiere editors:

  • For scenario 1: What is the fastest way of dipping audio for a continuous set of tracks. I need it in a way that means I can adjust the length and position of the dip as quickly as possible. And the levels on either side of the dip on multiple tracks as quickly as possible.

  • For scenario 2: In the shortest number of keystrokes possible, how do I add a dissolve between (multiple tracks of) audio clips where the dissolve is N frames long. I would need this scenario for dissolves starting at the cut, ending at the cut, and centered on the cut.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 07, 2020

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gotta say my eyes glazed over going thru your post.  You've got a very specific workflow and not sure how everything will translate from avid to PP.   I worked intensively in avid but that's over 25 years ago...  I'm sure it's a very different beast now.  On a project as complex as what yours seems to be, I would probably be going into a mixing studio working with a sound designer to finish the piece...  But have you explored "Essential Sounds?"  There some pretty amazing automation there to do an "automatic duck" lowering music underneath dialog for example... 

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 07, 2020

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Thanks so much for the reply. 

 

Yes, every project I do these days goes through a mix with sound design. This is just about getting a good rough and ready mix quickly for a decently sized (feature doc) project. 

 

I have had a look at the Essential Sound stuff. It's clever the way it tries to duck etc, and it could be super useful in places. But it's not what I'm after right now. I'm after total control of my (rather crude) mix in as few keypresses as possible. 

 

As I say, I feel I'm fighting the system a bit here, as it's clearly not how to mix properly in Premiere. I just can't see how people do a decent mix on Premiere on a complicated sequence without performing way too many keypresses. 

 

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 07, 2020

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Apply default transitions, audio or video, applies what is set currently as the default transition for that type.

 

Did you go into the audio transitions, select the one you want, right-click 'set as default transition' ?

 

Unfortunately, Premiere doesn't have that many audio transitions. And you can modify one, save that as a preset, and set that as your default transition also.

 

Neil

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 07, 2020

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Thanks Neil.

 

Yes, I've been digging into the Default Audio Transition.

 

The issue is that depending on the pop or audio change you're trying to compensate the mix might be of a different length (and offset relative to the cut). I can easily add the default audio transition on a particular set of tracks at the same time, but if that isn't the right length then changing it is a pretty fiddly process. 

 

Say I've added a 3frame cross-fade centered on the cut on A1-4 and A9,10. Then changing that to 5 frames starting 2 frames before the cut is a very fiddly process. The fastest way I can do this in Premiere is,

 

- Select one of the transitions using the mouse. 

- double click the transition (very fiddly with a 3 frame dissolve).

- Adjust the length in the pop-up box

- Ctrl C to copy the dissolve. 

- Select the other clips on A1-4, A9,10 with a lasso. 

- Ctrl+V topaste the dissolve on the tracks. 

 

This feels way too involved for something that I might do a couple of 1000 times a day. 

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Aug 07, 2020

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that's quite a challenge. Thanks.

 

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