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Adobe Premiere Pro - Advanced Training

How to auto duck music between dialog in Premiere Pro

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi everyone, welcome to some Ducking. We are going to-- got a music track, we've got some dialogue, and what I want to do is, I want the music to actually lower down a little bit, underneath the dialogue, can you see, there's some spaces here, so watch this, I can click this, click on 'Ducking', 'Generate Frames', and watch this, it's going to drop down the volume while I start talking, then back up again, let's have a quick listen, "Loud." "Sound." Then comes back up, comes back down again. It's a way to auto generate keyframes, so that the music dips under the dialog, or whatever you want to be sound effects, doesn't have to be dialogue, but that is Ducking. Let's go in and show you how to do it. 

First up let's go 'File', 'Import', and let's import 'Ducking'. I use 'Command I' there, 'Ctrl I' on a PC, find 'Ducking.mp4', and let's make a sequence from it, and we've got, from that same folder, it's under 'Sound', so we want 'Ducking', and I want also the 'Music 01'. I've already imported it earlier in the tutorials, so I'm going to have these two. Basically, select this, we need to give it the 'Essential Sound', we need to tag it with 'Music', we get the music stuff, and what we want to do is play around with, probably 'Auto Match' first because it's way too loud, I'm going to play it. Music comes at full noise, tapping at '0', what we want to do is, say, actually, let's auto match it, and it knows that it probably should be a lot lower. 

So remember, 'Option' on a Mac, 'Alt' on a PC, and hit '+', make sure you're clicked in here. We can make the volume bigger. This thing here, I need to duck underneath, with these gaps, you can see this, on here, there's a bit of me going speedy drawing, and then I start talking, then it's speedy again, whereas it gets speedy again in the middle there, and then it kind of gets back to me. So there's bits and pieces where the music to duck under, that's what I want to say. So it's selected, just click on 'Ducking', now this needs-- this won't work, if you click Generate Frames, nothing works unless-- because it's saying 'Duck against what kind of track?' So it's saying 'Duck against Dialog Clips', and we haven't assigned this, the dialog clip yet. Now it'll work, or undo, you can just say, actually I want you to duck against, anything that doesn't have a tag, it's up to you, they both work. 

I'm going to assign this one, my 'Dialogue' tag, because that's what I plan to do anyway, and I'm going to say, 'Duck', this thing here, this music here has a music tag, it's going to 'Duck' underneath 'Dialog', and 'Generate Frames', you can see there, by default, I'll leave it as default to start with, just kind of dims at the beginning there, ducks down and opens back up after all this dialogue. So let's have a little listen. "Okay, better wing." This is way too loud, with my laughing, so let's go 'Dialogue', 'Auto Match' as well, bring it down, and it stays down the whole time, then at the beginning-- end, it goes back again. So you're like, “It saved me a couple of key frames.”

You can get a bit more serious with it. So with it selected, the 'Sensitivity', 'Duck Amount', and 'Fades', we'll play around with, probably the first one before anything is just to lower the fades. If you lower the fades, it's this kind of ramp, either side, if you lower that down, and don't change anything else, you'll actually get-- let's lower it right down, and just have a little look, can you see, if the, if the fade is not-- if it's a lot more steeper, a lot more steeper, it's got a chance to get in and out between all the gaps, so that's probably the first thing to do, rather than anything else, is just play with the fades, just to see where the little gaps are. 

Let's have a little play here, maybe another one of those, "Better wing, Google 'better wings.'" You can see, because the fade's quite low, it's jumping in, in every gap, and obviously that we don't want that. Now, in all honesty I find ducking never works for me, personally for the work that I do. I don't want to brag on ducking, because it seems real cool, but there's a lot of messing around. If you've got big work to do, play around with the fades, and just keep generating, keep generating until-- I'm going to zoom in. - you find something that kind of, it's a bit of sensitivity.

Sensitivity is like how low the actual dialogue needs to be, before it gets activated. So let's lower it down a bit, it's going to do, can you see, it's kind of trying to find more specific holes, but it's doing some weird stuff, that's better. There's a bit of a gap there, so it's lowering through there, but it's up through all of this, because it's quite low, I actually I want it to be up a little bit higher, and it's getting too aggressive, so let's increase the wall or the ramp, so that it doesn't have a chance to squeeze in there. You might find your happy medium that seems actually pretty good, let's go. "Okay, better wing." "That seems sort of kind of right there." 

Can you see, that, because I'm whispering that it thinks it's a break, so you need to make the sensitivity just a bit higher, I think, and for me the Duck Amount is ducking too much, so I want to duck less, please, let's go one more. "Okay, better wing." You've got to hit 'Generate' or else nothing happens, let's try it again. So that's good, overall, I want the whole clip to be a bit lower, this Clip Volume thing, that's what's useful for, you can actually just grab the whole thing and lower it down, rather than messing around with anything else, because we've added a bunch of keyframes, this is actually easier, because if we grab this now, we can't really just do that one part, because there's all these keyframes. 

So Clip volume. "Better wing, better wing, but some sort of, kind of like linearty thing." If you get it close and you're like, oh, except for this one bit over here, that's actually pretty good. I'm taking it back, ducking works okay. Let's say you want to get rid of this, you can click on these and hit 'Del', just click on them, and just say, actually, I don't need any of those, and the rest of it's all good. "Better wing, but some sort of kind of a linearty thing." "Kind of works, like the bird's face." 

So just a recap, sensitivity is based on the dialogue, how low does it have to go before it starts playing with the volume, that's the sensitivity. The Duck Amount is how loud it gets, or the difference between the highs and the lows, and the Fade Amount is the kind of length of this gap, how far apart they are, and that really does change, where it can actually squeeze in or not. So you can use it to help kind of balance like, hey, it's going in and out too many times here, the Sensitivity is kind of right, but you can increase the Fades to say, actually be a slightly more extended ramp, so it doesn't have time to get in and out everywhere, does that make sense? 

The last thing I want to show you is Duration. Duration doesn't work for me, so I'm going to show you another way. You might find a great way of this working, duration for music, let's say that I've got this other-- I'm just going to copy this, I've got two versions of it, and let's say you've got a bit of track, and it gets close to the end, you're like, actually I just want it to be a bit longer, you know you've got clips all the way in here, and you're like, I want it to be a bit further along, so I'm going to get my CTI to the end here. If yours is not snapping, remember, hold 'Shift', and it will snap, and I can see that it-- you know, I'm extending mine out to, 4 minutes 36 seconds and 23 frames, I'm going to copy that. 

So in here you can click on this, and just, where is it, click on there, turn on 'Duration' and drag it, and hope for the best, but it's easier just to click in there, and paste what you copied out of there, hit 'Enter'. It's going to render some files, it's going to try and extend the track, let's hit 'Enter' on my keyboard, see that little red line there, now it's generating like a temporary file for me, and we'll play in a second, but it messes up with the audio, and it's really obvious, I haven't been able to make it work, without it being very obvious, so you might find, let's go out here. 

It's not bad, it's just ruined the music, in my opinion, like it's made it kind of hollow and tinny, and it's stretched out, which is cool. So you might find it works for the track that you're using, have a play around with it, and the reason I'm, yeah, I'm not that worried, because there's actually a really good solution in Audition, so in the next video we'll-- I'll show you how to do it in Audition, it's got an amazing thing, that might end up over here in Premiere Pro, but I love it. Let's go and do that in the next video, goodbye, Ducking. 

Well, one thing I didn't-- I forgot to show you, is that if you start messing with duration, after you do the ducking, everything's out of time, so - zoom in a little bit - so watch this, if I turn the ducking off, watch all these mountains, they don't readjust, you can see now, they're all in weird places, so you need to make sure that when you generate frames again afterwards, just make sure, yeah, you're conscious of turning this on and on, it's going to mess with your keyframes, and you'll notice that, if I go and manually delete some of them, oh, there's good stuff at the end. If I turn Auto Generate Keyframes again, it kind of overrides it, so it's, yeah, be careful once, maybe get it started, but then make your edits and then don't hit Generate Frames again, that could be, yeah, could be painful. All right, now we're going to end, bye.