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Video editing

How to edit audio tracks in your videos: a step-by-step guide

You want to get high-quality sound on your video ? Here's a guide on how to optimize your audio tracks.

Jean-Marc
June 14, 2021

When making video, it’s quite common to focus primarily on the editing and picture quality of your video.

Yet, it may not seem like it, but the audio dimension of your video enhances the feeling of immersion more than any other factor.

How to edit audio tracks in your videos: a step-by-step guide

Well-synchronized, well-cut and well-balanced audio tracks reinforce the impact of the images on the viewers, and make them experience the action more closely. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting high quality audio in your video.

Why should you edit your video audio properly

The quality of audio tracks in a video is often overlooked by novice video creators. However, once they start to work on it, they can achieve remarkable effects in terms of reception and performance. Here are the benefits you can expect from a well edited sound:

  • With good sound quality and balancing the volume of your video, you ensure that you don’t lose your viewers’ attention
  • With good sound transitions, you create a fluid impression in the playback of your video
  • By adding additional sound effects, you enhance the immersion experience.

Are you ready to go? We’ll give you everything you need to get started.

Optimizing your video audio: the step-by-step method

1. Having a proper acoustic environment

Good sound editing starts with a proper acoustic environment. Not all recording spaces absorb and reflect sound in the same way. Some are tight spaces that muffle sound, while others have walls that crush sound frequencies or produce echo. The ideal setting allows sound to spread across a wide space and return naturally to the recording receivers.

When choosing such a location, you should record your sound in a room spaced away from walls, and provide equipments against the wind if you want to shoot outside.

2. Recording your sound with a good microphone

The choice of recording equipment also plays a major role in getting the sound right. An external microphone (tie, shotgun, stereo) helps you pick up the sound as close as possible to its source, whether it is the voice of a person or an action sound.

You should for example use a tie microphone if you are speaking alone. If you have other people talking, you might use a portable microphone. As for filmed scenes, you might use shotgun microphones to pick up all the sounds in the room.

3. Optimizing your audio quality settings

When you have recorded your sound correctly, you can then process and optimize your sound parameters. The software I mention below will help you select and mix the most interesting audio elements, and optimize their rendering. Here are the technical editing you can apply:

  • Balancing the volume level of your video. Some microphones or voices may have more resonance power, so the audio sequences may be more or less reduced in volume (a standard volume level is between -24 and -6 dB.
  • Normalizing the amplitude and pitch of your sound. Some intonations or sounds can oscillate a lot between low and high pitches, and standardizing their amplitude gives a more pleasant sound to the ear.
  • Eliminating non-essential noise from your video. Audacity, Filmora or Premiere Pro can help you for example to reduce background noise.
  • If you think the audio track is too slow or fast, you can also try to speed it up or slow it down. But be careful, if you’re editing voice, you need to adjust the frequency as well (a faster voice is also higher pitched). You can use for example the “Change Tempo” feature on Audacity to do this without changing the pitch of your voice.

4. Cutting and trimming accurately your audio tracks

Once you have optimized your audio tracks, you can then add them to your video, synchronize them and trim them according to the effect you want. There are a number of recommendations for good audio trimming:

  • Strive to trim your audio sequences correctly, without leaving any apparent gaps. Whether it’s a scene with or without voice, the viewer should always have sound in their ears.
  • Make good transitions, relying on fade effects. For example, when you move from one scene to another, the sound should also naturally fade out and reappear a few seconds later.
  • Create synchronization points between the image stream and the sound. For example, associate sounds with certain actions on the film.
  • This is very much about adding music, which should be in rhythm with the action of the video.
  • You can also play with the source of the stereo sound (right or left) to create a motion effect. For example, an image that moves from left to right can be associated with a sound that is heard progressively from the left ear to the right ear.

5. Adding music and voice-over tracks

After cutting and processing the audio, it’s time to add music tracks and voice-over. Music allows you to amplify the emotions conveyed in the video. To have the most impact, however, it must fit with the tone of the video and the timing of the words and actions.

As for voice-over, it allows you to clarify and add a narrative touch to your filmed scenes. You can add your voice-over by running your video at the same time, to ensure perfect synchronization.

6. Adding FOLEY and sound effects

Studios and production agencies go even further in optimizing their video by mixing sounds or creating artificial sounds. So-called FOLEY are quite often added afterwards in recording studios. Action scenes do not have the same depth without the addition of manufactured sounds. For example, sound engineers can reproduce the dry sounds of fights by tapping on vegetables or jackets.

You can also use the sound effects in your video editors (echo, nature, voice, street noise…) to add a new dimension to your videos. The important thing is that these effects are always consistent with the image.

7. Listening and checking closely your audio record

When you have finished all this, all that remains is to listen to your video several times. Pay particular attention to the synchronization of your audio sequences with your image or voice, and to transition errors. It’s easy to leave a gap of a few seconds between these tracks that can cause your entire video to lag.

What are the best video audio editors?

In video editing, quality work often depends on the tool you use. Each video and audio editor has different features, and therefore do not offer the same result depending on the type of video you want to create (sales video, video creation, for social networks…). To edit the sound of your video, there are two types of software:

Video audio editors

Filmora

How to edit audio tracks in your videos: a step-by-step guide

Filmora is a video software that allows you to quickly add, cut, synchronize audio tracks on your video. You can also easily separate the audio from your video to optimize it for other platforms. It’s a handy tool to edit the sound of your videos in a few clicks.

Adobe Premiere Pro

How to edit audio tracks in your videos: a step-by-step guide

The most complete video software, Premiere Pro also has rather wide audio editing tools. You can normalize, mix, trim and add transitions to your audio sequences. It’s a good start to getting clean, clear audio for your video.

Imovie

How to edit audio tracks in your videos: a step-by-step guide

For Mac users, this is the perfect free tool to improve the quality of your audio tracks. With simple features like trimming, equalizing and reducing ambient noise, you can do proper and basic audio editing. Give it a try if you want to make quick edits!

Pure Audio Editors

Audacity

How to edit audio tracks in your videos: a step-by-step guide

Audacity is a free open-source software that allows you to improve the quality of your video from A to Z. By adding audio to your video, you will have access to many tools and filters to optimize the rendering of your sequence. There’s no better way to do in-depth audio editing without spending a dime!

AVS Audio Editor

How to edit audio tracks in your videos: a step-by-step guide

AVS is another program that allows you to directly edit the tracks of your video file. Just include your MP4, MOV, AVI file and you can edit and trim your audio recordings. By saving the changes in your new video, you have a video with improved sound.

Adobe Audition

How to edit audio tracks in your videos: a step-by-step guide

For in-depth video editing, Adobe Audition is one of the most comprehensive tools on the market. Combined with Adobe Premier Pro, you can edit, arrange and mix the various technical parameters of your audio sequences. With intelligent technology, you can even repair and transform your audio spectrum. It’s the right tool for video creators who want perfect sound in their creation.

Well, we hope we’ve helped you get to the ears of your audience! And if you’re looking for a fast and effective automatic subtitling solution, you can also contact us.

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