Working with audio can be a complex process. Format, gain, level, sample rate, bitrate, reverb, and a plethora of other options can quickly lead to confusion in post. Video editors often find themselves intimidated with all of the details, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Let me help you cut through the confusion with a few tips and tricks. Follow the seven suggestions below and you’ll be editing audio like a pro in no time.

 

  1. Room Tone

Also known as natural sound, room tone is a useful addition to your toolbox of audio assets. Use it to create seamless transitions between scenes, add ambience to your project, and even remove unwanted background noise. If you or your crew forget to capture room tone during the shoot, you have some options. You can use an audio repair tool like iZotope RX Advanced to extract roomtone, or you can try looking for pre-recorded roomtones that might match closely with yours (this might take some adjustment to work).

 

  1. Gain vs. Level

Many editors aren’t aware that gain and level are not the same things, but it’s important to understand the difference when working with audio. For example, have you ever had audio clipping issues even after you brought your levels down? This is due to a gain problem. Gain adjustments take place before adding effects, while the volume is fine-tuned after.

 

  1. Record Settings

As with video, you need to use the proper settings while recording to capture a high-quality audio file. To keep your audio top notch, ensure that you’re recording in 24 bit with a 48 kHz sampling rate. These settings will provide you with nice dynamic range, and also help to avoid sync issues. Make Neil Young proud and use the proper settings.

 

  1. Sound Effects

When using pre-recorded audio files such as sound effects, it’s important to only use high-quality recordings. Be sure to avoid sounds with a high noise floor and ambience tracks in mono. Also, stay away from MP3 files, as this lossy format compresses the audio file to reduce size at the expense of quality. While you may not notice all compression artifacts at first, using mp3 repeatedly will cause your sound to suffer. And at the absolute least, if you hear any hint of ‘watery’ low bit-rate sounding artifacts, stay away!

 

  1. Reusing Sound Effects

Reusing a sound effect clip can save you a lot of time during the editing process. The problem, however, is that the average viewer’s ear can immediately pick up on when a specific sound is being reused. To better camouflage these sounds, make slight changes to the duplicates, such as a subtle shift in the pitch or EQ, or go find yourself additional takes of a similar sound on a SFX search engine like Soundsnap.

 

  1. Reference Level

Use a reference level to streamline the mixing process. You can choose a reference based on your content’s final platform. For instance, if your content is aimed for broadcast, there may be audio tech specs for the deliverables. Once you have a reference, this will guide the rest of the mixing session, and you can simply use your meters to keep everything at the perfect level.  

 

  1. Reverb

Reverb occurs when sound is reflected off of objects and arrives at your ears (or a recording device) at different times. Understanding how to add and customize reverb effects will open up a plethora of creative audio editing options. For instance, use reverb to replicate the sound of a variety of different locations, or use light reverb tails to ease scene transitions. Once you learn what the controls of reverb plugins are for, you will be able to quickly dial in the effect that you need instead of relying on presets. Try watching a tutorial to understand how it works.

 

Did we miss any important tips? Let us know in the comments of our social post!

 

If you’re in need of sound effects for your project, consider trying Soundsnap. You can access 250,000+ professionally recorded sound effects from a search bar to find exactly what you need. You can buy a few at a time, or pay $199 for an entire year of unlimited downloads!