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Audio mix in After Effects

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Jason Fisher-Jones
Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:08:43 pm

Is there a plugin for AE that will nicely and automatically mix separate music and VO tracks? I have a long VO with many gaps between and wondered if there's a quick way to mix it with a music bed.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:11:40 pm

Do you have an editing application? It is much, MUCH easier to add the music using it. Unless you have no other choice, I never recommend using AE to do any kind of editing. That's not what it was made for.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jason Fisher-Jones
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:24:27 pm

Oh yes, I use FCP, and the audio and picture is already cut. I just wondered if there was a quick way to do a final audio mix.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:29:09 pm

No easy way in AE, that's for sure!

In fact, it's so annoying that I almost always use audio in AE as a reference tool only, for animation timing purposes. Then I typically render the completed work with NO audio... and this includes effects shots with lip-sync. I've never had any problems.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:29:31 pm

Not in After Effects.

I mean you CAN edit audio in AE, but I also CAN cut steak with a spoon. It just takes a long time and is frustrating.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Jason Fisher-Jones
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:31:26 pm

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to edit the audio. Just auto-mix the levels so the music track dips slightly when the VO comes in.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:35:55 pm

Right. Understood.

Unless you really enjoy keyframing audio levels on this music, don't do it. FCP's audio keyframes are a lot easier and faster to use, believe me!

I'll bet that if you think about your workflow, you don't even need that audio... so why jump through hoops in AE just to enhance it?

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jason Fisher-Jones
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:39:49 pm

That was my original question - is there a plugin that automatically adjusts the levels on one track based on the levels of another so I don't have to.


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Steve Roberts
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:47:23 pm

Well then. Apply the Stereo Mix effect to one track, and work your magic. Then apply it to the other tracks, but opt-click on the stopwatch for each side of that effect to create an expression, then pickwhip to the effect on the track where you keyframed the levels. This way the Stereo Mix effect on the other tracks will mimic the levels of the same effect on the first track.



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Dave LaRonde
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:59:17 pm

[Jason Fisher-Jones] "...is there a plugin..."

To answer your question directly, NO. There are just workarounds and keyframing.

Why? Because audio is such a losing proposition in After Effects that even if such a plugin existed, only a handful of people -- those misinformed souls who want audio in AE to just as multifaceted as video -- would purchase it.

You seem like a nice person. You seem to think audio must go hand-in-hand with video in AE. It doesn't have to, and 99 times out of 100 it doesn't NEED to. You're far better off using something else that is easier and faster.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jason Fisher-Jones
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:00:49 pm

What would be my best option app-wise then?

(I was really just curious about the AE route, but it took a while to get across what I was trying to say)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:14:19 pm

[Jason Fisher-Jones] "What would be my best option app-wise then? "

You're just adding a music bed and dropping the level down for a VO. It's not like you're analyzing the Kennedy Assassination tapes to determine if an extra gunshot came from The Grassy Knoll.

I'd assume the next stop for your AE work would be FCP, and that you will ultimately output your finished product from FCP. So do it in FCP! It works great for that! I do it all the time! It's fast! It's easy! It's straightforward! It's realtime!


It's a no-brainer!



Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jason Fisher-Jones
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:17:24 pm

My project is very long, and the VO is spread out. I wondered if there's a way to avoid keyframing the music levels up and down by hand.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 10:25:29 pm

Once you have one level drop done to your satisfaction, it literally becomes a process that takes less than 30 seconds for subsequent ones. I think you're imagining ghosts under the bed.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Steve Roberts
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 11, 2010 at 9:32:03 pm

[Michael Szalapski] "I mean you CAN edit audio in AE, but I also CAN cut steak with a spoon. It just takes a long time and is frustrating. "

... and it just annoys the steak.





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Jon Bagge
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:45:00 pm

We're now moving away from AE, but still:

Personally I almost never use rubberband/keyframe audio. I edit in both Avid and FCP, and I usually use add-edit with an audio mix on the cut. So in your case:

1. Set the level for the music as it should be without VO and put it in your timeline.
2. Make an add-edit in the music at the beginning and end of all your VOs. (if you select the audiotrack you can probably fastforward to next cut to find the next start/end of VO)
3. Set a decent level for the music on the first clip under VO.
4. Select all the other music clips under VO.
5. Copy-paste the volume from the first clip.
6. Apply a 12-frame (or something) mix to all the edits in the music track. (you can do this in one go I think, but can't quite remember how in FCP)

Done. That's audio mixing by the numbers. Should be very quick. Though I recommend you listen through it afterwards.... fast isn't always best...





--------------
Jon Bagge
Editor - London, UK
Avid - FCP - After Effects


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Steve Roberts
Re: Audio mix in After Effects
on Mar 12, 2010 at 7:35:55 pm

Thanks for the tip, Jon. It's a new workflow for me, but I'll try it next time.



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