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Problem balancing audio (panning?) on 4 audio tracks

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Emily Aspland
Problem balancing audio (panning?) on 4 audio tracks
on Mar 17, 2019 at 4:55:59 am

I'm a mid-level editor and I'm not great with audio so bear with me...and please read until the end...

I'm trying to get the audio in my project to play evenly/balanced in both left and right channels. (N.B. the audio was given to me attached to the camera footage, there were no separate audio files at the Import stage, they just dropped on with the video when I created the timeline).

When dropped on timeline, audio appears on 4 tracks; A1-A4. Each track has obviously been allocated to a different person (there's 4 people speaking). Therefore, each track has a different volume for a different person because they're from each diff person's mic.

HOWEVER IN ADDITION TO THIS:

On each individual track the solo left channel and solo right channel for each track are at different levels (i.e. in my headphones, one side is louder than the other). This is the case if all four are unmuted or I mute three to isolate one to listen to/view the levels for.

I've tried going to Clip>Modify>Audio Channels to adjust the Clip Channel Format but everything is greyed out and defaulted to stereo so I can't change anything. I've tried looking at Audio Filters such as "Fill with left" "Fill with Right" "Balance" "Audio Volume" but (for example) when I drop "Balance" on one of the audio tracks and adjust the slider in Audio Effects NOTHING happens.

HELP! I can't seem to find a solution. I need all 4 tracks to be balanced individually and then ultimately together.


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Trevor Asquerthian
Re: Problem balancing audio (panning?) on 4 audio tracks
on Mar 17, 2019 at 1:23:30 pm

Sounds like your output is unbalanced. How are the headphones fed (via IO, direct out from computer, via amp etc)?



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Emily Aspland
Re: Problem balancing audio (panning?) on 4 audio tracks
on Mar 17, 2019 at 4:24:54 pm

Thank you for responding!

It can't be the output - it doesn't matter whether I play through headphones or from the computer's speakers, the problem is the same.

ALSO, why would the audio level meter (sorry, I don't know what it's properly called, the thing at the bottom right with two columns that go up and down to show how loud your audio is in decibels), why would the two channels (solo left and solo right) differ in that if they were balanced?

If I open ANY other project at the same time and play the audio, those two columns move up and down equally at the same level, and audio plays evenly in my headphones/on speakers etc.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Problem balancing audio (panning?) on 4 audio tracks
on Mar 18, 2019 at 12:33:04 am

This seems confusing. If you have 4 channels of audio on the source (1-4) and they dropped onto 4 tracks of your timeline (A1-A4), then there should be no solo left and right. Each track is mono and should be feeding both the left and right channel of your stereo signal equally. The VU meter and your output volume should look and sound the same when you play the timeline (not the source). If you solo 1 individual track on the timeline, then you should see the left and right VU meters (on a stereo timeline) move in unison and an equal amount. Are you not seeing that?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Emily Aspland
Re: Problem balancing audio (panning?) on 4 audio tracks
on Mar 18, 2019 at 5:22:47 pm

Thank you for responding, Oliver. I know, it IS confusing. I'm only a mid-level editor but I usually solve most problems I have with a few Googles, this has me stumped.

You are precisely right, the left and right VU meters are NOT in unison:

To clarify and be thorough here was my process:
- I started a new project. I was given the footage.
- There were no separate audio files, so the only thing I imported was a video file, which had audio attached.
- When I drop the video file on the timeline, it automatically drops the attached 4 audio tracks that come with the video file onto A1-4, so 4 tracks on my timeline.
- I can obviously mute or lock any of these audio tracks in order to isolate one of them to listen to the content/view the levels in the "VU meter" (?) - i.e. the thing on the right that shows two columns jumping up and down, indicating the volume of the audio, it's what we use to measure if something is peaking (I'm sorry just not sure exactly what it's called).
- On ANY of the 4 tracks, the "solo left" and "solo right" on the VU meter(?) play at different levels, instead of being in unison. (And indeed they DO play, it's not that - for example - solo left stays flat and solo right plays, they BOTH play, at different levels).
- Whether I try to adjust the clip channel format on all four tracks at the same time, OR one isolated track, it doesn't allow me to do so, the clip channel format is greyed out and defaulted to Stereo.
- If I try a filter like "Balance" on one of the tracks, as mentioned above the slider in the effects panel does nothing.

I'm pretty stuck and tearing my hair out at this point so any thoughts appreciated!!


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Oliver Peters
Re: Problem balancing audio (panning?) on 4 audio tracks
on Mar 18, 2019 at 6:10:26 pm

Look at the attached image.



In this timeline A1 through A4 are 4 mono source files. A1 & A2 are disabled as these are the location scratch mix. A3 is isolated Lav 1 and A4 is isolated Lav 2. A5 is the stereo music track, so it contains embedded L&R channels. This is a stereo timeline. When I solo A3 (the yellow S), I only hear A3 from the timeline and I only see its audio on the VU meters. Both L&R sides of the VU (the green columns) move up and down in unison. I see and hear no differences between left and right sides. Check that on your timeline and see if the same thing occurs.

BTW - I presume that you started with a stereo timeline preset and did NOT create your timeline simply based on the source clip.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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