How to Mix the Audio Track for Your Marketing Video

Much like video editing, sound mixing is an invisible art that is integral to video marketing. Though most people notice only badly mixed sound, creating an appropriate sound mix is an important part of making your video work.

Sound mixing is the combination of multiple audio tracks into a coherent, great-sounding acoustic result. Advanced videos can have a dozen or more audio tracks in editing, but the final video needs a clean stereo audio track that expresses all sound elements in exactly the right way.

The mixing process consists of these general steps:

  1. Adjust sound levels.

    Various sounds need to have volume levels relative to one another that enable the viewer to hear clearly. For example, don’t overpower a speaking voice with background music or sound effects.

  2. Fine-tune the dynamics.

    Some sounds are loud and explosive, and others are soft and continuous. A good mix adjusts these differences so that viewers don’t have to continually adjust the speaker volume.

  3. Change the frequency balance.

    You may be familiar with the equalizer on your stereo or MP3 player that lets you boost the bass or other elements of the sound spectrum. Similarly, certain sounds benefit from frequency enhancements. Speaking voices, for example, are easier to understand if the frequencies between 500 Hz and 2 kHz are boosted.

    Many editing programs have presets on the built-in equalizer that help you achieve a specific effect, such as boosting voices.

  4. Apply effects.

    Numerous mixing effects can make an audio track sound richer or more interesting. Reverb adds the sound characteristics of a room, a concert hall, or even a large cathedral. An echo generator (or delay) adds a repeating pattern to a sound effect. A pitch changer makes a sound appear higher- or lower-pitched without changing its speed.

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This typically simple, audio control field lets the editor control the most important aspects of an audio track:

  • Volume: This setting controls the audio track’s volume level.

  • Ducking: This automated filter turns down the volume of a background track during an event in a foreground track. For example, the background music automatically retreats slightly when somebody is speaking.

  • Fade in/fade out: You use this setting to control whether, and how fast, an audio track softly fades in at the beginning and then fades out at the end. Using fades is often a good idea because hard audio cuts can sound rough.

  • Enhance: Enhancing attempts to reduce background noise, such as wind or traffic. These automated filters aren’t perfect, but they can make the difference between a voice track that’s barely usable and one that’s at least intelligible.

  • Equalizer: Control the frequency balance of the track by using an equalizer. Working with the built-in presets, such as Voice Enhance, is a huge time-saver.

  • Normalize Clip Volume: This button automatically enhances or reduces the volume and dynamics of the audio track to fit in with a standard mix. Try this tool first when mixing sound because sound volumes can vary wildly, depending on the source of the sound.

Most video editing programs have only a limited number of audio effects and filters. If you’re trying to achieve a specific effect, try premixing a sound in a sound editing program such as Garage Band or Pro Tools. These programs have a much wider range of options to create and enhance sounds.

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