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The first cut when editing a long video, stream, or podcast can be incredibly tedious. One of the most time-consuming steps is removing dead air between takes in a video or interesting moments in a streaming VOD.
Today we’re going to introduce a method that uses Adobe Creative Suite to easily and automatically crop that dead air, saving tons of time in editing. We use Adobe Premiere Pro, Audition and Media Encoder – all are necessary.
Step 1: Mark up your audio in Adobe Audition
You can learn the basics of Adobe Audition to make sure you understand the terms marker And waveform before immersion.
First, open Adobe Audition and drag and drop your video file. You should see an audio waveform on the timeline. Next, open the diagnosis Window. Choose mark sound effect and click find levels. Audition scans your audio to define silence and audio.
You may have to manually adjust these definitions with some trial and error, as Audition’s defined layers may be too sensitive and not remove as much silence as you hope. The definitions of silence and audio should show a difference of about 7 dB.
We used a setting of -59dB for 300ms of silence and -52dB for 200ms of tone with a Shure SM7B at 50dB of gain and minimal background noise, but ideal settings vary from mic to mic.
Once you have defined silence and sound, click scan. Then click on Select all Create markers to indicate boundaries between sound and silence.
Next go to markings window and press Ctrl + A (Command + A on Mac) to select them all. Right-click anywhere in the Markers window and select Change marker typeand click subclip.
With all markers set to Subclip, just save the file. This file is only meaningful for its markers – the audio here will not be used in the final product – so export it as a lossy format like mp3 to save disk space. To ensure Add tags and other metadata is also checked before clicking OK.
Step 2 Create a tagged video file in Media Encoder
Adobe Media Encoder is a powerful but somewhat complicated video encoding tool, and you might want to explore some of its features first.
Now that you have a marked audio file, we need to convert it into a dummy video file with the marks intact. Open Adobe Media Encoder and drag your selected MP3 file to the queue.
Export settings don’t matter as the video and audio won’t be used in the final product but is one of the fastest export presets on Mac without gargantuan file sizes Quick time → Apple ProRes 422 proxy. The exported file should be a black screen with sound.
Once the dummy video file has been exported, open Adobe Premiere Pro.
Step 3: Import subclips into Premiere Pro
Before doing anything with your dummy video file containing your markers, create a project in Adobe Premiere Pro and import your original high quality video file. To be safe, drag it onto the timeline to create a sequence with the correct video settings, then delete it from the timeline while leaving this sequence intact in your project folder.
Next create a bin in your project as you will need to import a lot of short clips and a dedicated bin will prevent these potentially hundreds of clips from cluttering up your project as you work. Open this recycle bin, right-click anywhere in it, and then select import file and import your dummy video file.
You’ll see the file itself and many short subclips created from the markers. Select all the clips in the bin – they should all have black thumbnails as the file does not contain real video, then right click and select them make offline.
Keeping all the clips selected, right-click again and then select Link Mediachoose Locateand in the following window select your original video as the media to link.
This replaces the dummy video in Premiere Pro with your original high-quality video file while preserving all subclips without the silence that you would otherwise have to laboriously trim. Before using these clips, make sure the bin that contains them is sorted by name to ensure your clips end up in the correct order.
Select all the now high quality clips from the bin except the full length file and drag them into your video timeline.
From here, apart from some fixes to this automation, you can continue editing normally. As you can see below, this method can remove a significant amount of unnecessary silence from your footage.
Limitations, workarounds, and when it’s most useful
This process only takes a few minutes once you can quickly complete each step, but it has some limitations. Some of these can be mitigated by tweaking your settings, while others require workarounds or extra care when editing.
First, if your silence and audio definitions are inappropriate, you can trim things you don’t intend, like soft consonants or pauses for dramatic effect. However, you can edit them back by expanding affected clips in your Premiere Pro timeline.
Just use the Ripple editing Tool to trim or extend clips. Because these clips are linked to your original full-length video file, they can be expanded as you like. Consider learning more Adobe Premiere Pro keyboard shortcuts for faster editing.
Similarly, this process also picks up some unintended noises, like clicks, loud breaths, and background noises like traffic – these can also be cut out with the Ripple editing tool.
Next, this method only works for video files with an audio track, at least if you follow the precise steps. If you have multiple audio tracks, e.g. For example, if you’re recording in OBS or podcasting tools, you’ll need to convert those files to a single-track version. With a bit of creativity you might be able to find other workarounds, but we currently recommend only using this with single track audio files to avoid glitches.
It’s also most useful with long videos with relatively controlled and consistent audio, e.g. B. with low background noise and constant volume on the microphone. You can probably use this method when vlogging outdoors, but results may vary if the noise is inconsistent. This method is most useful for indoor video in a controlled environment, such as a B. Talking Head videos and podcasts.
Get ready to save time editing
Despite the limitations, using the method of tagging audio in Audition, creating a dummy video in Media Encoder, and then replacing the dummy video clips in Premiere Pro can save a ton of time. The longer the file, the more time saved considering it only takes a few minutes. What will you do with the time saved?
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