Adobe Premiere Pro CC: Separate Audio Channels
Recently, I wrote an article discussing the new audio types in Premiere Pro CC (you can read it here). The problem with the new Standard audio type is that it works too well.
If you edit a stereo or mono clip into the track, the track automatically conforms to the number of channels in the clip. But… what if you don’t want it to conform the channels? For example, almost every interview I shoot is recorded “dual-channel mono,” where the host is on channel 1 and the guest is on channel 2 and both channels are supposed to be panned center.
From the point of view of Premiere, this looks like a 2-channel stereo clip which would get placed into one track. But it isn’t. I need separate control over each channel But, how?
NOTE: In this example, I have audio on channel 1, with no audio on channel 2. This type of clip is treated the same as a two-person interview clip where I need separate control over each channel.
MODIFY CHANNELS TO THE RESCUE
Piece of cake. But you need to make these changes before you edit a clip into the Timeline. Once it’s in the Timeline, it’s too late.
In the Project panel, select the clip, or clips, you want to modify. (Yes, you can apply this setting to multiple clips at once!)
Then, choose Clip > Modify > Audio Channels (shortcut Shift+G).
This opens the Modify Clip dialog. Note that both audio channels (Left and Right) are assigned to the same audio track (Track 1).
To convert this stereo clip to a dual-channel mono clip, change the Number of Audio Tracks to match the number of audio channels in the clip. In my case, this is 2.
Next, set the Channel Format to Mono. What this does is tell Premiere that there are two channels of mono audio in the clip, rather than a single stereo pair.
Notice that the track assignments at the bottom have now altered from indicating a stereo pair to assigning each channel to its own track in the Timeline.
When you click OK, Premiere warns you that this setting will not affect any clips already edited into the Timeline. Click Yes.
Now, when you edit the clip into the Timeline, even though it may appear as a stereo clip, Premiere is smart enough to assign each channel to its own track so you can edit and adjust each speaker independently. Here, the Left channel is assigned to A1 and the Right channel (which is silent) is assigned to A2.
While, normally, an interview would have audio on both A1 and A1, in the case of this example, I have audio only on one channel and silence on the other. I would like to get rid of that second channel to avoid cluttering up the Timeline. (In point of fact, having a silent channel isn’t hurting anything, but it does take up space.) Because both channels are linked, clicking either audio channel in the clip selects both tracks of that clip in the Timeline.
To solve this, Option-click the channel you want to delete. This selects just the one channel, then press the Delete key.