Adobe Premiere Pro CC: Separate Audio Channels

Posted: February 16, 2014

Adobe Premier LogoRecently, 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.

EXTRA CREDIT

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.

Gone.

Comments
11 Comments to “Adobe Premiere Pro CC: Separate Audio Channels”
  1. jan fedorenko says:

    This is essential for news editing – all our pieces are dual channel mono – reporter track and interviews on one channel, bg on another. Now can we set up a sequence preset for this type of audio?
    Thanks so much!
    jan

  2. Tim Kolb says:

    You can also set this behavior in preferences for a new default setting if you don’t want to set this for each individual clip every time.

    This audio track mapping capability has been in Premiere Pro for so long that I can’t actually remember when it was introduced …maybe CS3.

    • Larry says:

      Tim:

      Thanks for the comment and the correction. In the rush to get the article written, I forgot that I was using these track mapping commands in Premiere CS4. Though the Standard track setting is much newer than that.

      Larry

      • Tim Kolb says:

        Yes..the sequence track mapping has been undergoing substantial change over the last 3-4 releases, at times making adapting past version’s projects a bit of a challenge.

        The ability to remap a -clip’s- audio from stereo to mono pairs has been around for some time.

        I always remapped stereo camera audio to dual mono as soon as I could do it in Premiere Pro as I preferred Final Cut’s approach to how the audio was handled (at that time) on the timeline vs duplicating audio and “fill left” or “fill right” to create separate audio tracks from camera clips interpreted as one stereo audio track in older versions of Premiere Pro.

  3. Daniel Ramirez says:

    I encountered this problem after already laying down a large amount of tracks with audio into my timeline. What I’ve been doing to create the two tracks with the separate channels is copying and pasting the track then adjusting the desired audio channels with the audio channels option. It’s a tedious fix, but it’s working out. What are your thoughts on it?

    Danny

  4. Robert Dee says:

    Larry saves the day, again! I needed to edit audio in Premiere Pro CS5 as mono tracks this morning, and yay Larry, he provided the solution clearly. Using the Help function within PP CS5 revealed NOTHING, even choosing the “Online Community” search option.

    Clicking on Premiumbeat.com’s link, I did find an Adobe page with good information. It’s at:
    http://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/using/clips-channels-tracks.html

    But trying the search again within PP CS5 and even using Adobe’s non-intuitive terminology, the search came up empty. Adobe doesn’t seem to be investing much effort in their Help function [which makes me reluctant to invest in a newer version]

  5. Oscar says:

    Your use of the words ‘tracks’ and ‘channels’ are often mixed up and thus make this tutorial very confusing….

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