Premiere Pro Tutorial Part 40: Understanding Audio Compression

Adobe Premiere ProBy Andrew Devis (doodleNEWS)

In following tutorials I’m going to be talking about tools in Premiere Pro and Audition that allow us to compress the audio range of a clip or a track. So, what is audio compression and why do we need it?

To best explain this, I have recorded some audio that could represent any audio you may record. In short, people often have a very wide range of audio levels when speaking. It could be, for example, that your audio is of 2 people – the first one quiet and the second one quite loud. Or, a person could suddenly laugh or call-out for some reason, speaking at a different level than they were using before.

Audio Before Compression  in Adobe Audition

Before Compression
Before Compression

The end result is that some parts of the speech are quiet and some parts loud. Now, if you leave it like that, your audience is going to be tempted to turn the volume up during the quiet parts, and then suddenly lunge for the volume control as the loud parts threaten to blow their speakers. Or, they set the volume for the loudest parts, but can’t hear the quiet parts. Both of these are unacceptable.

After Compression and Normalization in Adobe Audition

The answer is to reduce the difference between the quietest part and loudest part of the audio – this is called ‘compression,’ as you are compressing the dynamic range of the audio.

After Compression and Normalizing
After Compression and Normalizing

Then your audience has no need to constantly play with the volume level as they can hear everything. So as you can see, audio compression is important! We’ll plunge deeper into these tools in Premiere Pro and Audition in the next tutorial!

Please check out our growing library of Premiere Pro tutorials.

If you’d like to learn even more about Premiere Pro CC, check out Larry Jordan’s extensive training or sign up for a membership for on-demand video editing courses.

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