microphone and computer

Editing Audio in Film: Where to Start

Editing audio in film probably isn’t the first thing you thought about when you were inspired to make a short film or feature. But it’s incredibly important.

While viewers may not notice great audio, they will absolutely notice bad audio. In a worst-case-scenario, viewers wouldn’t be able to understand what your characters are saying or doing. But even your sound isn’t that bad, you wouldn’t want your film’s audio to be distracting or inconsistent – it’s the first mark of an amateur film.

To achieve professional sound quality in your film, here are some good places to start teaching yourself to edit audio for filmmaking:

Sound Editing Tutorials

Have you ever watched a movie where the characters spoke softly, but the music was incredibly loud? This is a problem of sound mixing: making all the different sounds in your movie (from music to dialogue to feet crunching on the ground) fit together seamlessly.

But how loud should it all be? And how can you compress the audio?

Adjusting Volume

Check out the below sound editing tutorials about adjusting the volume of different audio clips in the major film editing software programs, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve:

Premiere Pro:

Final Cut Pro X:

DaVinci Resolve:

Noise Reduction

Another common mistake in editing audio in film is noisy audio. If you’ve recorded audio that isn’t totally free of background noise, you’ll need to learn about noise reduction.

Here’s another tutorial to help you clean up noisy audio:

Using Music in Your Film

Adding music to your film will give it that final, professional touch. But you can’t just steal a popular song you like. For professional, high-quality music at an affordable price, check out Artlist.io!

Don’t Ignore the Dialogue

Editing audio means editing dialogue too – it’s not just music and sound effects.

Jay Lippman explains that there are 5 simple steps for amazing-sounding dialogue, regardless of your software program:

Normalize, EQ, Compression, DeEsser and Limiter.

If you don’t know what any of those things are, watch the tutorial below:

Final Tips for Editing Audio in Film

Microphones are everything. Don’t hesitate to invest in a decent microphone! The internal microphone on your camera likely isn’t capable of getting the best professional-sounding audio for your film.

And finally, do everything you can do get good audio on set. Yes, you can fix a lot of things in post, from noise reduction to tough cuts (you can always cut a line of dialogue if it’s too hard to hear, for instance).

But if you get good raw sound from the beginning, you will make everything easier for yourself later. I promise! If it’s too late for you do to this with your current project, think about audio ahead of time on your next film!

Lessons and Tips