The people who know best are usually those in the field themselves. We asked five podcasters to share their experiences with mics.
Not everyone has access to the pricey suite of sweet products that is Adobe. Amateurs especially can’t sink the thousands of dollars in subscriptions that it takes to use them. But that shouldn’t keep you away from making quality videos, as there are a lot of cheap, low-cost solutions out there. You can use them all to add a quality soundtrack and SFX like you’d find on Create Music to the background.
Here we’re going to run through the main free options and tell you how to add it in your music and sound effects. Below I’ll walk you through using a free Pro program, DaVinci, and a free amateur program, VLC. In the DaVinci section, I’ll also show you how to use audio ducking when you’re setting up your audio.
Exporting your track from Create Music
First thing’s first. You’ve got to export your track. Go to the top of the screen and click on the pink icon, “Check out project.” Then just follow the instructions from there. Your file will be saved as a .wav (unless your just grabbing the preview, in which case it will be saved as an .mp3). The main difference between the preview and the actual check out, besides the file type, is the presence of an audio watermark. But for these purposes, either file will work.
DaVinci Resolve is a powerful application, dishing out the power of much of the Adobe suite combined and serves as Adobe’s main competitor. And it’s free. Yes, there is a paid version with some super-duper effects that you won’t have access to, but it’s not likely that when you’re starting out you’ll need to do those (or know how to). The free level of Resolve is far more powerful than many of Adobe’s stand alone products, as well as other cheap video editing products out there.
Why is it free?
Black Magic is the team behind DaVinci Resolve, and they make most of their money from their line of quality video production hardware. To get the most out of their hardware, they decided to write their own scripts for video production, and release their own editing program.
Don’t make any mistake, the free version is a professional program. But as such, it has drawbacks, as it’s not easy to use or just jump into – if you want cheap and easy, check out something like Filmora. Resolve is free and powerful, but with a steep learning curve. There is a plethora of videos online how to use it though, so don’t be too intimidated.
It’s an easy process to put in a video and audio file though and match up where you want the video. Just follow these four simple steps:
- Open a new file.
- Place your files into your “Media Pool”.
- Drop your video onto the video timeline.
- Drag your audio onto the audio timeline.
The last step you’ll do is the audio ducking (if you didn’t already do it in the Create Music app). Audio ducking is bringing down the volume of the soundtrack so that your dialogue can be heard (more about structuring your video with sound here).
When you’re done, you’ll go to the icon on the bottom right that looks like a rocket ship. Click on that. Then look to the left of the screen and find the “Add to Render Queue” button, then to the right of the screen to “Start Render” and voila.
Audio Ducking with DaVinci
Ducking in Resolve is pretty easy to do, as it uses a piece of magic called a “compressor”. First click over to the Fairlight tab, which is the one with musical notes on the bottom. Highlight the channel with your dialogue. Then go over to the “Dynamics” section on the right. Double click that, and you’ll find where the compressor is.
Turn on the compressor, raise the ratio to about 6:1 and set the threshold to around -15. Then you want to press the “Send” button to make sure this audio is sent to the channel with the music on it (and then that channel will know where to duck).
The last thing to do here is to raise the “make up” section up. This adds some volume, because the compressor likely will take some away.
Close the Dynamics window and open up the Dynamics option over the channel you have your music on. Turn on the compressor and click on “Listen”. Raise up the ratio to something like 10 or 11:1 and have the threshold around -15. If the music is still too loud, then lower the threshold – think of the threshold as the volume of your music under your dialogue. Just keep experimenting from there until your voice is clear.
You might notice how the music pumps in and out. Look at the next row, “Attack”, “Hold”, and “Release”. “Attack” is how quickly the music responds. “Hold” tells DaVinci how long it should hold the volume ducked. “Release” is how long DaVinci waits to bring back up the volume of the music. To get rid of that waviness, you’ll want to lower the attack and raise up the hold and release. A good place to start of the hold is about 1000 (about a second) and about 1500 for the release. Experiment from there.
With sound effects, you generally won’t have to worry about the ducking bit (unless you’re adding some really long ambient effects to add some realism to your show, like coffeeshop sounds or traffic sounds). Put them on their own SFX channel and drop them where they’re needed. Edit the volume from there. Easy as that.
Windows Video Editor
Windows Photos/Videos is the player that Windows automatically uses when you click a video file on a PC. But did you know you can also make videos and add soundtracks to existing videos with a video editor that comes free with Windows? And it’s super easy.
Open the Video Editor app on the Windows Start Menu. Click on “New Video Project”. You’ll need to add a video to the project library. When it’s in the project library, drag it down to the Storyboard. Then you’ll see the “Background Music” and “Custom Audio” buttons light up. Background Music has a short list of free stock music from Microsoft and then Custom Audio allows you to import any music that you’d like.
When you select the track, you’ll see it lit up on the timeline below the video. You can change the length here (it’s important to note that tracks on the Windows video editor, or any video editor, will not automatically adjust, you can only do that on the Create Music App).
You can’t really implement any ducking on the Windows Video Editor though. Instead, it’s best to use our Automation tool on our app. Simply loud your video, find your music, and then draw the line where you need it to duck. Also very quick and easy.