VS 9: Understanding and Using Audio Filters

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VS 9: Understanding and Using Audio Filters

Post by sjj1805 » Thu Nov 02, 2006 5:12 pm

Author: Ronald Guthrie

Understanding and Using Audio Filters

Ulead VideoStudio 9 includes some powerful audio filters that every user should get familiar with. These filters allow you to adjust your audio, improving the overall sound quality of your audio track. These filters ideally should be used before adjusting the audio levels for your tracks by using volume rubber banding and clip volume.

To access these filters and apply them to your clip audio youl first need to separate the audio from the video. To do that select Split Audio from the Options Panel in either Storyboard View or Timeline View in while in the Edit Step Panel. Or you can right-click on your clip in either Storyboard View or Timeline View while in any of the panels. Select Split Audio. You will now notice that you have data on your Voice Track as shown below:

Image

NOTE: If you also have an Overlay Track and wish to apply audio filters to its audio as well, move the Voice Track audio from your Video Track clip to the Music Track and simply repeat the process already explained. Keep in mind however, that if you use both tracks to apply audio filters, you will not be able to use these portions for voiceover or music now.

Now you should notice that Audio Filter is now enabled. Click on it now and you will see the following pop-up menu:

Image

As you can see there are 7 filters already included with VideoStudio 9. Additionally, VideoStudio 9 supports an industry-standard known as VST (Virtual Studio Technology) which allows you to use third-party plug-ins. But more about that later.

Of particular interest for improving our audio are the Amplify, Normalize, Remove Noise, and Volume Leveling filters. Before using these filters, let me first learn what they mean and do.

Amplify. The Amplify filter, well, amplifies the overall volume of your audio clip. However its name is a bit misleading, as it can attenuate, or decrease, the overall volume of your audio clip also. If you click on Amplify and click on Options, you will notice three things. One, you can adjust what is called the Ratio, from 1% to 2000%. Two, you will notice that the default ratio is 100%; this is the volume of the audio track without any amplification or attenuation. And three, you can preview the effect by clicking on the play button.

Normalize. The Normalize filter is a very powerful and useful filter. First, it analyzes your audio for the peak, or greatest volume. It then adjusts the overall volume so that it is maximized so that the peak volume doesn't distort, or red-line. The power in this filter is that it amplifies your audio cleanly and does all of the work for you! I highly recommend that you always use this filter, even if you use other filters.

IMPORTANT NOTE: VideoStudio also offers a Normalize audio option when youe ready to burn a disk, found in Share->Create Disk as seen below. It is important to note that the Normalize filter and the Normalize audio option perform two very different functions. As we already learned, the Normalize filter adjusts the peak volume of an audio clip. However, the Normalize audio option adjusts the average volume of your entire project so that all the clips will sound like they have about the same volume. This means that you shouldn't have to adjust the volume of your DVD player during playback because of disproportionate sound levels among your clips.

Image

Remove Noise. The Remove Noise filter is pretty self-explanatory, it removes noise. This is especially useful for removing noise from the quiet parts of your audio. This is yet another powerful tool that used effectively can help improve your audio quality. Its option is called Threshold and can be adjusted from 1% to 100%. A 1% Threshold will remove a small amount of noise, whereas a 100% will remove much more. However, the closer you move to 100% the more you will also start removing the important parts of your audio track. So the rule of thumb here is: less is more!

Volume Leveling. The Volume Leveling filter is another very potent filter that Ulead has included in our audio filter arsenal. This filter analyzes your audio and can help equalize the level of sound in your audio track by increasing the sound level of the softer parts. Its option is Adjust (0-12db). As you increase the db, more of the dynamic range will be effected. In other words not just the soft parts, but the middle, and eventually the loud parts (though slightly) will be increased as well.

NOTE: Be warned, this is a very complicated process, so it may take a while to process. Be patient while this filter does its magic!

HOW TO USE AN AUDIO FILTER

Now that we have learned what these filters do, lets put our knowledge to some work! If you haven't done so already, you will first need to add a video file to the timeline. Let's begin!

Step 1. Select Split Audio from the Options Panel in either Storyboard View or Timeline View in while in the Edit Step Panel. Or you can right-click on your clip in either Storyboard View or Timeline View while in any of the panels and select Split Audio as shown below.


Image


Step 2. Select Audio Filter in the Options Panel.

Step 3. Select the Normalize filter and click Add.

NOTE: It's always a good idea to normalize your audio track as it optimally maximizes your audio volume. This will also make other filters, such as Remove Noise and Volume Leveling, more effective.

Step 4a. If you want select another filter, such as Volume Leveling, and select Add.

Step 4b. Select Options and make any adjustments. Remember that small adjustments will typically produce better results than large ones.

Step 4c. Press the play button and preview the effect.

Repeat Steps 4a-c as necessary to add more filters.

Step 5. Select OK.

That's it! just add that it's a very good idea to listen to your entire audio track once youe added some filters just to be sure that you didn't overdo a filter. This is especially important when working with any of the filters other than Normalize.


USING VST


If you recall, earlier I said that VideoStudio 9 supports an industry-standard known as VST plug-ins. This is a very powerful feature that allows you to add rack-mount type effects to your audio filter library. There are many third-party VST effects available, both commercial and freeware, that you can use to increase your filtering options. One good example is an equalizer which you could use to adjust the different frequency levels of your audio track. Using your favorite search engine, perform a search for Equalizer VST free. I'm sure you will find one. When you do, using a VST plug-in is simple. Just copy it into the following directory:

C:\\Program Files\\Ulead Systems\\Ulead VideoStudio 9.0\\aft_plug\\VST\\

That's all. I hope you enjoyed learning about some of the audio filters Ulead has included in VideoStudio 9 and hopefully you will start using them in your projects.

Enjoy, and be creative!
Ronald Guthrie
anjole64 wrote:Ron,

thanks for your great tutorial. But I hope you can answer me a few questions:

1. How can I use the audiofilters for a whole DVD-Project -
maybe I have 20 clips with a different volume level ?
Do I have to normalize clip after clip by splitting audio from
video or is there a way to normalize all my clips in one step?

2. After splitting the Audio Track from the Video Track - how can I
remove the normalized Audio Track back to the Video Track?

Please excuse my bad english - hope you can help me?

Regard Joachim
Joachim,

First I've been gone a few days so that's why I haven't responded. In regards to your first question, it sounds like you may want to use the Normalize feature that's available during the Share->Create Disk as shown in my IMPORTANT NOTE explanation of the Normalize filter.

As far as your second question goes, you say you want to remove the normalized Audio Track back to the Video Track. I'm going to assume that you want to normalize the audio track and somehow move it back to the Video track. You can't do that. However, you can normalize the audio track then move it to the Voice track. Another option would be to create a video. Yet another power option that I discovered and use is to save the project, start a new project then go to File->Insert Media File to Timeline-Insert Video, then choose the project file you just saved! This is a very cool power tip that can be used to essentially give you a third video track.

Hope this helps,
Ron

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