Adding audio transition effects
Audio transitions can dramatically improve a sequence’s soundtrack by removing unwanted audio pops or abrupt edits. Audiences are usually much more aware of inconsistency in the soundtrack than they are of the overall quality of the soundtrack, and crossfade transitions can have a big impact in smoothing variation between clips.
Creating a crossfade
There are three styles of crossfade.
Constant Gain: The Constant Gain crossfade (as its name implies) transitions audio by using a constant audio gain (volume) adjustment between the clips. Although this transition can lead to a slight perceived dip in the audio level for the listener, some editors find it useful. It’s most useful in situations where you do not want much blending between two clips but rather more of a dip out and in between the clips.
Constant Power: This is the default audio transition. It creates a smooth, gradual transition between two audio clips. The Constant Power crossfade works in a similar way to a video dissolve. The outgoing clip fades out slowly at first and then faster toward the end of the clip. For the incoming clip, the opposite occurs—the audio level increases quickly at the start of the incoming clip and more slowly toward the end of the transition. This crossfade is useful in situations where you want to blend the audio between two clips, without a noticeable drop in level in the middle.
Exponential Fade: The Exponential Fade transition creates a fade between clips. It uses a logarithmic curve to fade out and fade up audio. Some editors prefer the Exponential Fade transition when performing a single-sided transition (such as fading in a clip from silence at the start or end of a program).
Applying audio transitions
There are several ways to apply an audio crossfade to a sequence. You can, of course, drag an audio transition effect just as you would a video transition effect, but there are also useful shortcuts to speed up the process.
Audio transitions have a default duration, measured in seconds or frames. You can change the default duration by choosing Premiere Pro > Preferences > Timeline (macOS) or Edit > Preferences > Timeline (Windows).
Let’s take a look at the three methods for applying audio transitions.
Open the sequence called Audio and switch to the Selection tool.
The sequence has several clips with audio.
Play the sequence to review the contents.
Open the Audio Transitions > Crossfade group in the Effects panel.
Drag the Exponential Fade transition to the start of the first audio clip.
Right-click the right edge of the last clip in the sequence and choose Apply Default Transitions.
A default video transition and default audio transition are added to the end of the clip.
You can change the length of any transition by dragging its edge in the Timeline. Drag to extend the audio transition you just created, and then listen to the result.
To polish the project, next you’ll add an opening Cross Dissolve transition effect to the video clip at the beginning of the sequence. Press Esc to deselect the transition effect you just adjusted.
Move the playhead near the beginning of the sequence, and press Command+D (macOS) or Ctrl+D (Windows) to add the default video transition.
You now have a fade from black at the beginning and a fade to black at the end. Now let’s add a series of short audio dissolves to smooth out the sound mix.
Ordinarily, making a marquee selection in the Timeline panel would select clips, but you can override this by holding a modifier key.
With the Selection tool, hold Command+Option (macOS) or Ctrl+Alt (Windows) and marquee all the audio edits between the clips on track Audio 1, being careful not to select any video clips—drag from below the audio clips to avoid accidentally selecting items on the video track.
Pressing Option (macOS) or Alt (Windows) lets you temporarily unlink the audio clips from the video clips to isolate the transitions while making a selection.
Press Shift+D to apply the default transition effect to all selected clips. You exclusively selected audio clips, so Premiere Pro knows to add only audio transition effects.
You could have pressed Shift+Command+D (macOS) or Shift+Ctrl+D (Windows), which is the shortcut to add an audio-only transition. This is useful if you have selected both video and audio clips and want to apply audio transition effects only.
Command+D (macOS) or Ctrl+D (Windows) applies the default video-only transition.
Play the sequence to see and hear the changes you have made.
Choose File > Close to close the current project. Click Yes to save the file if you are prompted.
It’s common for audio editors to add one-frame or two-frame audio transitions to every cut in a sequence to avoid jarring pops when an audio clip begins or ends. If you set the default duration for audio transitions to two frames, you can select multiple clips and then choose Sequence > Apply Audio Transition to quickly smooth your audio mix.