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Lesson 20 from: How to Edit Video in DaVinci Resolve

Casey Faris

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Lesson Info

20. Audio

Poor audio can kill a great video. In this lesson, you'll learn how to make the audio work with your video.
Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of this lesson is how to edit audio in DaVinci Resolve.


  1. Why is audio an important aspect of video editing?

    Audio is important because it can greatly impact the viewer's experience and perception of the video. Good audio can enhance the overall quality of the video, while poor audio can make it unpleasant to watch.

  2. How can you ensure that the audio is at the right volume?

    You can use audio meters to measure the volume of the audio. Generally, you want the audio to be between -20 and -10 decibels for optimal audibility.

  3. How can you adjust the volume of specific parts of the audio?

    You can isolate the quieter parts by making cuts in the audio track and then use the volume line to boost the volume of those parts.

  4. How can you smooth out the transitions between different volume levels?

    You can add cross-fades between clips to fade the audio in and out, creating a smoother transition between different volume levels.

  5. How can you balance the audio of the dialogue and the background music?

    You can adjust the volume levels of the dialogue and the music to create a balance. You can also use the technique of "dipping" or "ducking" the music, where you lower the volume of the music when the dialogue is playing to ensure it is audible.

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Lesson Info


Next, we're gonna take a look at one of the most important aspects of editing video and that is ironically audio. Imagine this, you go into a movie theater, right? And the projector is maybe not the sharpest, it's maybe just a little bit blurry. Maybe the resolution isn't the very best you've ever seen but the audio sounds amazing, do you stay for the movie? Chances are you probably do. Same situation you go into the movie theater and it looks amazing, it's like pristine 4k, like beautiful the best image you've ever seen and the whole time it sounds like this. (instructor grunting) (instructor chuckling) And it it's clipping, maybe it's not loud enough, maybe it's too loud, do you stay for the movie? Probably not, because audio when it's right, it feels great and when it's not, it's awful. So part of making an edit is making sure that our audio is really nice. So let's take a listen and see what we hear. (gentle music) When I was a boy, my mom would cook every night. It was more than...

food, it was passion. She put her heart and soul into her food. And I just want to pass that on to everyone I meet. All right. So there are a couple main problems with the audio, it's not awful, it's not unlistenable but it could really be better in a lot of ways. The very first thing that we wanna think about when it comes to audio is the volume of things, you wanna make sure that things are audible that you can actually hear it loud enough, especially on some old laptop that doesn't have good speakers. So you wanna make sure that everything is loud enough and you wanna make sure that nothing is too loud, so it has to kind of be just right. So what like to do is start with the dialogue, you wanna make sure that the dialogue is at a good level. So what we're gonna do, is mute our music track just by hitting this little M, right here on the track header. Now we can just hear our VO and let's make a little bit of room here. Zoom in, so we can see these wave forms. I'll even close my media pool. And now we can tell a few things just by looking at these wave forms. First of all, the very top of this track kinda display here is what we would call like the loudest anything could should ever be. So right now, our waveform is pretty small in this space, so we can really kind of do to push it up a little bit. A lot of people look for like the specific number like how much should I always push up my audio? Well, the way that audio is measured is actually in negative decibels. So basically what it means is zero is like too loud and everything else is negative numbers. And so what we want to do is make sure that everything is below zero. And we can kind of tell how loud something is using audio meters. So if we go up to the upper right hand corner of our interface and click on Mixer, that's gonna open up our mixer down here in the lower right. And right here on the very edge of the world, we have these little meters. When we play this back we see these meters kind of bouncing up and down and, of course, they are measured from zero into negative numbers. Generally, what you want is your audio to be somewhere between probably 20 and negative 20 and negative 10, if you want somebody to be able to hear it. Generally under negative 20 is too quiet and over probably negative 6 or so is probably too loud. It kinda depends on what you're doing. If you're just doing a video for YouTube, you generally want things a little bit louder. If you're doing something for like a TV show they really want stuff really quiet. But for what we're doing, if we're just making a video for YouTube, let's say, we want this to be somewhere around negative 10 or so. So let's play this back and see kind of where this lands on the meters. When I was a boy, my mom would cook every night. All right, so that's bouncing around negative 10. The loudest it was is like negative 5. When I was a boy, my... Negative 6, which I would say that's probably a pretty decent level, okay? So what we really wanna do is make sure that all of our audio is around that level. One thing that we can do is select all of our clips and make them the same volume adjustment as this one, which if we select this and go to the inspector we see is 9.69. So I'll select all of these and push up our volume to something like that, 9.69. 9.55 will work just fine and let's see how that goes. When I was a boy, my mom would cook every night. It was more than food, it was a passion. She put her heart and soul into her food. And I just want to pass that on to everyone I meet. All right. So I think overall it's probably pretty good, I think I'm gonna take it down just a little bit just to make sure that we have enough space at the top. Making sure that these little spikes aren't touching the top here. When I was a boy, my mom would cook every night. It was more than food, it was a passion. All right, so generally everything is a lot louder now which is really good, but there are a couple problems. One is, there are some lines that he says that are a little bit quieter and some that are a little bit louder. So we need a way to kind of level everything out so that somebody doesn't have to turn their volume knob up and down all the time. There are a couple different ways to do this, one way that I really like, is just if you have a quieter line, like we can see that this second line here is quieter because the wave form is a lot smaller. We can actually just put a cut there and isolate that and then boost the volume using this little white line here. And we can boost those out to be roughly about the same size. So now if we listen. And I just want to pass that on to everyone I meet. And now that's a little bit more leveled out. One problem that you'll run into is that sometime I think you can hear this transition between the quiet part and the loud part. And so what we can do is kinda blend those together and kinda cross-fade them. A way that you add a cross-fade inside of Resolve either on a video track or an audio track is just select this edit in between these two clips, right click and say, "Add Cross-Fade." And so let's just say 12 frame cross-fade, that's fine. And what that will do is fade from one clip to the other so that you don't kind of hear that transition. Pass that on to everyone I meet. Okay, that's pretty good. The other major way that you can adjust the volume of something over time is by changing this volume line, you can actually add little points to it and move it up and down as time goes on. If we hold down Option and click on this little line, it will add a little dot, and that is a little control point for our volume. So I can push up this dot and we can see the wave form kind of leveling out. And anytime that we want the volume to change we just add another dot. And we can really get detailed with our audio here, and kind of ride our volume on our track so that our audience doesn't have to ride the volume. She put her heart and soul into her food. Okay, so that works really well because now we can actually hear that second line instead of "she put her heart and soul" (mumbles). So this is what I mean by kinda getting detailed with the audio. Now, depending on the type of project you're working on, you might wanna get this detailed, you might not. There are also ways to kind of automate this, you can put a filter on your audio to kind of level stuff out, which is what I do sometimes. But this is generally the idea, you want your audio to be all level and to be all audible at the same volume, so let's just check that real quick. When I was a boy, my mom would cook every night. It was more than food. Let's again hit Option and just boost that into that lineup a little bit. Was more than food, it was a passion. Boost this one up with a touch. (mouse clicking) It was a passion. She put her heart and soul into her food. This one's maybe just a little bit harsh. This is jumping around because I have snapping on, so I'll turn off the snapping just like we did earlier. We'll take that down just a little, 'cause it's a little bit harsh. Heart and soul into her food. And I just want to pass that on to everyone I meet. All right. We have our voice kind of coming in at a good level, now we can add in our music and make sure that our music sounds good with our voice. (gentle music) When I was a boy, my mom would cook every night. It was more than food, it was a passion. All right, so now our voiceover sounds great over our music but now when we start out, our music seems quiet in comparison. So what we can do is kinda this same thing that we've been doing is just, and just push our music up a little bit at the beginning and have it dip down when he actually talks. So let's go ahead and just cut our music here, and also we'll cut it at the end like this. And I'll right click and add a little cross-fade, and we'll boost up our music here. And I think let's do like negative 8 or so on the volume and see how that sounds. On to everyone I meet. (gentle music) So now it's louder at the beginning or it's louder at the end and we'll push this up to negative 8 or so and cross-fade it. (gentle music) When I was a boy, my mom would cook every night. It was more than food. Great, okay. So that sounded pretty good, so we start out with that kind of louder music and then dip it down so that we can hear the dialogue, and then we bring it back up at the end to kind of give this nice little wrap up. And that is really how a lot of audio mixing is done especially with things like this, the music starts loud and then it kind of dives down so that you can hear the dialogue. So that is usually called dipping or ducking the music. Overall, let's give this one more listen to make sure that we like it. (gentle music) When I was a boy, my mom would cook every night. It was more than food, it was a passion. She put her heart and soul into her food. And I just want to pass that on to everyone I meet. (gentle music continues) Good, okay, so this is sounding good. So now that we have things pretty much feeling the way that we want and our audio sounds great, we can put the little finishing touches on in the next lesson.

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Ratings and Reviews


This is a great class! Probably my favorite Creativelive class so far. I've been a fulltime photographer for 13 years now, I guess it's about time I get back into video. I love that Resolve has a free version to learn on. The pace of this class was perfect, can't wait to watch the rest of Casey's DaVinci classes.

Simona Geneva

Thanks to Casey Faris for the interesting study material. I have been looking for a creative life course for DaVinci Resolve for a long time and I am very happy that one has already been created on your platform. I look forward to the other pieces. Thanks again for the shared knowledge!


I've seen many DaVinci tutorials that seem to just make things more confusing but Casey's tutorial really took a simple step-by-step explanation to really show how powerful and yet simple it is to use Davinci. The tools Casey covered in this course gave me the confidence to edit the ton of videos I have collecting dust on my hard drive. Great job Casey and a great sense of dry corny humor...lolol highly recommended!!

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