How to normalize audio?

I tried out Hitfilm 3 Express for the first time yesterday.

My video had really REALLY QUIET audio. So I tried to do what I always did in such cases in other editing softwares (Premiere, Final Cut Pro X, iMovie) : normalize the audio.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find the "normalize audio" function anywhere in Hitfilm 3 Express. Consequently, I wasn't able to make the audio loud enough. I eventually had to rely on iMovie to normalize audio.

However, I don't want to choose to rely on iMovie every time I run into quiet audio problems. Is there an option to amplify and/or normalize audio within Hitfilm (3 Express or 4 Pro)?

Comments

  • Not in Hitfilm 3 Express. Hitfilm 4 Pro adds a lot of audio tools. 

  • edited December 2015

    >>Triem23

    So does Hitfilm 4 Pro have "normalize audio" or anything that can be used as its equivalent?

  • Not near a pc now. Have to get back to you. 

  • edited December 2015

    Hi,

    here's a screenshot of the new effects...so, a Normalizer isn't part of the current HF release yet.

    Regards,
    Marc

  • No Normalize, but Channel Levels to boost things. Note, however, no Compression yet. 

    Audio is still Hitfilm's weakest area. That said, all those audio effects are brand new to 4 Pro. Hitfilm 3 Pro/Express had, well... Nothing. I would expect a few new audio tools eventually. 

    Now, here's the real question. What kinds of things are you shooting, and how are you recording your audio? Let's see if we can figure out advice to get you better audio on your footage, not in post. 

  • edited December 2015

    @HTRHayden - HF4P......With noise reduction and EQ you can probably clean up a lot of hiss & boost the bass, make adjustments with channel levels and then boost the volume on the audio track if needed. There are also presets in the EQ but if one comes close you can customize the settings and save it as a preset. Then just drag and drop the preset into any project and done.

    But @Triem23 does make a good point about starting at the front end of production.

  • Needs Audio Compression at the very least. 

    Give me proper gain, compression and EQ I can fix almost anything. @StormyKnight I'm sure you understand that! 

  • @Triem23 - Been down that road sooooooo many times. Audio, much more than video, has been my thing for many. many moons. Compression would indeed be a powerful asset.

  • My favorite cheap low cost mixers

    Yamaha MG Series

    The MG12 can routinely be found on sale somewhere for 200 or less in fact they're sold out right now but they have the MG124XC on clearance for 150. It's one knob compression but it works surprisingly well and the preamps are very clean. Pretty modest investment for getting better quality audio to start with.

  • edited December 2015

    @Triem23
    I'm mostly run & gunning on my DSLR. Most of the times, I set the audio gain just right for the situation. But since DSLR audio sucks, I try my best to avoid increasing the in-camera audio gain.

    The "normalize" function is needed in rare cases, when I am really REALLY on the go and have to run from place to place a lot in short intervals. In these cases, I occasionally forget to change the audio gain, and that makes the audio super quiet. It's also most likely that by the time I'm editing, I'm in no situation to return to the place of recording and re-shoot.

  • edited December 2015

    If anyone is still reading this, I would like to see some sort of decent limiter for audio.. for me, I mostly do audio seperate to the video aspects, and I already have some very good limiters and compressors, but for many people, they need to work with the audio from within hitfilm. Compressors are OK, and will do the job, but a good limiter is typically better, will achieve what you need via normalisation, but is much better. A good limiter can be set to a ceiling maximum, and especially working with aac or mp3 audio formats, you will need to set your audio output ceiling to at least -0.8 Db full scale. Also, a good limiter will avoid inter-sample overloads.

  • Aladdin4d - Cheap doesn't ALWAYS mean cheap. Sometimes you find something awesome from the "cheap" companies. Although not as cheap as the Tascam 4 track cassette recorder I had back in the day or the Sony 4 Track Mini-disc recorder (which was junk for professional grade and $1500), I eventually latched on to one of these for music production. Roland 880 I see it's been discontinued now but it's still going strong. It's got compression, limiting, delays, reverbs- just about every effect you can think of including a vocoder (which is really, really, really, really, really fun to play with.

    jsljustin - Good point! I'd settle for both though.

    HTRHayden - If your DSLR has an input for an external mic you might want to consider that direction. You can get a reasonably priced condensing microphone and attach it to the camera with one of these:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/DSLR-DV-Camera-Light-Microphone-Electric-Torch-Holder-Mic-Stand-For-Hot-Shoe-/281644432174?hash=item419350fb2e:g:0OgAAOSwpDdVFlOc

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/A-S0-Universal-Camera-Shock-Mount-Suspension-Mount-Holder-for-Microphone-Mic-/281354680947?hash=item41820bba73:g:XPsAAOxyiklTkX~M

    The second one would be best so you don't pick up any noise from handling the camera. A small investment too.

  • edited December 2015

    I agree that there should definitely be a Normalize option in HitFilm. In the meantime, here is a workaround that works for me...

    1. Install Audacity (it's free audio editing/processing software)
    2. Install the FFmpeg pack for Audacity. The FFmpeg pack allows Audacity to open the mono or stereo audio track from a video file. From the File menu in Audacity, you can open any video file format supported by FFmpeg such as .avi, .mov, mp4 etc. Note however that Audacity only opens the audio part of the file, not the actual video content.

    See the following web page for info about Audacity and the FFmmeg pack:
    http://www.guidingtech.com/12836/extract-audio-from-video-audacity/

    3. Once your audio clip is open in Audacity, from the menu system choose:

    Effect > Normalize. Press the OK button and your audio will be normalized.

    4. Now you need to export the normalized audio as an audio file.

    From the menu: File  > Export Audio  (name the file for export anything you want).
    Save as type: WAV (the format doesn't need to be WAV, but being uncompressed it's probably the best choice).

    Then in HitFilm...

    Put your UNTRIMMED video clip on the Editor timeline. The original audio will occupy the audio track on the timeline under the video track. Your goal is to replace this original audio with the normalized version.

    Here's how to do it:

    1. From the Media panel choose 'Import' then find the normalized WAV file you exported from Audacity and bring it into HitFilm. The WAV file will now be an asset in the Media panel.

    2. On the Editor timeline, right click on the original audio track and select 'Unlink'. Then click anywhere on the timeline to deselect the video and audio events. Then click on the audio event and delete it.

    3. Drag the normalized version of the audio onto the timeline. Place it under the video event to which it belongs (it should snap into place, being exactly the same length as the video event.  

    4. Click on the video event to select it, press the CTRL key (Command key on the Mac) then click on the audio event underneath it. Both the audio event and the video event should now be selected.

    5. Right click on either the video or audio events and select 'Link'. The video and normalized audio are now locked together.

    You can now continue to edit as normal.

    Written down like this, it seems like it might be a long process, but it actually takes less than a minute once you have Audacity and the FFmpeg pack installed.

    I hope this helps. Of course, this technique is not limited to doing normalization; you can apply any type of processing that Audacity is capable of.

  • @StormyKnight don't get me wrong I'm not knocking anything here I really do like those Yamaha mixers and use them all the time. The thing is I really really really like an Allen & Heath GL2400 with a dbx 1066 compressor. One is 200 US the other 2000 US and while I do like the 2000 dollar set up more, I don't like it 10 times more.

    A buddy of mine used to have one of those Roland 880's but now he's hooked on the Zoom R16

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