Gone are the days when you had to spend a fortune to create a high-quality 5.1 or 7.1 audio mix for your productions, whether it’s a short or full-length feature film. 10 years ago hiring an expensive professional studio and team of highly experienced sound engineers were the only available option. Today, in the era of online streaming, affordable equipment and constantly evolving digital technology the possibilities are limitless. You can create immersive surround sound content up to 7.1 channels directly in the Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition with no additional plug-ins or further expensive tools. Now you can easily move your project files between the two applications and do the necessary work and all the tweaks to achieve truly professional results at a fraction of the cost.
The latest release of Premiere Pro CC supports natively Dolby Digital Plus audio streams up to 7.1 channels. It gives you the ability to mix your production directly in Premiere Pro utilizing simple key automation and then quickly transfer project files to Adobe Audition for further audio enhancements. Once your surround mix is complete, you can export your finished video directly from Premiere Pro or queue it for background rendering in Adobe Media Encoder.
In Premiere Pro CC open the Track Mixer panel to assign individual tracks to the channels in your surround environment. Dragging the dot around the surround panner results in moving the output signal of the channel to a certain location in the surrounding environment. You can automate the overall mix by using the track panner keyframe envelopes of each audio track.
As a rule of thumb, use the Center channel for your dialogue and narration, Front Left and Front Right channels for stereo music and effects and the rest surround sound channels for ambient sounds and sound effects panned throughout the sound field. Alternatively, you can send the whole audio sequence directly to Adobe Audition by selecting Edit, Edit in Adobe Audition and then Sequence.
In the dialog box, you can choose certain parameters to send to Audition such as volume keyframes, audio effects, and whether to render a reference video or stream it directly using Adobe Dynamic Link. Once your sequence is transferred in Audition, you can continue with the surround sound editing.
Once your sound mix in Adobe Audition is ready you can export the mix back to Premiere by choosing Multitrack, then Export and mix the session down to a 5.1 or 7.1 file. The rendered multitrack audio will appear on Premiere Pro’s timeline.
You can do further adjustments to the surround mix at any time by right-clicking on the given audio and select Edit Original, whereas you will be able to open the file itself in Wave Editor or open the Multitrack Session that created the file.
The final step in the process will be to export the finished project to a format that supports Dolby Digital Plus, either H.264 or MPEG2 Blu-ray. Premiere provides some default options for each format, yet you can customize the different settings such as the bit rate, the channel configuration, or other parameters depending on the platform or media channel you are about to distribute your video in.
Regarding the best balance between audio quality and file size, Dolby recommends a bit rate of 192kbps.