Ducking Audio Automatically in Premiere Pro CC (Really Easy!)

What the DUCK is Ducking?!

Ducking (or Side Chaining) is an audio effect that pretty much everyone uses and I’m sure you’ve heard it at some point whether it was a Manual Duck or an Auto-Duck.

Watch Video Here

Ducking is used to avoid audio clutter by giving each signal its own space to breathe.

Manual Ducking is what a DJ does at a wedding or party for example, when the he/she is making an announcement and lowers the Music to speak.

AutoDucking is the same as Manual Ducking… but it’s Auto. It happens  automatically!  So in short the level of one audio signal, say a Music file, is automatically reduced by another signal, say a Voice file. Auto-Ducking is used a lot in Dance Music and Voice-Over work.

This effect is available in Adobe Audition but I don’t use that. I use Logic Pro that I keeping saying repeatedly, doh.
Premiere Pro needs to have an Auto-Duck plugin but at the time of writing it currently doesn’t. BUT a company called BeatRig does and it’s called SIDEKICK EXTENDED 6 AND it works really well SO let’s discuss that now.

DOWNLOAD THE PLUGIN

First, you need to download and install the BeatRig plugin to use with Premiere Pro. The link to the plugin and installation guide can be found below:
SideKick Extended 6 

THE STEPS

1. Start by having the Voice and Music Audio file added into the timeline.

2. Then add the plugin on BOTH the Voice and Music channel strip. I’ll explain the settings of the plugin as I go along.

3. On the Voice plugin, select the audio channel you have your Voice file on from the dropdown.
In my example, I’ve selected ‘Send on 1’ which basically means this is the main Audio file I want to send to get DUCKED.
On the Music plugin again select the audio channel you have your Voice file on from the dropdown. I selected ‘Receive on 1’ meaning that channel, the Music channel, will RECEIVE the audio from Channel 1, the Voice channel.

4. Playing the files together will sound a little ‘naff’. This is because the DUCKING is fully cranked up.
To decrease this, turn the DUCK outer ring anti-clockwise until the Voice and Music sound right meaning you hear the music louder only in the sections where the Voice is not playing.

5. Adjusting the ATTACK ring will effect how fast or slow the Music will be ducked. Basically, do you want the Ducking to start straight away, or do you want a slight delay.

6. Adjusting the RECOVER ring will effect how fast or slow the Music will return to its full strength again. Recover is just another word for Release time.

7. The outer edge slider is called SATURATION.
According to BeatRig, this slider adds more fatness and volume in the sound.
If I’m working with pre-mixed Music files, I usually don’t add effects to better the sound. They’ve already been mixed by a sound engineer so sound good as they are.

SUMMARY
Auto-Ducking is a really good effect and it saves so much time! The other option is to go in and manually add in keyframes to lower or increase the level of the music. That’s SO time consuming!

 EQUIPMENT / SOFTWARE USED 

  • Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Written by ravkan