Independantly Adjust Volume Levels Of Audio Events

BobWard wrote on 9/19/2010, 6:06 PM
Still working on my first VMS 10 HD Suite movie project.

I have added voice-overs to old 8 mm movie events as well as music sound tracks. The movies have been divided into several events on a single video time line.

I have also done voice-overs for all the video events on a single audio (voice) track. As I play this project, I notice that my voice-overs are not consistently at the same volume level, probably the result of me sitting a different distance from the mic, and/or, just speaking in higher or lower tones from one event to the next.

My goal is to get all the audio voice-over files adjusted to the same volume level. I see that I can open each voice-over event in Sound Forge Audio Studio and use the Volume tool (under the Process tab) to increase or decrease the volume level of that audio event. Whatever volume adjustment is made in Sound Forge is saved to the voice-over file in VMS. So I can individually adjust the volume levels of each audio event in VMS even though they are on the same audio track.

Not knowing much about audio editing, is there a tool in Sound Forge that I could use to set the volume level to an identical value for each audio event?

In other words, I bring each audio event into Sound Forge and apply some preset adjustment that will change each sound file to the same volume level.



BobWard wrote on 9/19/2010, 6:52 PM
Maybe the Normalize tool in Sound Forge is what I need to use.

Does this sound like the right way to go to get all the VMS voice-over sound files adjusted to the same volume levels?

Chienworks wrote on 9/19/2010, 7:38 PM
Normalize doesn't help if some of the clips have the occasional loud peak and others don't. Normalize keys off the loudest peak in the clip. A better choice would be some degree of compression, set to eliminate the loud peaks without affecting the normal level of the voiceover. The auto gain compensate in the compressor will then normalize the result, giving you a much more consistent result.

Vegas has several compressor tools built in. Open up the audio effects chain and add the compression there. If your version has "Wave Hammer" you can try it. It's quite a bit more 'automatic' than compressors and is intended precisely for evening out volume levels.

Vegas also has normalization. Right-mouse-button click on an audio clip and choose switches / normalize from the popup menu.

If you want a point-by-point volume control, insert a volume envelope on the audio track. This draws a thin blue line through the middle of the track. Double-click on the line to add nodes and then drag the nodes up or down to increase or decrease the volume. Add as many nodes as you wish for fine control.
BobWard wrote on 9/19/2010, 7:56 PM
Thanks Chienworks,

The Audio FX tools in VMS 10 can apparently only be applied at the Track level. I need something to apply at the audio event level. It appears that Sound Forge Studio allows me to independantly edit audio events on the same track.

I don't have Wave Hammer in VMS10. Is there someway to use the Volume tool that I mentioned to set a standard dB level to each audio file? Would this standardize the volume in each file?

BTW, if you get a chance, take a look at my previous thread on Rendering that you responded to. I had 2 questions about your suggestions.


TOG62 wrote on 9/20/2010, 12:19 AM
Your original post suggested you were trying to iron out level differences between events. In that case applying compression to the whole track would make sense. If you want to deal with each even separately you could use Apply-non-real-time FX (right click on selected event).
Also, if you apply an envelope you can still adjust each event to a different level.
LeonArtO3D wrote on 9/20/2010, 1:15 PM
I'm completely new here, but how do you apply an envelope?
Tollkuhnator wrote on 9/20/2010, 1:36 PM
If you want to adjust the level of the entire audio event, place the cursor near the top of the event. It should change to a pointing finger icon. Click and move the level line down to decrease the level. If you need to make the audio louder you can try turning on the normalize switch and then adjusting the level down. Right-click on the audio event, select Switches, and check on Normalize.

If you want to vary the audio level within an event you need to add an envelope. Get started with this by searching the online help (press F1 then the Search tab) for "envelopes."
Chienworks wrote on 9/20/2010, 4:58 PM
Inserting an audio volume envelope is very easy. Click anywhere in the track and press the V key.
BobWard wrote on 9/20/2010, 8:09 PM
I think I have this pretty well worked out. My first step was to select all the audio events on the voice-over Track and then turne on the Normalize switch in VMS 10. This single step got all the audio levels pretty close for all the audio events.

There were one or two events that were still just a little bit louder than the others, so I just opened those up in Sound Forge Studio and did a minor adjustment with the Volume tool and all the audio events now sound very similar in volume level.

BTW, I do use volume sound envelopes to drop the music track volume a little when the voice-over sound begins.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions. Great forum here!

Chienworks wrote on 9/21/2010, 3:52 AM
"There were one or two events that were still just a little bit louder than the others, so I just opened those up in Sound Forge Studio and did a minor adjustment with the Volume tool and all the audio events now sound very similar in volume level."

Got something way simpler for you ... in Vegas hover the mouse button near the top edge of an audio event. The mouse pointer changes to a hand with one "grabby finger" sticking up. Drag down. A thin horizontal line appears in that event at the top edge. The farther you drag it down the lower the volume gets. It takes a fraction of a second to adjust it and there's no need to use Sound Forge.
BobWard wrote on 9/21/2010, 11:41 AM

Yes, I have played around with that technique on my music sound tracks, didn't think to also try it on the voice-over track.

BTW, the line you grab at the top of the sound track is a gain adjustment. There is also a volume adjustment line that resides midway between the left and right channels; I have been using that one to make my envelope volume changes. This almost sounds like duplication since gain and volume adjustments seem to accomplish the same result in terms of the loudness of what we hear.

Thanks for the tip.