In this article, I’m going to be showing you how to Improve Audio Quality In Davinci Resolve and make your audio sound way more professional, way cleaner, and improve audio quality in Davinci Resolve. Let’s get into it.
I’ve got an excellent but basic tutorial for you guys. Today I’m going to show you how to clean up your audio in the post to make it sound a little more professional.
Introduction on Improve Audio Quality In Davinci Resolve
It’s not as intimidating as it seems. It’s actually straightforward, and you’ll get an excellent, clean, and professional result out of it.
Let’s jump inside Davinci resolve, and we’ll go from there. So obviously, the first thing you’re going to need is some audio clips. I’m just grabbing some random footage from a GoPro video we did a while back.
We’re just going to put that in the timeline and because I know the audio is not fantastic on it. I am going to use this to demonstrate how to improve audio quality in Davinci Resolve.
Of course, you’re going to get a better result if you have a third-party or external mic on top of your camera, like a Rode, or you can even use a lavalier mic. It’s going to give you a way better result in the end. This I’m just doing straight out of the GoPro camera. It does not sound amazing.
So let’s see if we can fix that. In my case, we are not using any external mic for the footage we have in our timeline.
Getting Started With Fairlight
So what we’re actually going to do is we’re going to go into the Fairlight page from the bottom menu.
Now, I do recommend if you’re going to be working on the audio and its quality on your videos, which you should be. I would say do that in the end.
I recommend doing this as the last thing in your workflow that you’re going to do.
Like, if you’re going to color your footage, you edit it first and then go for color correction. So the same thing here, do your edit first, picture lock it, and then come to the Fairlight tab.
Go ahead and have your Vlog or your video or tutorial, whatever it is already cut, completely ready to go, and then start working on the audio.
You can even have the music underneath there on a separate timeline, but I would have everything pretty much roughed in. And then I would jump to the Fairlight tab.
So what I like to do is make sure my loop is on. This is going to get a little more complicated if you have multiple clips on there. But it gives you a rough idea.
I would say if you have music, let’s say on audio track two or three; I would go ahead and mute those. So you’re just focusing on your talking. You’re just focusing on the dialogue that’s coming out.
Then you can move to the audio underneath. So usually, I’ll play that through a couple of times to get a quick idea of what the audio already sounds like. I know at this point, you must have heard it a whole bunch of times, especially if you’ve been editing for a while.
But it’s suitable to kind of shift your focus to just the audio.
Using Fairlight to improve the sound quality
1. By using Normalize Audio Level option
So the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to right-click on the track, and I’m going to click on “normalize audio level.” I would do this if I have multiple audio levels together, like all your talking head scenes, I would highlight and select all of those, and then I would right-click on it and do “normalize audio level” instead of having to do each individual audio part.
Also, this is the reason Which is why I said I would wait to do the audio at the very end so that I don’t end up in confusion about which ones have been normalized and what hasn’t.
It saves a lot of time if you do all this together as one step at the end.
The quality of the audio you recorded is going to depend on how hot your mic was, maybe the levels you were set at during the time of recording.
I know for my mic, talking head-like videos only need to be down to Target Level, -1.0 dBFS in “Normalize Audio Level.”
But for the sake of showing, I am doing Target Level -5.0 dBFS in “Normalize Audio Level.”. We will then click on normalize audio. What that’s going to do is it’s just going to bring all the levels up to be a little more balanced, so we don’t have a super loud spot and then a super quiet place in our audio track.
2. By using Vocal Channel FX
Then from the effects library, I will go to Audio FX, and I will choose “Vocal Channel”: from the list.
I’m going to grab that, and instead of dropping it right on the clip, I’m actually going to grab it and drop it on the audio timeline 1; I recommend that all your audio dialogue is on one timeline.
If you have to put it on two timelines, that’s okay. But make sure you remember that you have audio on two timelines. So you need to kind of mimic the same thing on the second audio timeline.
Then what I like to do is play it through again and start listening for what needs to be fixed.
So in the Vocal Channel pop-up, we will start adjusting our equalizer graph while listening to the audio and fixing it accordingly.
There’s really no exact science to going through and equalizing and setting vocal enhancers; the best way I found that works is by grabbing each one of the three dots present in the equalizer.
I’ll pick one, I’ll take it all the way up or all the way down, and I’m trying to find the most appalling sound coming out of the mic as I can, and then I will start dragging it the opposite way. You don’t want to go too far because then it will start to sound very distorted or it will sound so muffled that you’re underwater unless that’s what you’re going for. But that’s basically all I do.
I go through, and I tweak and go up and down. There’s a whole lot more you can do with sound design, but really I’ve noticed just doing this very quick structure to it. It improves the audio quality and makes it sound way better.
When using the audio straight from the microphone, even when using an expensive piece of an external microphone, It will have no effects on it, it will sound okay, but there’s no punch to it.
But if we turn the effects on that which I just taught you, it will add some more punch and it’s just got some oomph to it that sounds better and cleaner.
Now, if you like everything that’s been done to this audio and the effect that you did to it, great, you can close out of it. You’re done because we put it on Audio Timeline One instead of an individual clip. It’s going to affect everything that’s been done on Audio Timeline One.
The only thing that I would say is if this is a mic for a setup that you use a lot, I highly recommend saving it. What I would do to save it as a preset for future usage is, when in the Vocal Channel pop up, right where it says default at the top, we’re actually going to click the plus button next to it, and then we can name the preset.
Then if you got other projects or audio in the same project that’s on a different timeline or in a different scene, and the same mic is used with approximately the same recording environment.
Then all you got to do is go to your AudioFX menu from the effects library and choose “Vocal Channel,” click the drop-down menu where it says default, and select the audio effect you save, and then you’re done.
I’ve saved multiple presets for my few different mics in different environments. You can have various saved in there, and then you resort back to them when you need them. It doesn’t close out with this project; it saves into DaVinci resolve. So no matter how many projects you’re opening, you’re still going to have those effects in there.
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3. By using the Limiter
We will apply limiting as a last and final step. In the mixer on the right-hand side of the audio timeline, click on the plus icon in front of Effects and go-to dynamics>FairlightFX, and select limiter.
In limiter pop-up, we will grab a few tiny peaks to make sure the audio will translate well when we do the final export.
Turn down the threshold until you see a few peaks happening above the line. Remember to don’t do it too much; it will sound bad.
In my opinion, this is the quickest, easiest way to get an excellent audio punch and improve audio quality in Davinci Resolve and make it sound way more professional.
You can also go ahead and try out other audio effects present in the effects library to improve your audio quality, like “Distortion.” You can add effects from the presets menu to make your audio sound better.