Try as you might, sometimes it just isn’t possible to get everyone recorded on the same day, sometimes not even on the same microphone. Now, you’re sitting in your edit suite, trying to figure out how to get the sound of two different mics to match. There are two ways we can match mics: by level and by “sound.” It’s easy to adjust the two clips so the levels match, but how do you match the sound? (By the way, this technique works for any audio clip, not just a mic.)
Soundtrack actually makes this process easy – and it doesn’t involve any filters. Here’s how:
1. Here, I have two different audio tracks recorded on two different mics and placed on two different tracks. Also, notice that the waveforms indicate they are recorded at two different levels. (While I’ve placed these two clips together for this tutorial, there’s no reason these need to be located close to each other.)
2. While it is possible to match both levels and sound, I’ve always found it more reliable to adjust the levels first, manually, then match the sound of the two mics. Which is what I’m doing here – raising the level of the second clip about 4 dB. This adjustment is specific to this example, the levels of every clip will be different.
3. Always be sure to check that no keyframes were automatically placed onto your clips, which can really mess with your levels if you don’t know they are there. Select the track and press “E” or click the small right-pointing arrow next to the track name to reveal the purple envelope bar.
4. Click in the purple volume track to select it, press Command+A to select all the keyframes in this track and press Delete. (Would that deleting all keyframes from FCP 7 were that easy….)
5. With the levels adjusted, click the Lift icon in the top left corner of the Timeline (or, press UU). This is a special sampling tool that can store EQ, volume, or filter information from a clip. The cursor turns into an upward-pointing arrow, called the “Lift cursor.”
6. The Sound Palette appears. Make sure that only the “Lift Equalization Print” option is checked, since we have already adjusted the levels.
7. WITHOUT selecting any clips, click the Lift cursor on the clip with the sound you LIKE.
8. Then, without clicking anywhere else, click the clip with the sound you want to IMPROVE.
9. Instantly, the bad clip sounds like the good clip. Adjust audio levels until the two clips match. If you need to delete the change, go to the Actions tab and delete the Apply Equalization action.
This technique is very simple, yet gets two different mics to match quite closely.