Comprehensive Guide to Sound Effects in Adobe Premiere Pro

5 min read

How to add sound effects in Adobe Premiere Pro and organize your projects.

As a film begins to take shape during the editing process, the soundscape and key sound effects have typically already been discussed. Often times, the sound editor is incorporated into the editing process so that the sound and visual can play off each other and enhance a viewer's experience.

As a result, some video editors have begun to implement sound effects into their video editing timeline as they’re cutting the film together, not only to save time, but also to begin building a foundation. These sound effects are then either part of the finished film, or act as a guide for the sound editor in the next step of the post process.

How To Add Sound Effects in Premiere Pro

In this brand new tutorial, film & television editor Joaquin Elizondo (Narcos: Mexico, The Hot Zone: Anthrax, Dark Winds) takes it back to basics with this comprehensive guide to sound effects in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Joaquin shows us how to import and apply sound effects into Premiere, and demonstrates best sound design practices on a clip from the short film Overtime. He also illustrates how to add sound effects into your Adobe Premiere Pro timeline, adjust audio levels, apply processing effects, and much more.

What’s Covered:
  • 0:00 - Intro
  • 2:00 - Analyzing the Script
  • 4:45 - Searching for Sound Effects with SoundQ
  • 5:55 - Adding Sound Effects into Premiere
  • 7:30 - Project Organization
  • 9:20 - Placing Sound Effects into the Premiere Timeline
  • 13:10 - Mixing Levels in Premiere
  • 15:30 - Applying Audio Effects to Sound Effects in Premiere
  • 16:46 - Final Thoughts

Analyzing The Script

The first step when creating the soundscape of a film is analyzing the script to get an idea of what the film will sound like and identifying key elements that will magnify the tone and ambience.

Joaquin suggests looking for keywords as you begin collecting sound effects before moving on to editing. This way you have sounds ready to go and can save time while you're in the video editing process.

As always, it is imperative to communicate with your team, especially the director, to understand what the story is telling and how the audio and visuals will unite to best convey the narrative. 

Searching For Sound Effects In Adobe Premiere Pro

When searching for sound effects, you want to keep some key elements in mind: 

  1. Time of day
  2. Distance

Using a tool such as SoundQ can provide you with great quality sound effects, and save you precious time as you're reaching a deadline. SoundQ's processing effects, such as pitch and time modulation, allows you to manipulate sound effects before you even place them into your Premiere project, generating countless unique sounds. 

If you’re wondering how/where editors get their high-quality audio files for their video projects, we’ve got you covered. We’re offering 100% free sound effects (no credit card required, ever) that can be applied to any and all of your video projects. 

Just download SoundQ here and select the Free Plan.

Here's what you get:

  • Integration: Unlimited in-app cloud access.
  • Search, audition, and drop directly to any project.
  • Organize up to 5,000 local files.
  • Get 5 free downloads from the PSE Cloud Library of over 800,000 sounds.
  • Free forever. No credit card required.

Learn More + Download


Mixing Levels in Adobe Premiere Pro

Another measure you can take to make your audio stand out from other video editors is to take note of your audio levels.

Novice sound editors tend to leave sound effects at the volume they were imported into Premiere, or crank up the volume to a level that overpowers other important elements, such as the dialogue.

---> Pro Tip: Joaquin encourages editors to look into the narrative of the story to mix sound effects appropriately.

Taking a look at the Audio Panel in Premiere, he reminds us to be aware of whether we are using the Audio Track Mixer, or the Audio Clip Mixer.

This is because the former is more appropriate for audio tracks with long tonal effects such as ambiences and backgrounds, while the latter is useful for isolated sound effects such as Foley effects, specific sounds, and distinct sounds, unique to the location of the scene.

Joaquin Elizondo
Joaquin Elizondo
is a film & television editor based in Los
Angeles California & the founder of Hollywood Editing Mentor.

Follow Joaquin: Website | Facebook | InstagramYouTube | IMDb


Footage provided by EditStock