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how to do 5.1 in premiere pro

catferoze

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So i just got some feedback on my first edit and discovered my 5.1 audio tracks are playing back in stereo. I don't have a surround system to test it myself, but I did my editing in premiere with a 5.1 master and imported all the audio as separate mono wavs for each channel. I thought using a 5.1 master would give me a 5.1 output and the mono tracks could be assigned channels using the panners in the audio track mixer. when i received this feedback, i opened the 5.1 track in audacity and isolated the channels for playback to immediately discover the opening fanfare was playing in all channels when it was only in the center channel in the source. Obviously i did something wrong but I'm not sure what. Related to this, i was also unsure the best format for exporting and ended up doing a 2.0 aac, 5.1 aac, and 5.1 wav (which i converted to ac3). i don't see any advantage of the 5.1 aac except to save space over the higher quality ac3. should i just do the 5.1 wav, is having a stereo option useful (assuming i can figure out all that other channel mixing business), or is this all way off the mark?
 

M4_

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Looks like everything is being mixed down together and you don't have the tracks properly panned/assigned, or your settings when exporting are off. This is a great way to work with 5.1 in premiere IMO when you have 6 mono wav channels. Watch the entire thing all the way through, you'll learn some stuff, and at the start of the video he tests different things so you gotta wait till he actually shows the main method.

You won't really be able to do this without redoing your entire audio mix so just use it moving forward in future projects. For your current project, you can use the "solo" function and highlight all tracks that have relevant audio for the Left front channel, then export them together as a 24 bit mono wav channel, this will mix them all into one left channel file. Then, do the same but for the Right front channel, then for the Center, etc. The reason you'd do this is because if you export them all together it seems like things are getting messed up and mixing outside of their respective channel (as you said, your center is mixing into, left, right, front, back). You'll have 6 mono wav channels and then to arrange them into one 5.1 file you could use audacity, ffmpeg, or any other audio converter, there's probably tutorials online on how to take 6 tracks and combine them into a single 5.1 track. it is possible to find a tutorial to encode back to DTS, but I dont think im allowed to link that video here, because its not licensed. For me, I use that tutuorial vid I linked, edit the movie, export 6 wav's, then encode those 6 wavs to a DTS-HD ma track, then combine that with my video file with MKVToolNix to create my release file: an MKV with h264 video, dts audio, chapters, and subtitles all built in.

Also AAC is actually more advanced than AC3 for the sake of quality/bitrates, it's just that AC3 is more compatible and widespread which is the benefit, but in 2021 I don't think that's an issue. So in other words, AAC isn't "saving space by losing quality," it can be the same quality and bitrate (640kbps) as AC3, but since it's more advanced it takes up less space.

I don't see a point in doing a stereo track either, because nowadays basically everything is capable of playing a 5.1 mix on stereo speakers or headphones, but if you want to be sure, then you can go ahead and create one manually, mix all the lefts together and all the rights together, then put the center in both of them, but definitely adjust with the volumes to make sure the center dialogue is audible.
 

Q2

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AC3 isn't easy in Premiere, so the way I do it is import the M2TS file into Audacity and export each track as a separate mono WAV. I then put those six files in the timeline and edit. Once done I export each audio track separately and import those into Audacity and create the AC3 from that.
 

catferoze

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thanks for the helpful responses Q2 and m4semperfi!
 

catferoze

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Looks like everything is being mixed down together and you don't have the tracks properly panned/assigned, or your settings when exporting are off. This is a great way to work with 5.1 in premiere IMO when you have 6 mono wav channels. Watch the entire thing all the way through, you'll learn some stuff, and at the start of the video he tests different things so you gotta wait till he actually shows the main method.

You won't really be able to do this without redoing your entire audio mix so just use it moving forward in future projects. For your current project, you can use the "solo" function and highlight all tracks that have relevant audio for the Left front channel, then export them together as a 24 bit mono wav channel, this will mix them all into one left channel file. Then, do the same but for the Right front channel, then for the Center, etc. The reason you'd do this is because if you export them all together it seems like things are getting messed up and mixing outside of their respective channel (as you said, your center is mixing into, left, right, front, back). You'll have 6 mono wav channels and then to arrange them into one 5.1 file you could use audacity, ffmpeg, or any other audio converter, there's probably tutorials online on how to take 6 tracks and combine them into a single 5.1 track. it is possible to find a tutorial to encode back to DTS, but I dont think im allowed to link that video here, because its not licensed. For me, I use that tutuorial vid I linked, edit the movie, export 6 wav's, then encode those 6 wavs to a DTS-HD ma track, then combine that with my video file with MKVToolNix to create my release file: an MKV with h264 video, dts audio, chapters, and subtitles all built in.

Also AAC is actually more advanced than AC3 for the sake of quality/bitrates, it's just that AC3 is more compatible and widespread which is the benefit, but in 2021 I don't think that's an issue. So in other words, AAC isn't "saving space by losing quality," it can be the same quality and bitrate (640kbps) as AC3, but since it's more advanced it takes up less space.

I don't see a point in doing a stereo track either, because nowadays basically everything is capable of playing a 5.1 mix on stereo speakers or headphones, but if you want to be sure, then you can go ahead and create one manually, mix all the lefts together and all the rights together, then put the center in both of them, but definitely adjust with the volumes to make sure the center dialogue is audible.
I've been trying to figure this out, but am a little confused on some things. I remember watching that video before starting my edit but of course didn't have a good understanding of premiere at the time. Watching it now, I'm pretty sure I set things up right with the 5.1 master and panning the mono tracks to the appropriate speakers. However, I don't understand the later part of the video where he makes a new sequence with a 6-channel multichannel master and patches it into the 5.1 sequence. He talks about doing that to isolate the lfe, but I can't figure out if that's all necessary to get a proper 5.1 output. I guess I'll give it a try and see what I get. Also, I realize I had completely missed the dials next to the panner in the audio track mixer which may be why my lfe channel was empty in my output files. I turned the lfe dials all the way up on the lfe tracks, but I don't know if I need to do anything with the center percentage dials. At least I'm fairly confident I can export each channel as a separate wav file and combine them in audacity to create 5.1 if I can't figure this other method out.
 
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M4_

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I've been trying to figure this out, but am a little confused on some things. I remember watching that video before starting my edit but of course didn't have a good understanding of premiere at the time. Watching it now, I'm pretty sure I set things up right with the 5.1 master and panning the mono tracks to the appropriate speakers. However, I don't understand the later part of the video where he makes a new sequence with a 6-channel multichannel master and patches it into the 5.1 sequence. He talks about doing that to isolate the lfe, but I can't figure out if that's all necessary to get a proper 5.1 output. I guess I'll give it a try and see what I get. Also, I realize I had completely missed the dials next to the panner in the audio track mixer which may be why my lfe channel was empty in my output files. I turned the lfe dials all the way up on the lfe tracks, but I don't know if I need to do anything with the center percentage dials. At least I'm fairly confident I can export each channel as a separate wav file and combine them in audacity to create 5.1 if I can't figure this other method out.
Yeah you basically just drag the sequence onto a separate sequence that way your audio is combined into one track which makes it easier to edit, rather than having 6 individual audio tracks. Just follow exactly what he does even if you don’t understand it’s ok, it’ll work.
 

catferoze

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Yeah you basically just drag the sequence onto a separate sequence that way your audio is combined into one track which makes it easier to edit, rather than having 6 individual audio tracks. Just follow exactly what he does even if you don’t understand it’s ok, it’ll work.
I still don't know how to export this. Am I just exporting the patched in 6-channel master, the 5.1 master, the 6-channel master? if the 6-channel master is patched into the 5.1 channel sequence then doesn't that get exported to the 5.1 master along with all the mono tracks in that sequence? Do I then need to mute the mono tracks so only the patched in 6-channel master is going out to the 5.1 master?
 

catferoze

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AC3 isn't easy in Premiere, so the way I do it is import the M2TS file into Audacity and export each track as a separate mono WAV. I then put those six files in the timeline and edit. Once done I export each audio track separately and import those into Audacity and create the AC3 from that.
AC3 channel mapping is L, C, R, LS, RS, LFE, yes?
 

Q2

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No.

FL
FR
C
LFE
SL
SR
 

M4_

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I still don't know how to export this. Am I just exporting the patched in 6-channel master, the 5.1 master, the 6-channel master? if the 6-channel master is patched into the 5.1 channel sequence then doesn't that get exported to the 5.1 master along with all the mono tracks in that sequence? Do I then need to mute the mono tracks so only the patched in 6-channel master is going out to the 5.1 master?
So assuming you followed the video, you'll have your main project sequence which has the 1 audio track and then of course your 1 video track.

This is where you do your editing, and then you export right then and there. For all our purposes you can completely close out of that original individual 6 channel sequence, that's just the source for the one main 5.1 channel.

For exporting, you can either export as a 6 channel 24 bit WAV file, or you can check the box to say "Export each channel individually" and then use Audacity or whatever converter to make your final audio track. Again, I won't say where, but you can find a tutorial on a ..popular video website showing how to use a cracked version of the older DTS-HD Encoder Suite if you're interested in that (you can no longer buy it), as you can make DTS HD MA which is lossless and the best quality.

As Q2 said, that is the channel orientation and that's the order it'll export in as well. No muting or solo-ing is necessary for exporting.

My personal workflow:
-Follow tutorial to set up project
-You have 2 sequences: The first one with the 6 individual tracks, and the second main one with the 1 combined track and video track where you edit
-Close out of 6 individual track sequence, it's not needed
-Do your editing
-Export video as normal, uncheck audio
-Export audio separately as 6 channel output 24 bit wavs (it's not technically called 5.1 but it basically is)
-Use external program to convert the 6 channels into a perfect 5.1 track, depends what you want (ac3, dts, etc)
-Use MKVToolNix to combine the video, audio, and subtitles/chapters (if applicable) into one neatly packed MKV file for digital release

Now this can be annoying, if you just want AAC audio directly out of Premiere without a hassle and have the finished movie right away. In that case, your audio needs to be in 5.1 format before being loaded into Premiere, because then obviously when you export you can just check it as '5.1 aac' easily. The problem with this is it can be tricky, as most movie audio needed to be converted to WAV to be read (you cant edit DTS for example), which to my knowledge, when you load a 5.1 wav into Premiere it automatically shows up as 6 mono channels and doesn't load into the neat little '5.1 type' track built into premiere. You can load AC3 audio in though, if you want to take your movies original audio, re-encode to AC3, and then load in. Boom, no more work needed. The problem though is you are re-encoding meaning you're losing a little bit of data (quality), and then you edit, and then encode again after that. There might be ways of getting around this (load in a 5.1 ac3 track, then hit replace footage, and select the 5.1 wav, i've been able to do this once and "force" the 5.1 wav into the 5.1 track, idk if that still works though). Once you get the hang of it, the work flow I said earlier works great though IMO.
 
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