Achieving crisp audio is just as important as producing high-quality visuals. Poor audio quality can ruin an otherwise impeccable video project. Whether you’re editing a YouTube video, a short film, a vlog, or any other type of video content, learning how to clean up audio is a crucial skill.
In this article, we will explore various techniques and tools to help you clean up audio during the video editing process.
Understanding the importance of clean audio
Before diving into the techniques, it’s essential to understand why clean audio is so vital for your video projects:
a. Improved clarity
Clear audio enhances the viewer’s experience by ensuring that the dialogue, narration, and sound effects are easily understood.
High-quality audio adds a professional touch to your video, making it more engaging and credible.
c. Emotional impact
Clean audio can evoke the intended emotions in your audience, enhancing the storytelling aspect of your video.
d. Higher retention
Background noise or audio artifacts can be distracting. Clean audio keeps the viewer focused on the content and increases retention rate.
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Now, let’s explore things you need to keep in mind while recording.
1. Start with quality recordings
The foundation of clean audio starts with capturing high-quality audio during the recording process:
- Use a good-quality microphone to minimize noise and capture clear sound. For example the Rode NTG3 or Sennheiser G3.
- Choose a quiet environment for recording to reduce background noise.
- Position the microphone correctly, ensuring it’s close to the sound for better signal-to-noise ratio.
2. Use the right video editing software
Selecting the appropriate video editing software is crucial for effective audio cleaning. Popular choices include Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve, and more.
These platforms offer various audio editing tools and filters.
3. Visualize the audio
Once you have imported your video and audio into your editing software, visualize the audio waveform. This will help you identify spikes and unwanted noise easily.
4. Noise Reduction Tools
a. Noise reduction filters
Many video editing software include noise reduction filters or effects. These filters automatically identify and reduce background noise. Adjust the settings to match the specific noise profile of your audio.
b. Manual noise removal
In cases where automated filters can’t remove noise entirely, you may need to perform manual noise removal by selecting the noisy section and reducing the volume or applying filters.
5. Equalization (EQ)
Use EQ to adjust the frequency balance in your audio. Reduce or boost specific frequencies to mitigate unwanted background noise or emphasize the voice. Common areas to focus on include the low-end rumble and high-end hiss.
De-essers are essential for reducing harsh “s” and “sh” sounds, which can be distracting in audio. They work by compressing or attenuating sibilant frequencies.
7. Compression and limiting
Apply audio compression and limiting to control volume fluctuations and prevent distortion. This helps ensure a consistent audio level throughout your video.
8. Audio envelopes
Use audio envelopes to manually adjust the volume levels at different points in your video. This can help fine-tune audio transitions and remove sudden spikes.
How to clean up audio with Adobe Premiere Pro
Step 1: Import your video
i. Launch Adobe Premiere Pro.
ii. Create a new project or open an existing one.
iii. Import the video clip with the background noise you want to remove by going to “File” > “Import.”
Step 2: Separate the audio
In the Project panel, right-click on the video clip and select “Unlink” to import the audio portion of your video separately.
Step 3: Apply noise reduction
i. Drag the audio clip to the timeline.
ii. Select the audio clip in the timeline.
iii. Go to the “Audio” workspace for better audio editing controls.
iv. Find the “Effects Control” panel, and under the “Audio Effects” section, locate the “DeNoise” effect.
v. Drag and drop the “DeNoise” effect onto the audio clip in the timeline.
vi. In the Effects Control panel, find the “Edit” button next to “DeNoise” and click on it.
vii. This opens the “DeNoise” settings.
viii. Use the “Noise Reduction” slider to adjust the strength of the noise reduction. Be careful not to overdo it, as it can affect the quality of your audio.
ix. You can also use the “Frequency” and “Reduction” controls to fine-tune the effect.
x. Preview your audio by playing it back within Adobe Premiere Pro to check the results.
Step 4: Render and export
i. After adjusting the noise reduction settings and confirming that the audio sounds cleaner, you can render your video.
ii. Go to “File” > “Export” to export your video with the cleaned audio. Select the appropriate export settings for your project.
Step 5: Save your project
Save your Adobe Premiere Pro project by going to “File” > “Save” or “Save As.”
How to clean up audio with Adobe Audition
Step 1: Import your audio file
i. Launch Adobe Audition.
ii. Open your audio file by going to “File” > “Open” or by using the “Import” option.
Step 2: Select the noisy portion
In the timeline, select a portion of the audio that contains only the background noise (no speech or desired audio). This will be used to create a noise print for Adobe Audition to identify and remove the noise.
Step 3: Capture noise print
i. With the noisy portion selected, go to “Effects” > “Noise Reduction / Restoration” > “Capture Noise Print.”
ii. Adobe Audition will sample the selected noise and use it as a reference for noise reduction.
Step 4: Select the entire audio track
Click and drag your mouse to select the entire audio track or press “Ctrl + A” (Windows) or “Command + A” (Mac) to select everything.
Step 5: Apply noise reduction
i. Now, go to “Effects” > “Noise Reduction / Restoration” > “Noise Reduction (process).”
ii. The Noise Reduction dialog box will appear.
iii. Adjust the settings in the dialog box to reduce the noise without affecting the desired audio quality. The key parameters include:
Determines the amount of noise reduction applied.
Adjusts the level of noise reduction. A higher value removes more noise.
This slider allows you to preview the noise reduction as you adjust it. Listen to the audio and adjust until you’re satisfied.
iv. Click “Apply” to apply the noise reduction settings.
Step 6: Listen and adjust
i. After applying the noise reduction, listen to the audio to ensure that it sounds clean and the desired audio remains intact.
ii. If necessary, you can undo the noise reduction or reapply it with different settings to achieve the best results.
Step 7: Save your edited audio
Once you’re satisfied with the noise reduction, save your edited audio. Go to “File” > “Export” > “File,” choose the format and export settings, and save the file.
Step 8: Save your project
It’s a good practice to save your Adobe Audition project with all your edits. Go to “File” > “Save” or “Save As” to save your project for future reference or further editing.
Related: How to Add Music to a Video
That’s a wrap
Cleaning up audio while video editing is a crucial step to ensure your video projects are engaging, professional, and emotionally impactful. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily learn how to clean up audio.
Remember that practice and experience will help you refine your audio-cleaning skills, so don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to master. Ultimately, the effort you put into clean audio will pay off in the form of better videos and a more satisfied audience.
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