Remove white noise from your audio and video projects

Interested in doing a podcast, but can’t figure out how to make your audio track listenable? If you’ve been trying to get yourself going with an audio podcast but have had trouble eliminating background noise and if it seems like your podcast is more about white noise than it is the topic of your choosing, you might want to check out audacity. It’s a free and open source alternative to a lot of very expensive software packages.

You can eliminate nose in three easy steps.

Make sure you record some dead air

With a lot of audio and video problems, you’ll find yourself wishing you had left some dead air, or recorded an empty shot on a green screen once you being the editing process. The quickest way to getting rid of that audio hiss is making sure you plan for it. Before you jump right into your content let the audio record dead air. You’ll be thankful that you did. Instead of searching for a small snippet of dead air later, it’ll be right at the beginning of your audio track.

Sample The Dead Air in Audacity

Import your audio into audacity, and then select the dead air with your mouse by clicking at the starting point, then holding down the mouse button and dragging until you reach the end of your dead air. Once it’s selected you want to click on Effect in the menu bar, then Noise Removal. This tool is where all the magic will happen.

Getting a noise profile

You actually already set up the groundwork for getting your noise profile by selecting the dead air, noise ridden clip earlier. If you’re in the Noise removal tool now, just click on the Get Noise Profile button. What this does is check the clip you selected, figures out what dB the noise is at, and then prepares to eliminate it from your audio clip. After you click the Get Noise Profile button you might want to try the preview button to make sure that the noise removal isn’t making your voices wonky. Rarely should you have to make use of the manual sliders, and you should be able to click OK immediately. Audacity will now work its magic, and start removing the noise. Once it’s done just save or export your file into the appropriate codec, and off you go!

What about video?

The actual reason I decided to write this post was because of a bad audio track I had in some video we shot for our video podcast. Instead of buying fancy software to edit and remove the noise in video, I decided to export the audio track from our video, import it into audacity, remove the noise, then import the new audio back into Final Cut Express. It worked extremely well, and it shouldn’t be a problem for short video segments. You might, however, notice a problem with longer video projects. A common problem you might face is that the audio suddenly starts to become unsynced with the video, and suddenly spoken words no longer match what your subject in the video is saying.

I’ve found that the best way around this is exporting the entirety of the audio track for your video, so you can line up the audio and video by putting the audio with the noise removed at the 0:00:00 location.

Hope this helps some of you out. If you have any other suggestions let me know.

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