10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 29, 2014 1:17 PM by Dave Merchant

    How to reduce/get rid of background sounds like traffic noise

    Hirsty7

      Hi there,

       

      I conducted an outdoors interview and noticed in edit that the traffic noise is quite loud. For some reason the audio is very quiet as it is, due to the peak amplitude being set at -12 for some reason? (Not sure how to change) Please could someone give me advice, I'm majorly stressing out at the moment.

       

      Cheers,

       

      Jake

        • 2. Re: How to reduce/get rid of background sounds like traffic noise
          Charles VW Adobe Employee

          You might want to post a sample of the audio over on the Audition forums: Audition CS5.5, CS6 & CC.  Many of the users there can help you.

          • 3. Re: How to reduce/get rid of background sounds like traffic noise
            Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

            Traffic/street noise is extremely difficult to reduce and impossible to remove as it has components in every part of the spectrum, all of which are constantly changing. A 'noise print' reduction method won't work, neither will a graphic EQ. As cc_merchant says you're basically stuck with using it as-is or reshooting. You might be able to cut out the very low frequency rumbles with a high-pass filter if your vox is clear of that range (female speaker or child), but anything you do that would reduce the noise appreciably would turn your interviewee into a Dalek.

             

            For interviews, sound engineers usually work to a -12dB peak as it gives enough headroom for any unexpected loud noises (coughs, clapping, etc.) while maintaining a good S/N ratio in the recording device preamps. Provided the ambient is low enough (unfortunately not in your case!) you can normalize and compress a -12dB track to broadcast levels using the volume and compressor effects in Premiere without needing to do any noise reduction.

            • 4. Re: How to reduce/get rid of background sounds like traffic noise
              Hirsty7 Level 1

              Cheers for the detailed info Dave. Would you suggest trying to compress it in premiere? What sort of settings should i use?

               

              Appreciate the advice.

              • 5. Re: How to reduce/get rid of background sounds like traffic noise
                Richard M Knight Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Compression will just make the background noise worse, a little expansion might help.

                • 6. Re: How to reduce/get rid of background sounds like traffic noise
                  Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  Compression would only be used if there's no background noise, to reduce the dynamic range of the vocals. In your case as I said a high-pass filter might help a bit if the voice is high-pitched, but there are no miracle fixes.

                  • 7. Re: How to reduce/get rid of background sounds like traffic noise
                    Hirsty7 Level 1

                    I think I am going to scrap the interview with the traffic noise. I did another interview inside which was really quiet when I dragged it into the premiere pro timeline. It said the peak amplitude was at -12 and wouldn't let me change it. So I compressed it and it sounds a bit tinny. Any suggestions with this?

                    • 8. Re: How to reduce/get rid of background sounds like traffic noise
                      Hirsty7 Level 1

                      I think I am going to scrap the interview with the traffic noise. I did another interview inside which was really quiet when I dragged it into the premiere pro timeline. It said the peak amplitude was at -12 and wouldn't let me change it. So I compressed it and it sounds a bit tinny. Any suggestions with this?

                      • 9. Re: How to reduce/get rid of background sounds like traffic noise
                        Peru Bob Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Try some of the audio effects.

                        • 10. Re: How to reduce/get rid of background sounds like traffic noise
                          Dave Merchant MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                          In Premiere Pro there are many ways to amplify an audio track:

                          • Expand the track, grab the volume level bar and pull it upwards
                          • Right-click the track, choose "Audio Gain" and either set a gain level or ask for normalization
                          • Adjust the faders on the Audio Clip or Audio Track mixer panels
                          • Adjust the fixed Volume effect on the audio clip.
                          • Apply an effect with inbuilt gain controls (e.g. Multiband Compressor)

                           

                          Most of these are limited to +6dB, but you can just add a second Volume effect on top. The Multiband Compressor goes up to +18dB.

                           

                          As to a track sounding 'tinny' - that means you've cut off too much of the low frequencies with your existing filters, or your mic/recorder wasn't up to scratch. Cheaper lav and shotgun mics tend to be very 'bright', amplifying the higher frequencies and pretty much killing the low end - unfortunately it's very hard to recover a flat response from a cheap mic.

                           

                          Bear in mind there are five basic stages to audio editing (though they're often combines in a single effect and don't necessarily always happen in the same order):

                          • Equalization (adjusting the gain at different frequencies to improve tone or remove unwanted stuff)
                          • Noise reduction, of which there are many many different forms
                          • Compression (to increase 'loudness' by reducing the difference in volume between the loudest and quietest parts of the track)
                          • Normalization/limiting - to force the peaks below acceptable maxima, e.g. for broadcast, and to make all the clips the same
                          • Mixing - adjusting the volume and pan of each track to create the overall soundscape you want for the production

                           

                          An EQ effect is used to bring out the tone of the vocals, provided it's there to be salvaged - there's a simple "vocal enhancer" effect that works OK sometimes but for learning it's useless as it doesn't tell you what it's doing. Some people will apply a standard EQ effect and adjust the gains to taste as they listen to playback (it helps to know what the person really sounded like!) and others will use the Multiband Compressor as an all-in-one effect, since it replicates the functionality of an EQ, compressor and limiter. Don't expect to just drop an effect on the track and hear perfection, it takes practice to know what all the sliders are for. Some effects have presets to get you pointed in the right direction and experienced editors will build up a mountain of their own presets for different combinations of voice, mic, scene, etc. but you won't get anywhere just twiddling random knobs, you need a feel for what's wrong and how each effect can (or can't) help you fix it.

                           

                          There's a bunch of tutorials online, here's a quite detailed on on the MBC effect - Premiere Pro CC: Boost and Smooth Audio Levels | Final Cut Pro Training & Classes

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