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Help me clean this audio, please.


Vertigo50

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Hello everyone.

 

I need advice from anyone who is willing to help. I have some video footage for which I'm trying to clean up the audio. I'm hoping to get rid of the noise and also EQ or anything else to get the audio sounding as good as possible.

 

I am willing to use Logic or Soundtrack Pro for this, as I have both.

 

The source material was recorded with a camcorder microphone, so I'm sure it will never be miraculous, but I'm hoping you can all give me some tips about how you would go about getting this audio sounding better. It's a videotape of a musical called "Once On This Island".

 

Here is an mp3 file with two excerpts from the show. The first part is a large ensemble number, and the second part is a quieter section with some dialogue and some solo singing. This way you can hear the range of what is in the audio.

 

www.stevenleigh.net/island.mp3

 

Please download the file and listen, then give me advice on the best way to clean it up.

 

Thanks in advance!

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You have a noise reducing plug in in Logic. What is does, primarily, is work as a very specific EQ filter to take out what you tell it is unwanted noise. You'll be prompted to play a bit of a section that has the noise- likely in your case room noise. If you have a lot of people talking in the background you'll be very lucky to be able to do anything at all.

 

Find a bit of room tone and follow the simple instructions as for how to have the application figure it out and take out the noise- there are also parameters for how much you want to attempt to take out.

 

There is only so much a noise reduction plug in can do, and the Logic version is only OK. I bought Soundsoap (not Pro) and it is a little better. The fact is, there is little that can be done usually.

 

Your next step is to EQ the source, I'd probably suggest taking out most frequencies above 15k or something, if it is just spoken word there is probably not a lot there you absolutely need, and you'll get rid of cheap mic hiss there. And I'd likely roll of some bass, say under 50 Hz. None of this is gospel. I'm just trying to get you thinking about how to use the tools you have, you'll have to figure out what works with what you have.

 

And as you already know, you'll only get this to be better- it will never be as good as if it had been recorded properly in the first place.

 

Good luck, L

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I see now that it is a musical. So, you'll have to be very careful with what I've told you not to ruin the sound, and the "Denoiser" can really add it's own artifacts when used injudiciously. But that and EQ are the best hopes you have.

 

Another technique that can be useful is to set the EQ to a very narrow Q, and turn that band all the way up, and sweep it across the spectrum. It will all sound bad, what you are looking for are a few narrow frequencies where hopefully the worst of the room and mix hiss are located at, and then try to take those frequencies out by lowering the EQ at that part in the spectrum (say 2k or whatever) again with a narrow Q.

 

Either way, cutting and not boosting are going to be your strategy here, ultimately.

 

Good luck, L

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Thanks for your helpful replies. Thank you for taking the time.

 

I'm starting to think the noise removal might be too much as well. I haven't tried it yet as I haven't been back to my good monitors to really listen, but the noise seems pretty pervasive, and if it tries to cut it ALL out, it's going to take a lot of frequencies with it. I think what I'll try is rolling the EQ as you suggested, and see how much cut I can get away with before losing music.

 

It doesn't have to be perfect, but it's a sentimental project for me. I was in this musical in high school, and this is the only video of it. I'm just trying to get it to a "listenable" point rather than perfection. If I can at least reduce the noise somewhat and bring out some of the frequencies that are lacking, I'll be happy.

 

Again, thank you for taking the time.

 

If anyone has further suggestions, please jump in.

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Thanks guys. I'm going to try the Izotope plugin as it has a demo, and it's cheaper than Waves. I won't be doing a lot of this restoration stuff, so it won't be worth spending the cash on the Waves plugs.

 

If you have any more suggestions keep them coming, but I'm off to a great start thanks to you all.

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