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I recently shot some video footage and I used the camera's mic (I know it was a bad idea, but...). Unfortunately, there was some on-going background noise (I think it was a fan). How can I get rid of the noise?

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2 Answers 2

In your audio editor, switch to spectrum view and try to identify the frequency band of the fan noise. Next you can either use a parametric EQ or a filter.

If you have a parametric EQ, you can easily roll off the top or bottom frequencies, or cut the frequency band that the fan occupies.

If you are using a filter, then use a low pass filter with a high frequency setting to cut out high frequency fan sounds. Use a high pass filter with a low frequency setting to cut out low frequency fan sounds. Use a band reject filter to remove a specific frequency range in the middle.

If you don't already have an audio editor, get Audacity. Be sure to get the audio plugin packs as well.

Details:

  • You can get the spectrum view by clicking the disclosure triangle on the left of the track by the label "Audio Track." Select Spectrum or Spectrum log(f). Now you should see a view of your sound with time along the Y axis and the intensity at a given frequency along the X axis. If your noise is limited to a bad, it should be obvious now, and you should be able to read off the frequencies

I'm having some trouble with my copy of Audacity, I'll update this when I've reinstalled it with the latest plugins.

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I've used Audacity for some stuff, but I really have no idea to do what you're talking about. Could you add some more detail please? How do I use the spectrum view? How do I know what frequency is the fan? Then, once I've found it, how do I cut it out? Thanks so much! –  daviesgeek Nov 27 '11 at 23:34
    
iZotope makes a product called RX which I understand automates this process, although it's far from free. I'm sure there are others too. –  Warrior Bob Nov 28 '11 at 17:48
    
There's even a noise removal tool in Audacity, though it isn't working for me right now. –  ObscureRobot Nov 29 '11 at 7:37
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I use the Audacity Noise Removal tool for this all the time. It's a little tricky to figure out, but it does a great job once you know how to use it.

It's a two step process - first select a section of the audio that has nothing but noise. Then in the Audacity Effect menu, select Noise Removal, then click Get Noise Profile.

At this point, nothing will have changed in your audio, you'll just have taught Audacity what's considered noise for the current track.

Next, select the entire track and select Effect / Repeat Noise Effect (on Windows, you can just press Control-R). This will apply your noise settings to the entire track. If you prefer to dial in the settings, you can instead select Effect / Noise Removal, tweak setting, and click OK, but I never bother with this.

There's a more detailed walkthrough on Noise Reduction in the Audacity documentation.

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