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Hi there,

Does anyone know any good techniques for removing camera noise from location sound recordings. I lecture and we have very old, loud Arri's and one of my students is struggling to remove the camera noise without compromising the dialogue. I have some techniques but maybe you SSD's might have some suggestions.

Thanks.

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5 Answers

Difficult to say without know what kit you are trying to clean the sound with.

If it's a continuous whine of the motors then you should be able to isolate the frequency with an EQ. A useful trick to push the frequency like in the picture below, it can be easier to hear the offending drone to be able to remove it. You should be able to hear the problem easier by making the whine worse.

alt text

Once you've found the frequency, pull it out by reducing the gain as far as you can go. Some EQs are better at this than others, Waves Q EQ is the best in my opinion as it has the narrowest Q.

If you've got some cash then get something like izotope RX as you can then either use the noise reduction or the rather amazing Spectral Analyser to clean up the sound.

Good luck!

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In order I would try EQ, Hardware NR boxes (CAT43, Cedar DNS), Multiband Expansion (Waves C4, WaveArts MD6, etc) and then specialized NR plugs/software. You may find that a little of each, does a much better job, than trying to get any ONE of them to clean it completely.

As a note, they will not be able to remove it completely without causing issues to the dialog. They just want to make it as unobtrusive as possible.

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Side note: Magix Samplitude features a decent FFT filter which is very good at "drawing" spectra, i.e. removing unwanted frequencies without too much artifacts

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+1 on iZotope RX. Discovered it via SSD, and it's become the most reliably useful plugs I've ever invested in. Doesn't work absolute miracles - garbage in, garbage out - but it's still darned amazing.

Depending on the locations and scene, maybe also some ambient SFX in the background can be used to mask the remaining noise, once the worst of it has been removed without harming the dialog...but that depends entirely on the scene. The sounds of building machinery to underscore a tense scene will obviously not work for a tender outdoor moment. But maybe there's birdsong or insect sounds that could help to mask camera noise in a context like that. Just some examples to consider.

If signal:noise ratio is pear-shaped because the mic was too close to the camera relative to the talent, though, it may be ADR time.

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If you can record the camera in a very quiet environment, get a 30 second recording that you can loop. Extend it for the length of the scene, flip the phase, and combine with the on-set audio. The opposite phases will cancel each other out.

That's the simplest and cheapest I can think of. Other than that, something with a spectral view will probably allow you to scrub out the offending sound without too much damage to the original. I use Adobe Audition - great bang for your buck!

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