Step 1: Send a Clip from Final Cut Pro to Soundtrack Pro
Right-click or Control-click on the clip in the Final Cut Pro Timeline and choose Send To > Soundtrack Pro Audio File Project, then choose a location to save the audio file on the computer. The file now opens within Soundtrack Pro and you can see the audio waveform of the clip.
Step 2: Pinpoint the Unwanted Noise in the Waveform
In order to pinpoint the actual noise within the waveform, you may have to enlarge the audio waveform so you can clearly see the area where the noise occurs. Press Command + (plus sign) to lengthen the audio waveform if needed. Increase the height of the waveform by pressing the Shift and Command keys simultaneously and pressing + (plus sign). Adjust the waveform so you’re able to drag a selection of it around the visual representation of the noise in the file (explained in the next step).
Step 3: Set a Noise Print
Use the mouse cursor to drag a selection around the section of the waveform that contains only the noise you want to remove. A good place to look is between pauses in your subject’s speech or at the very beginning before he or she begins to speak. Wherever you choose to make the selection, make sure you are only selecting the noise and not any other sound that you wish to keep part of the soundtrack.
After you’ve made the selection, go to Process in the top menu and choose Noise Reduction > Set Noise Print. You’ve now told Soundtrack Pro that this is a sound of particular interest.
Step 4: Designate the Clip for Noise Reduction
Now that you’ve set the noise print, go back to the waveform and press Command A to select the entire audio file.
In this particular clip, the steady drone of cicadas in the backyard is competing with the young boy’s voice as he talks into the camera, and the insect noise continues throughout his entire dialog. The goal is to successfully remove the noise from the entire clip.
Step 5: Reduce the Noise
Choose Process > Noise Reduction > Reduce Noise. The Reduce Noise dialog box appears. Raising or lowering the Noise Threshold by moving the slider control to the left or right allows you to reduce high signals like cicadas chirping and lower-level signal noises. When the Reduction slider is dragged toward the right, you are increasing the amount of noise reduction. When it is moved to the left, you’re decreasing it. As you tweak the audio file to remove your unwanted noise, the sound quality of the overall file is also affected. Raising the Noise Threshold to remove a sound can inadvertently make the voice of the on-camera talent become tinny. The Tone Control slider lets you add bass back into the subject’s voice or preserve the treble when moved to the right.
The play button in the lower corner of the Noise Reduction dialog box lets you play the file in a continuous loop as you find the right levels. Click in the Noise Only box to play back only the noise you want to remove; click the Preview Effect Bypass button to hear the file without the adjustments. If you want to start the tweaking process from scratch, click the Reset button and the Reduce Noise parameters will return to their default settings.
Step 6: Send the Clip Back to Final Cut Pro
After you’ve made the adjustments, click the Apply button in the Reduce Noise box and save the changes in Soundtrack Pro. Choose OK in the Save Audio File Project Preference dialog box. The clip will update in the Final Cut Pro timeline with your changes.
Tools Used: Apple Final Cut Pro 6, Apple Soundtrack Pro 2
Lonzell is an Apple Certified Final Cut Pro Professional and Certified Avid Xpress Pro user. He is the author of Final Cut Pro 6 for Digital Video Editors Only and the soon-to-be-released Canon VIXIA High Definition Camcorder Digital Field Guide, both from Wiley Publishing, Inc. Lonzell began his career as a videographer and digital video specialist for the Web and later became a writer, director and producer. His work includes national spots and programs for PBS, Fox Sports, the Outdoor Channel and C-SPAN, and video editing for pop superstar Mariah Carey. Lonzell is a syndicated content writer with hundreds of published tutorials that relate to Apple’s Final Cut Studio product line.
LONZELL SAYS KEEP IN MIND…
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to reduce unwanted background noises that compete with your subject’s voice by setting a noise print in Soundtrack Pro 2. The objective is to remove the unwanted noise without degrading the overall sound quality of the scene. Sounds that vary wildly in pitch are the most difficult to remove. Be mindful of your shooting environment and if you anticipate that a particular background noise will give you problems in post, do yourself a favor and tape some of the ambient noise before beginning the interview. This will allow you to set an accurate noise print later. You know what sounds good, so listen closely.