How to clean up audio on a video

Written by simon foden Google
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How to clean up audio on a video
Many video editors let you edit the audio track. (Courtesy of Microsoft)

Wind noise, hum, background chatter and even the sound of the camera man breathing into the microphone can make an otherwise great video difficult to enjoy. Modern video editing software, such as iMovie and Windows Movie Maker feature basic sound editing functions that let you clean up the audio. If you need a touch more sophistication in the sound edit, various dedicated sound editing programmes are available.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Video or audio editing software (available free)

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    External tools

  1. 1

    Export the audio file. The process for doing this varies according to which video editing programme you are using. Typically, you do this by accessing the export options under the file menu. By exporting the audio, you render it is as a stand-alone file, rather than as an integrated part of the video. If you wish to clean up the audio in a video that you didn’t make yourself, such as a movie you’ve downloaded, you can do so via an AVS video converter.

  2. 2

    Save the audio file. When prompted, name the audio file and select a save location.

  3. 3

    Open your preferred sound editing programme, for example Audacity or Apple’s Logic.

  4. 4

    Import the audio file into the sound editing programme. The process varies but you typically import audio via the File, Import menu. Once the audio is imported, it will display as a waveform on your screen. The waveform is made up of various peaks and dips that illustrate the volume. You can use these as a guide for following the waveform as the audio rolls.

  5. 5

    Select a suitable tool for clean up. The tools required depend on the quality of the audio. For example, if you want to remove hiss from the audio, an equaliser will do the trick. If the volume is peaking, a compressor tool will enable you to correct this.

  6. 6

    Save the cleaned up audio and import it back into the video file.

    Video software tools

  1. 1

    Open your preferred video editing programme, for example iMovie, Final Cut or Windows Movie Maker. The process for doing so varies according to operating system and programme, but you typically need to double-click the programme icon on your desktop or dock.

  2. 2

    Select the video you wish to clean up. Again, the process varies, but this is typically achieved by opening the file menu and selecting the video file from the drop-down.

  3. 3

    Open the audio editing tools. Common tools include volume reduction, fades and mute. For example, in iMove you can reduce the overall volume of a video by checking the Edit Volume button. This lets you set a maximum and minimum level to stop the audio peaking or dipping out. In Movie Maker, you can do similar things by selecting Clip, Audio then Volume. You can also select specific parts of the video to which this clean up applies. For example, if there’s wind noise on one section, you can cut this out using the volume settings.

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