In this video I go over a tutorial on using Audacity to remove unwanted background noise in a video or audio file. Audacity is a free and very impressive audio editing piece of software and can be downloaded at https://www.audacityteam.org/. I have had issues with background noise for quite some time and my efforts at removing all practical background noise in the room I record my videos were still not enough. After going over many hours of trial and error and scavenging the internet for audio editing tips, I finally discovered a procedure that worked well for me; and which I have compiled into this video tutorial.
Note that when importing MP4 video files into Audacity it automatically separates the M4A audio file but which requires additional libraries to be downloaded and can be done so here: https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/faq_installing_the_ffmpeg_import_export_library.html.
The main tools I use is the Audacity “Noise Reduction” and occasional “Amplify” option. It is important to first select the most generic background noise to better remove it from a larger section of the video file. After that I suggest skimming through to find any additional and unique background noise and then remove it from those specific regions of the video. Minimizing the number of edits is key to maintain decent sounding audio and especially speech. Spotting background noise is best done with Noise Cancelling Headphones, so I also recommend obtaining a pair if you are in the business of video or audio production.
Later in the video I quickly go over using the Camtasia video editing software to remove the old audio from a video and then add the new fixed audio from Audacity. Camtasia also has a general noise removal option, but it is best done as a second layer to that of Audacity since Camtasia is not as fined tuned or specific as Audacity.
I hope you enjoy this tutorial and let me know if it works well for you!
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Audacity Background Noise Removal & Camtasia Video Editing
Topics to Cover
- Background Noise
- Audacity Free Audio Editing Software
- Importing MP4/M4A Audio Files Require Extra Library Download
- Noise Reduction
- Amplify Sound Removal and Volume Booster
- Important Note on Audacity and Large File Usage
- MES Audacity Tips and Recommendations
- Get Noise Cancelling Headphones!
- Merging Audio and Video in Camtasia
When I record videos, unfortunately there is some background noise either from my refrigerator or even computer(s) themselves; and my older videos are examples of this.
Recently I have tried to improve my audio by getting a better microphone and even some low-level noise-cancelling set ups but still the background noise persists.
Audacity Free Audio Editing Software
Since at the moment I can't readily remove the background noise, I have found some good audio editing techniques with the Audacity free audio editing software: https://www.audacityteam.org/
MES Note: I am currently using version 2.3.2.
Importing MP4/M4A Audio Files Require Extra Library Download
Note that importing MP4 video files into Audacity automatically imports only the audio and in a M4A format but this requires additional library downloads: https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/faq_installing_the_ffmpeg_import_export_library.html
To remove background noise in Audacity, I mainly use the Noise Reduction option in the Effect tab and with the following settings, although the Noise reduction (dB) setting I sometimes vary to 10 dB if too much of the normal audio gets removed.
Usually just 1 pass of the filter is needed but may need 2 depending on your audio.
After applying this filter, I check the audio to make sure that it sounds decent and may repeat the process on the newly edited audio but with a new noise profile to remove; and only in the region necessary.
When finished, then export in the file type you want; which is for most purposes the same audio type you imported in which is in my case M4A.
Note that the option Get Noise Profile is needed at first to select (ensure the Selection Tool is selected) the highlighted audio section and which will be used as the type of noise to remove.
The Noise reduction (dB) option is the amount of sound in decibels to remove.
The Sensitivity is how much of the sound profile to be considered as noise.
The Frequency smoothing (bands) blends frequencies similar to the noise profile you selected.
The Reduce option shows the audio after noise is removed.
The Residue option shows the audio removed; and is a good tool to preview.
Amplify Sound Removal and Volume Booster
For any abrupt background noise, I recommend using the Amplify option to lower this sound.
Note that the Amplify option can also be used to increase the overall volume of the entire audio file.
Important Note on Audacity and Large File Usage
Keep in mind that since Audacity breaks up sound files into their sound waveform frequencies, the file size can be quite massive, especially after each progressive edit, so if you are editing a large video please keep in mind your computer's storage capacity.
If the edited audio clip during editing gets larger than the space on your computer, Audacity automatically closes.
In fact, after editing I never save an Audacity file but rather just the exported Audio clip.
MES Audacity Tips and Recommendations
I recommend editing each unique pre-merged audio recording clip before merging into a longer video since likely each recording session will have its own unique background noise.
But for longer videos that have already included various audio clips, I recommend editing every 30 minutes or less at a time since it is easier to select more fine tuned and relevant background noise to remove; as well as shorter Audacity computation time before each edit.
You wouldn't want to wait 5 to 10 minutes for the edit to finish to realize that you need to try a different noise profile/settings scheme.
I recommend first selecting a general noise removal profile with the most generic background noise and then follow up for any remaining background noise but only in the sections of the audio they appear.
For adequate volume on most devices, I recommend editing the sound while setting the computer volume to 50% and then using the Amplify option to boost the volume until it is at a comfortable volume.
Get Noise Cancelling Headphones!
Often times, the audio may sound decent but could be because of the environment you are listening in.
For example a video may sound decent played back on a speaker or even regular headphones, but when using decent noise cancelling headphones, the background noise becomes clear as day.
Noise cancelling headphones usually involve an active microphone that picks up background noise and then blends it with the audio you are listening to but in such a way that the microphone recorded audio cancels out (i.e. sound wave destructive interference) with the overall background noise.
The headphones I have are the Mighty Rock E7C and you may be able to get it or similar headphones at a discount at Vipon.com (Amazon retailers that place discounts on this site in hopes of increasing sales on Amazon).
Merging Audio and Video in Camtasia
After being satisfied with the Audacity audio editing, then I use Camtasia not free video editing software to replace the old audio with the new.
MES Note: I am currently using Version 2018.0.7 (Build 4045): http://camtasia.com
I do this by importing the video file and then right clicking it and selecting the Separate Audio and Video option; after which I mute the old audio and import the new edited audio.
If the audio still has some background noise and/or the overall volume is too low, I sometimes apply extra but very small Noise Removal through Camtasia.
Note that I treat this noise removal as an extra second layer as it is a general noise frequencies removal and not as fine tuned as Audacity.
Also, the volume has a limit of only 250% increase on Camtasia.
I usually Share/Export to the following MP4 only (up to 1080p) settings.
Hope this tutorial helps! (Had I seen this exact tutorial 2 months ago, I would've saved dozens of hours of trial and error audio editing… :/)