How to get rid of background sound??

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    • #41626


      i am a director/filmmaker, i have about 3 exterior shots in my indie film, and i have been sitting down with my film editor, he is telling me we need to do the dialogue over with the actors, because you hear a generator in the background, and a jackhammer, is there an easier to save money, to take the background sounds out in post editing? thanks so much

    • #176277

      if it were simply a hum or a buzz, that could be fixed in post production. But since it is a generator and jackhammer, you will have to do ADR. While it may cost you money to pay the actors to come back, ADR is much easier than trying to fix the poorly recorded audio. Most likely it will be less time consuming as well. So choose where you want to spend your money…paying your editor for working long hours so he can fix audio that probably won’t come our right anyway, or paying actors to come back for a day and re-record properly.

      Do not take audio lightly. It is the most important part of video. You get more information from the audio than you do from the visuals. So if you’re audio isn’t perfect, there is no way your video can be perfect.And trust me, your viewer will know when the audio sucks.

      In my opinion though, this situation could have been avoidable. Who was in charge of recording audio? He or she should have heard at least the jackhammer in the background through headphones. You don’t even need headphones to hear a jackhammer…

    • #176278

      Rob is right, Sound is extreamly important. if you must record on location where you have a lot of background noise then plan ahead.

      one option is to go on location a week before and shoot the location with video and audio, then bring your actors to a chromo key studio and shoot the scene. You can add the background sound you want by using foley sound. this will cost a little more but will produce a much better film.

      2nd option, fire your sound guy.

      3nd option spend thounsands on post production.

    • #176279

      If the generator frequency is consistent like that of the all-too-familiar AC hum, then it is quite possible that consistent frequency (if it is not the exact same as the vocals) can be neutralized in a good audio editing program. Possibly the same for the jackhammer, though I am sure its frequency levels will be over a range rather than a consistent level – more challenging, but probably not impossible.

      At the least you could likely minimize the intrustion via audio editing software and playing around with the frequencies. At worst, you will discover the limits of this approach quickly (should be rather obvious after one test) and move on to bringing the actors in for ADR.

    • #176280


      All the above is correct. I had a similar problem on a film and it was a rug cleaning service. I was staring down the ADR barrel, but did as Earl suggested and was able to EQ the sound of the cleaners out and still maintain believable nat sound. You may be able bring the jackhammer sound down to an acceptable level depending on your editing/audio software. But if you have mono/dialog going over the jackhammer I hope you recorded clean nat sound before or after it kicked in ’cause you’ll need it when you have to lay in the ADR track. New is also dead on, both your audio guy/gal and you should have caught that in the field. You can shoot on-loc and get excellent sound but dude, as Rob mentioned do not take your audio lightly. Bad audio will kill a flick faster than a lame plot. Lesson learned I hope.

      Please let us know how you solve this.

    • #176281

      Can’t speak to the jackhammer problem (can you live with it) but the generator noise might be able to be filtered out using Sony’s SoundForge or Adobe’s Audition or SoundBooth. None of these will be perfect (or as good as ADR) but it might be good enough – Also depends on whether you have a couple of seconds of the generator hum by itself (to be used in the noise reduction filters).

    • #176282


      The above link is a tutorial on repairing bad audio using sound forge 9. Most of the latest pro editing software have tools built in to help do this. Dedicated audio software like Pro Tools, Sound Forge, Sound Booth and so on are best suited for this kind of audio post cleanup. Be advised, though you may be able to remove or equalize the sound to an acceptable level you run the risk of altering your clean audio unfavorably. This is an option, but depending on how bad the jackhammer noise is (jackhammer usually = bad – awful) ADR may be the most painless solution (despite what your budget may say.)

      I do want to know how you resolve this problem.

      Good luck.

    • #176283

      Give Adobe SoundBooth a look. It takes no more than a few minutes to isolate and remove background noise.

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