You can fix messy audio with these five tips

Even the most visually appealing video can instantly become amateurish when it is paired with sub-par audio. Here are five strategies to help you improve some of the worst sound situations.

Mute It

You first have to determine whether you really need the audio track that is causing you problems. You may prefer to include the sound, but if the story won’t be compromised by not including it, then maybe you should cut it. It is better to cut something that wouldn’t affect your story rather than keep it and have it ruin your story.

Add music

Sometimes, the best option is just masking unwanted audio with music. Voiceover narration can include a small, but noticeable hiss. Adding a music bed easily fixes this. Adding a music bed gives the ears something else to hear and draws attention away from the imperfection of your audio clip. Don’t pick something too attention grabbing though. Its point is to mix the music track with the audio so it supports and lifts the primary sound source. You don’t want them competing.

Add ambiance

One common audio problem in editing is when an audio track is chopped up and the dialogue is spread out on the timeline. When recording voice-overs or on-camera talent, ambient environmental background sound is captured along with voice track recordings. This greatly contrasts with the ultra silent gaps between sound bits. It will increase awareness of the noisy background sound.

To fix this, find the sections of ambient “room noise” and place it over the transitions to smooth out the silences between audio edits.

Apply noise reduction

Applying noise reduction in post can help fix your messy audio
Applying noise reduction in post can help fix your messy audio. Image courtesy Unsplash.

Most of today’s video editing applications include built-in filters designed to reduce or eliminate noise within an audio clip. There is typically a drag-and-drop preset option or a manual slide control that allows the selection of a targeted range. This will allow you to get a narrower, cleaner frequency range and can reduce audio buzz.

Software solutions

In reality, some audio problems need to be fixed with highly specialized audio editing software. While controls within video editing applications are limited to frame-level accuracy, professional audio tools allow manipulation at the sample level. You can carve out unwanted sounds and sample objectionable background noise to remove it.

Never settle for sub-par audio. Even some of the simplest solutions could make a world of difference.

If you want a more in-depth look into fix messy audio, read “Five Ways to Fix Messy Audio.”

Image courtesy Unsplash

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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