Removing Unwanted Sounds with Adobe Audition

David Salahi Audio, Video Editing Leave a Comment

On a recent video shoot I had an audio problem with my monopod. What’s that you say? How does a monopod affect the audio? In my case, the problem was a sort of creaking noise it made when tilting or rolling from side to side. The problem was caused by friction in the ball at the foot of the monopod. Each time I moved it would make a small thumping noise as the motion started.

Video Monopod

It’s a new monopod and I was aware of the problem before the shoot. I had tried loosening the tension on the ball and I thought I’d loosened it enough that it wouldn’t be a problem. But, as I later discovered, I was wrong. It was an avoidable blunder which I could have prevented.

If I had been using an off-camera mike it wouldn’t have been a problem but I was shooting on location at the Camino Real Playhouse again and I needed the mobility.

When I got home and listened to the audio I found these fairly obtrusive creaking sounds in the soundtrack wherever I had made a rotating motion with the tripod. At first, I was worried that the noise was going to ruin the footage. Fortunately, I was able to remove the sound using the healing brush in Adobe Audition.

I’m a longtime Photoshop user and I make frequent use of its healing brush tool. But I was surprised a while back to learn that Audition also has a healing brush. And, like the Photoshop tool, the Audition healing brush is almost magical.

Removing Noise with Adobe Audition CC’s Spot Healing Brush Tool

By simply brushing with the spot healing brush you can often easily remove unwanted noise but there is a catch or two. First, you have to be able to identify the noise visually in Audition’s Spectral Frequency Display. In many cases, that’s not very hard. With this display it’s often easy to identify sounds that are different from the ambient sound and dialog. For example, a typical phone ringtone will usually show up quite clearly. But if your noise includes a broad spectrum of frequencies then it’s going to be harder.

In my case, the squeaking, creaking sound was easy to spot. One way to find the noise in the spectral frequency display is to look for an obvious visual pattern at the times where you hear the noise. Another way to home in on the noise is to take a guess at the frequencies it includes and look closely at those frequency bands.

In the video tutorial below I demonstrate the process I used to find and remove the noise.

After “fixing it in post” I went back to adjust the monopod to prevent any future repetitions of this noise. I fiddled with the tension/drag on the ball quite a bit but couldn’t get it to a point where the noise was gone without loosening it way too much. In the end, a squirt of WD40 was all that it needed. After that, I could tension the ball to get just the right amount of drag and still be rid of the offending noise.

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