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Eliminating crackles and digital clicks

From: Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools

Video: Eliminating crackles and digital clicks

In this movie we are going to go over some audio problems such as crackles or digital clicking. These can occur from lavalier mic radio interference or in the lavalier mic scratches against clothing, digital clock errors, or even when the audio overloads the preamp. Digital clicks from clock errors a lot of times may be seen in the waveform data in a Pro Tools track in a very zoomed in level. So here we have a piece of audio that does have a lot of digital clicks in it. Let's take a listen to it. (Woman speaking: In this example there are some digital clicks present. This can be due to a clock issue with a digital audio recording device.) Even from zoomed this far out you can see some digital clicks in this waveform.

Eliminating crackles and digital clicks

In this movie we are going to go over some audio problems such as crackles or digital clicking. These can occur from lavalier mic radio interference or in the lavalier mic scratches against clothing, digital clock errors, or even when the audio overloads the preamp. Digital clicks from clock errors a lot of times may be seen in the waveform data in a Pro Tools track in a very zoomed in level. So here we have a piece of audio that does have a lot of digital clicks in it. Let's take a listen to it. (Woman speaking: In this example there are some digital clicks present. This can be due to a clock issue with a digital audio recording device.) Even from zoomed this far out you can see some digital clicks in this waveform.

Let me zoom in a lot more and we can really take a look at what these look like. See that spike right there? We have a pretty normal waveform and then a very violent spike right in the middle of it. So one of the ways we can deal with this in Pro Tools is actually to physically draw out each of these intermittent little spikes. It could be tedious but it does work. One of the things we should know before we draw out any of these waveforms is that this is one of the few operations in Pro Tools that actually destructively alters your original source audio file.

So to be safe what we want to do is make a copy of this file. The best way to do that is to double- click the region and we are going to go up into Edit and just say Consolidate Region. That's also Option+Shift or Alt+Shift+3. And it'll make a new region and we will name it whatever our track is named, in this case Audio 1, but in this case at least we will have a new whole file to be working on. Now there is two files, the old one on our hard drive and this new one. So we have the old one left behind. It has the clicks in it, but now we will be working on a different copy of the file.

So let me zoom in real close here and I am going to tackle this pretty obvious spike here. You can even make the waveform view a little bigger, zoom in there. Actually that went off the screen so I will zoom back. This seems like a pretty good view. So here I am going to use the Pencil tool. You can grab it up here or you can type F10 to change your cursor to the Pencil tool. The idea here is just to draw the waveform as if it would've normally gone without this spike. So it's going to start over here and draw it out something like that.

You have to be zoomed in to a pretty high level to get it to the point where you can draw the waveform. In other words you can't start drawing out here. You have to be this far zoomed in. Let's take a listen to that. I am going to just do a quick highlight over this section and we will hear it to see if the click is gone. (Inaudible) Okay, that's with the drawing I just did. Let's undo to hear the click and see if it's there. (Inaudible) So I definitely heard the click that time and I will redo that pencil draw. So it's real quick but we can tell that it got rid of that.

So now if I wanted to do this, I will have to go in and do a lot of redrawing, because there is a lot of clicks in here, but it is possible to deal with some of these noise issues with the Pencil tool at a very zoomed in level. Another way that we can deal with this also involves the iZotope suite of noise reduction, the Rx suite. Again, a standalone application. So what I am going to do is export this piece of audio. First let me name it, so it makes sense. I am going to call this crackle audio dupe since I duplicated it, so we are not working in the original whole file, and then I am going to Shift+Command+K or Shift+Ctrl+K on a PC and that gets it out of Pro Tools into this folder I made on the Desktop called NR for Noise Reduction.

Click Open and Export and I am going to tab over to my isotope application and from here we'll File > Open and let's open the crackle audio and it comes into isotope. Now double-click on the waveform here to select it all and isotope has a Declick & Decrackle function. So take it from over on the right-hand side and we will use the Declick tab. The Strength goes all the way up to 10, but that will give you the most artifacting.

So let's keep it down around 4 or 5 for this and we'll preview it and see if it's working. (Woman speaking: In this example there are some digital clicks present. This can be due to a clock issue with a digital audio recording device.) So as you can hear it's very effective and it told me that 135 clicks were repaired in that pass. So again this is without it. If I just hit Spacebar it'll play the original audio. (Woman speaking: In this example there are some digital clicks present.) And I'll preview it with. (Woman speaking: In this example there are some digital clicks present.) So that sounds pretty good.

I'll process it and the next step is to go File > Save As and I will just put a -NR, so this is my new noise reduced version, into the same folder, and what I do here is I go back to Pro Tools and from Pro Tools I can just simply go the Finder, find that NR folder and grab my noise reduced region, drag it right back into Pro Tools and I can line it up at this stage. So we'll hear the original one. (Woman speaking: In this example there are some digital clicks present.) And our noise reduced one.

(Woman speaking: In this example there are some digital clicks present.) You can hear it's not perfect but a lot of them are gone, so I might actually have to go back in and use the Pencil tool on some of these areas just to clean it up even further. So those are two methods to deal with crackles or clicks in audio and sometimes the combination of the two methods, the Rx and the Pencil tool, that might yield the best results.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools
Audio for Film and Video with Pro Tools

51 video lessons · 9221 viewers

Scott Hirsch
Author

 
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  1. 6m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      40s
    3. Using this course with Pro Tools 10
      1m 57s
    4. Relinking audio files
      2m 33s
  2. 18m 37s
    1. Understanding the new audio for video features in Pro Tools 9
      5m 17s
    2. Exploring the hardware requirements for Pro Tools 9
      5m 19s
    3. Understanding the audio components of a finished video
      5m 22s
    4. Understanding the audio production workflow
      2m 39s
  3. 25m 10s
    1. Understanding video formats, SMPTE timecode rates, NTSC, and PAL
      6m 21s
    2. Understanding video formats, codecs, and pull-up/pull-down
      5m 16s
    3. Setting up your Pro Tools session for video
      8m 44s
    4. Exporting OMF and AAF files
      4m 49s
  4. 32m 14s
    1. Importing OMF and AAF files
      8m 8s
    2. Importing and the DigiBase browser
      4m 0s
    3. Conforming the OMF import to your template
      6m 51s
    4. Setting up groups and windows
      6m 2s
    5. Spotting film and using markers
      7m 13s
  5. 52m 55s
    1. Organizing the dialog tracks
      5m 0s
    2. Optimizing the dialog in the first pass
      4m 30s
    3. Using room tone
      4m 10s
    4. Creating fades to smooth out audio edits
      5m 4s
    5. Understanding sound effects, ambiences, and backgrounds
      7m 12s
    6. Sweetening and hard effects
      6m 52s
    7. Processing tips for sound effects
      8m 46s
    8. Bringing emotion to the mix with music tracks
      5m 33s
    9. Leveraging clip-based gain in Pro Tools 10
      2m 51s
    10. Exploring AudioSuite enhancements in Pro Tools 10
      2m 57s
  6. 15m 29s
    1. Preparing the session for foley and ADR recording
      9m 19s
    2. Recording ADR and editing with VocALign LE
      6m 10s
  7. 45m 5s
    1. Noise-reducing hums, rumbles, and buzzes
      8m 11s
    2. Eliminating crackles and digital clicks
      5m 30s
    3. Taming plosives and sibilance
      6m 10s
    4. Reducing broadband noise
      9m 26s
    5. Conforming to video changes
      8m 36s
    6. Pitch shifting for effect or utility, TC expansion
      7m 12s
  8. 56m 19s
    1. Setting up for stereo mixing
      5m 11s
    2. Calibrating levels using an SPL meter
      7m 2s
    3. Mixing with automation
      11m 4s
    4. Advanced mix automation
      8m 0s
    5. Automating plug-in parameters
      9m 22s
    6. Mixing with reverb
      7m 20s
    7. Ducking techniques
      8m 20s
  9. 42m 4s
    1. Setting up a surround mix template
      11m 14s
    2. Calibrating for 5.1 surround mixing and bass management
      9m 2s
    3. Mixing and spatial techniques for 5.1 surround
      14m 9s
    4. Downmixing, encoding, and using Neyrinck plug-ins
      3m 38s
    5. Automating techniques for 5.1 surround mixes
      4m 1s
  10. 10m 6s
    1. Print mastering and stem mixes
      5m 47s
    2. Mastering delivery levels and dynamics
      4m 19s
  11. 5m 29s
    1. Backing up your final project
      5m 29s
  12. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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