Join Robbie Carman for an in-depth discussion in this video Healing audio, part of Premiere Pro Guru: Audio Finishing Techniques.
- Imagine you're editing an interview and you're at the key moment in that interview, and then all of a sudden a cell phone goes off from one of the production crew. Well, if the production crew's smart, they'll hopefully find a way to re-shoot that but often times that's just not possible. People getting interviewed sometimes can't remember what they were even saying or even if they do, when they repeat the line, it just doesn't have the same impact. Well, inside of Adobe Audition, we have a little bit of magic and that's what I want to show you in this movie, "Healing Audio".
So here in the slim line, 05_06, let's take a listen to this clip. - Owning a home is the American dream, but today's economy is challenging. If you're falling behind on your mortgage payments, (phone dings) anticipate financial problems, or are afraid of foreclosure, (phone dings) housing counseling may pr... - Hmmm, who let Robbie into the voice-over booth with his cell phone so he could get text messages? In all seriousness, things like this happen from time to time.
People make mistakes. Now in a situation like this, I could of just rerecorded this line of VO, but in some situations like I mentioned at the top of this movie, like in an interview where you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to grab a thought from somebody, well often times you can't repeat that moment. Fortunately though, we can clean up audio like this in Audtion. And to do that, I'll select the shot and then I'll right-click on it and choose to Edit the Clip in Adobe Audition. It will render and replace it, of course, and then Adobe Audition will open up.
Now with the Editor panel active here, I'll press the Grave or Tilde key so we get a much larger view of the waveform. Can you tell where the ding is from that text message in the waveform? Well, you might be thinking, maybe it's right here, Rob, and play that. - If you're falling behind in your mor... - No, it's not that. Was it this right here? - (phone dings) Housing counseling. - That was one of them. Where's the other one? - (phone dings) Anticipate fina... - Oh, there it is. The truth is I've looked at this waveform a lot. But by just looking at the waveform, it can be hard to tell where a particular sound is because all you're looking at when you're looking at a waveform is amplitude.
So instead, there's another way of looking at your audio signal here in Audition and that's by choosing this option right here to display the Spectral Frequency Display. And if I click on that, you can now see this view that kind of looks like your looking through a pair of night vision goggles. Now, there are a couple of other ways of activating the Spectral Frequency Display. First, you can use the keyboard shortcut, shift + d, or you can use this little grabber handle right here to split the difference between your Waveform and your Spectral Frequency Display.
Some people like to have both of them active, but for the purposes of this movie, I'll bring the Spectral Frequency Display into full view. Now, the way that this display works is that I have a frequency scale over here on the right-hand side, going from low frequencies at the bottom of the scale to extremely high frequencies at the top of the scale. All of my audio signal is mapped in various levels of intensity. So frequencies that are not very intense are mapped as black and dark blues and purples, and portions or frequencies that are very intense, like my voice, you can see those as yellows and reds here in the Spectral Frequency Display.
Now let me ask you another question. Can you now see where the ding from the text message is? Well, I should hope so. It's just this band right here through the middle of around, I don't know, 21 kilohertz, somewhere around there, 22 kilohertz. That's the ding. Let's go ahead and play that. - (phone dings) Anticipate financial problems. - Sure enough, there's the first ding. - or are afraid of foreclosure. (phone dings) Housing counseling may provide a solu... - There's the second ding. And you can even see the fall off or sort of that ring out of that ding.
Right when it initially hits, it's pretty intense and nice and yellow there, and then it fades to red and eventually into purple each time it dings. Now every time you've probably seen a demo of "Healing Audio" inside of Adobe Audition, you've probably seen that demo done with the Spot Healing Brush Tool. And indeed, that's a great way of fixing problematic audio like this. But what I want to do is not blend frequencies together. I actually want to remove the main part of this ding first.
We'll then come back and use the Spot Healing Brush Tool to remove some harmonics or some other frequencies that were present in that ding. But first and foremost, I want to remove the main band of frequency right here, that's the bulk of that ding. And to do that, I'll make sure that my Marquee Selection Tool is active. I can also press "e" on the keyboard. I'm simply going to marquee around that band of frequency right there, and if I play this back, I can hear it.
But before I play it back, I just want to warn you what you're about to hear is very high-pitched and a little shrill sounding, so you might want to turn down your speakers or adjust your headphone volume before you go ahead and listen to what I'm about to play back. (phone dinging) Yep, so you can definitely hear (phone dinging) I'm selecting the ding, (phone dinging) and I can use my (phone dinging) Marquee Selection Tool (phone dinging) to select more or less (phone dinging) of that ding (phone dinging) and kind of narrow (phone dinging) up my selection.
That looks pretty good. I might want to drop the bottom end and drop the top end up a little bit. (phone dinging) Yeah, so I think I have most of the ding sort of selected or highlighted there. Now that I've selected it. I'm simply going to press the Delete key to remove those frequencies from the Spectral Frequency Display here. So, I'll press Delete, and then I'll click Off, and now you can see I have this nice sort of black hole of frequencies that I've removed.
And because I've made a nice tight selection, I'm not gonna miss them. Let's play this back. - Payments. (phone dings lightly) Anticipate financial problems or are afraid of foreclosure, (phone dings lightly) housing counseling may provide a solution. - Clearly, that's much better than what we started with. But if you're listening on a good set of speakers or a high-quality set of headphones, you might still notice just a little bit of dinging. It kind of sounds like a faint tuning fork.
And what happens a lot of times when you have a sound like a ding or a bang or something like that, you'll get harmonics. Those are additional frequencies that make up the sound. Most of the time they're going to be higher in frequency up on this part of the graph. But sometimes, they're also lower. And I can tell if I look really, really closely, right about here, it seems like I have a little thin band that kind of mimicked the band that I had down here of the main ding.
Now, if I try to remove this band, I don't think I'm gonna have much luck because you can see right here, I have an area that's pretty intense. It's bright yellow and that's probably part of my voice. So instead of removing this little ding right here, and I can see another one down here, I'm gonna use the Spot Healing Brush Tool to sort of blend in frequencies together to make this sort of harmonic ding less obvious. So, I'll choose the Spot Healing Brush Tool. It's just "b" on the keyboard.
And the first thing I can do is adjust the Brush Size. I have a Brush Size of 29 which is pretty big, so I might want to lower that a little bit, maybe around 20 works pretty well. And then I'm simply going to click and paint out that little band right there, something like that. Premiere Pro will do it's job healing that audio. Let's take a listen. - (phone dings faintly) Anticipate financial problems. - Better, but often times with the Spot Healing Brush Tool, you'll need to brush several times repeating your work, going a little higher, approaching the area of attack a little bit more and so on and so forth.
- (phone dings very faintly) Anticipate financial problems. - Almost completely gone. Let's go to the second ding, right there. We'll paint that out. See what we got there. - (phone dings) Housing counseling. Again, I'll paint it out multiple times. And this is a normal part of the process with the Spot Healing Brush Tool You'll need to paint multiple times until you get it just right. - (phone dings very faintly) Housing counseling may provide a solution. - Think I'll do one more right about there.
- Housing counseling, may provide a solution. - And that's pretty good. I could keep painting and keep refining but if I go back to my History tab over here, I'll make this a little bit bigger. Let's listen to what we started with. I'll deselect that area real quick. (phone dings) Anticipate financial problems. - An obvious ding from a text message, and then I'll go to our last correction and play that back. - Anticipate financial problems or are afraid of... - I think you can see that's a whole lot better.
Perfect? No. But often as the case is with restorative work, you're trying to get it as good as it could possibly be. And I think with a couple of more passes with the Spot Healing Brush Tool on some additional frequencies there, I could probably remove that really, really faint ding all together. But for now, that's pretty good. And to get this back to Premiere Pro, I'll simply save this, switch back over to Premiere, take another listen. - Owning a home, falling behind on your mortgage payments, anticipate financial problems or are afraid of foreclosure, housing counseling may pr...
- And by the time you layer this in with things like music and sound effects, and natural sound, I can pretty much guarantee that you won't hear that ever so slight ding that's left behind. So, I think you can see that "Healing Audio" is a little bit like magic. I think it's so cool that you can just paint out the offending bits of audio, and that Adobe Audition does such a good job healing the audio that you've removed. Now, don't get me wrong. Healing audio is not a miracle.
It won't work in every situation, but for situations like this where we had a text ding, it worked just about perfect.
Watch the companion course, Premiere Pro Guru: Video Finishing Techniques, for more information about finishing the visual elements of your projects.
- Working with others
- Exporting audio tracks and video references
- Keyframing clip and track properties
- Using Premiere Pro's mixers
- Adding effects with compression, gain, normalization, and EQ
- Fixing audio issues with Audition
- Making your audio broadcast-legal
- Outputting stems