View Full Version : Noise Reduction - Surf/Wind Noise - Ideas ?

04-18-2003, 08:48 AM
Hello All;
I and several friends shot a friend's wedding video near the ocean in Hawaii. We were not really prepared for the new environment of the outdoors since we've always shot weddings inside in the past. Our problem is that we have a video of the ceremony which has low audio and a lots of sound/surf noise. We are trying to use Sound Forge with the Noise Reduction Plug in to minimize the surf/wind noise and to enhance and increase the vocals but we aren't really experienced with Sound Forge and are not having much success. We know SF/NR can't perform maticles but we wonder if we can do better than we're able. I am attaching a sample of the type of audio we are trying to fix up (or atleast get a bit better). Anyone have any ideas or suggestions on specific techniques I could use in Sound Forge and/or Noise Reduction that would improve this audio ? Are there any other Noise Reduction aplications out there that would do better with this specific type of sound that aren't outragesouly priced ? Thanks for any suggestions you can provide. Tim

04-18-2003, 10:12 AM
My Audio guy, (he rents one of my suites), has had "fairly" good luck doing just that. He's in the hills right now, but I know you can get probably a 30%-50% improvement using Sound Forge.

The end result will have a artificial sound though, since you are taking out certain frequenies.
I'm sure you can deal with it.

04-18-2003, 02:24 PM
I use CoolEdit PRO for that and it does an amazing job. If there's a sample of the audio available anywhere (preferably with even a small part of just what you want to eliminate ie no vocals (it just needs a couple seconds in order to sample the noise)) I may try it to see if it can do the job. Has to be during this weekend cause I won't be here for the next week.

04-18-2003, 02:28 PM
I use cool edit and have had luck. It all depends on how bad the source is.

You can fix it some, but if you ahve gusts of wind during the time you recording the "I dos" then I think you may be in trouble

Good luck.

If it;s any consolation -- I have been there before too. It is windy as hell

Jim Capillo
04-18-2003, 02:39 PM
It's pretty easy if you can isolate a representation of the wind noise. Just sample it then have the program remove it. However, if you have different "frequencies" of wind noise, it may take several resamples/passes to get rid of a majority of the noise.

Beware - the end result may sound a bit weird, but you may be able to EQ the final result to acceptable limits.

Next time, foam socks for all the mics !!! ;) :D

Scott Bates
04-18-2003, 02:58 PM
Next time, foam socks for all the mics !!!
Better yet, big fat fuzzies. :D

04-19-2003, 07:38 PM
Listen to Scott bates advice. Rycote wind muffs are the standard in eng work & has saved my audio during many live interviews.

Prepare for the worst and expect the best,


04-21-2003, 06:28 AM
All the advice above is great.

In the future dedicate a track to ambient noise (like a screened ECM-44 set way off scene).

Then in post, lay that track inverted in phase over the vocal and most of the noise will eliminate itself.

Then take the new track and run it through SF, or CEP, and do noise reduction, and then you end up with something that doesn't sound like AM radio.

Jim Capillo
04-21-2003, 10:45 AM
Originally posted by johnnylandrover
Listen to Scott bates advice. Rycote wind muffs are the standard in eng work & has saved my audio during many live interviews.

They look kinda funny on lavs, though....... ;) :D :p

04-21-2003, 10:57 AM
My advice: music covers many sins. ;)

Remember that for wedding videos and other events where people are watching themselves, people will cut you a lot of slack since their memories of that day will fill in for any gaps in the production. You might be able to get away with a few snippets of usable location audio and some nice music and fluid, dreamy editing for the rest. (And shorten everything wayyyy up - nobody likes 2-hour-long wedding videos. Some of the best ones I've seen are less than 10 minutes!).

If you REALLY want the audio back, and the bride and groom are willing to cheat on history a little bit, you could completely recreate the audio Hollywood style, with them repeating their lines in your studio while watching the video portion for sync (in Hollywood this is called ADR for Automatic Dialog Replacement and it's how all big-time movies are made). You can add in some nice SFX for surf and birds, foley techniques for footsteps, etc., you can even be priest for a day. ;)

I only recommend this approach if the couple has a good sense of humor (warning: many brides are VERY SERIOUS about their weddings), and only if they weren't paying you for the production in the first place (amateurs can get away with this kind of thing; professionals can't. Which is why I will forever be an amateur ;)).

Good luck! -MG

(wind muffs) look kinda funny on lavs, though...
Not if they're constantly petting it in the shot. :D

04-21-2003, 04:59 PM

Rycote does make hairy wind muffs for Lavs.

04-21-2003, 05:11 PM
Sorry Jim,

For some reason I thought you posted that wind muffs are NOT available for lavs. Yes they do look weird but audio is very crisp in windy situations. I named my muffs Stewie and Bo from the animated feature B.C. Rock.


04-21-2003, 07:29 PM
Hello All;
Just thought I'd jump in here and thank you all for your comments on this topic in order to try to help me with my audio problems. In case any of you are wondering, I, and two friends have volunteered to shoot and edit this video at no charge. The wedding video is actually being done for one of my friend's relatives. Naturally, though ... whether or not we get paid (It could happen, who knows?) we still want to do as good a job as we can. We have done several weddings before but everytime nment was more controllable (We were inside a church and we used the church's sound sysetm to grab the audio). But in this most recent job, the ceremony was outside and we didn't anticipate the environment. We have already told the client (Our friend) that we had a problem with audio and they said that was OK. I also read one comment where the person said that some wedding videos are sufficient when they are only 5 minutes in length and I can believe this because we gave the client a 10-minute slide show with photos from the entire wedding before last Christmas and they really loved it. If you have any other thoughts, ideas, and comments, please continue to post them and thanks so much. Tim

04-24-2003, 02:36 PM
Jerry, how do you invert the phase?? Does Sound Forge do this?

05-08-2003, 08:47 PM
I recorded some family interviews at an event shoot, and I took everyone into a private bar area in the hall. There were some folks at the bar with the TV on low and some noise from air conditioning and some chatter going on. I knew I was in trouble, but it was raining outside and this was as quiet as it was going to get. I was using a boom mic dead on.

When I listened back to the audio, it was pretty bad. The solution?

I noticed that the bar and bar flies were to the left and the the sound from the interviews were equal on right and left channels. In sound forge I used the channel converter option to create a mono track using the quieter right channel. I then used the channel converter function again to bring it back to two channels. The bar noise was about 80% less noticible.

Anyway, if you were shooting parallel to the water with the ocean to your right and not much to your left. Isolate the left an right channels of sound and there is probably a huge difference. Select the better channel and go mono with it. Duplicate the quieter channel so you have left and right.

05-09-2003, 10:03 AM
Originally posted by kleima
Jerry, how do you invert the phase?? Does Sound Forge do this?

In Sound Forge, select the area you want to use as the background noise and click/drag the selection to outside the edit window.
This will open a new window containing your selection. Then select all in the new window and click/drag the selection back into the original window. A ghosted selection will appear and you can drag it around to position it where you want it. When you 'left unclick', a mixer requester will pop up and you will find an invert phase checkbox within the requester. While previewing, try different settings with the offset until you find the BG noise cancelled out.

hmm, hope this is helpful. I'm not at the edit system now and wrote the above from memory.

05-09-2003, 12:52 PM
Does this work with a small sample of background noise from a portion of the soundtrack being applied to the entire soundtrack? Or, do you have to have an entire synced track of background noise recorded from an off-scene mic?

05-11-2003, 12:59 PM
I would say it would be best to have the background noise long enough to span your entire soundtrack. Not too sure how well a synced track of the background noise recorded from an off-scene mic would match, but it may be worth a try.

I've never had an instance to do this particular routine, just figured out how to mix in an inverted phase clip.