Removing Background Air-conditioner Noise from Interview Video Recording

This week I recorded a video interview at my client's office.

The chosen meeting room was isolated from the office noise except for the Aircon blower inside.

I could lower the fan speed but cannot totally turn it off.

What's left is to reduce the noise during editing.

Here's how I did it with Adobe Premiere Pro and Audition...
  1. Drop the raw video footage onto the timeline in Premiere Pro.
  2. Change both audio channels to the right (because the wireless mic is connected to the right channel audio input, while the left is the on-camera mic as backup)
  3. Right-click on the audio of the video clip.
  4. Select Edit Clip in Adobe Audition. Adobe Audition will open.
  5. Inside Adobe Audition, select a range of the clip where there is no other sound except the aircon noise.
  6. Right-click on the range and select Capture Noise Print.
  7. Select the whole audio clip.
  8. Go to main menu and select Effects > Noise Reduction / Restoration > Noise Reduction (process).
  9. Tweak the settings inside the Noise Reduction panel while playing back the audio in real time.
  10. Noise Reduction at 100% results in unnatural sounding voice and some gurgling  background noise.  Somewhere between 70% to 90% works best for me.  Thats why they call it noise REDUCTION and not noise REMOVAL.
  11. At the same time, tweak the Reduce by level till you get the best combination.  10db to 20db worked for me.
  12. Under the Advanced section, you can improve the quality further by tweaking the Spectral Decay Rate (20% to 30%), Smoothing and Transition Width.
  13. Click Apply when done tweaking.  The whole audio clip will be processed.
  14. From the main menu, select Effect > Special > Vocal Enhancer. ( The overall volume became softer after the noise reduction, so Vocal Enhancer helps) 
  15. Select default and click Apply.
  16. From the main menu, select File > Save.
  17. Go back to Adobe Premiere Pro and and the audio for the video clip will be changed automatically.
We can continue to edit as per normal.  I like to remove the background noise from the whole raw footage before editing, in order to maintain consistency.

Adrian Lee

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