The nemesis of people working with audio is noise. It comes in many different shapes and forms: wind, traffic, and other unwanted background noise if we’re filming outside. If we’re inside, it could be air conditioning, fans, room reverb, and low frequencies noises from home appliances like fridges and crackling doors.
There are plenty of reasons why noise can be in our recording, but once it’s there, there’s nothing we can do but try to mitigate it. It’s impossible to eliminate noise completely, but you can reduce it considerably with powerful noise reduction plugins and still obtain professional results.
Our laptops and smartphones don’t have professional built-in microphones, and we have to use external mics if we want to get good audio quality.
Often, these microphones tend to be more sensitive and pick up more background noise: this is particularly true when it comes to omnidirectional condenser microphones.
Today’s article will show how to remove background noise with Adobe Premiere Pro, even if you recorded it with a bad-quality microphone.
Maybe you’re unaware of it, but Adobe Premiere Pro has an audio editing feature that works incredibly well, almost like having Audition inside Adobe Premiere Pro! So you can do the whole audio-editing process without changing apps.
Just keep in mind that noise is like dust; it has a way of slipping through your audio even though you try to cover any sound source.
If you have multiple audio clips with noise, you’ll have to repeat these steps for each one of them. But don’t worry: I’ll explain how to remove background noise in Premiere Pro without going through the process multiple times simply by creating presets.
There are different ways you can remove background noise with Premiere Pro, and we’ll see each one so you’ll know how to approach every type of audio.
We’ll start with the denoiser effect, an easy tool you can use for your videos and keep in mind every time you record audio.
The first step is to open your project on Premiere Pro. If you have several clips you want to edit, choose the first one.
Go to your effects window, or activate it on Window > Effects and search for “DeNoise” or follow the path Audio Effects > Noise Reduction/Restoration > DeNoise. To add the denoiser effect, drag and drop it to your audio clip.
Now we’ll go to our Effect Control panel to find our DeNoise effect, and then click Edit. That will prompt a new window where we can adjust audio frequencies.
You can leave the default preset or try the ones Premiere Pro suggests. I’ll explain how to create your own at the end.
You’ll notice there’s only one Amount slider on the bottom, which defines how much of the noise reduction effect you want to add to your audio clip. It usually starts in the middle, and you can play your audio to listen and reduce or increase as needed.
Be careful and don’t focus on the noise only. The DeNoiser effect can affect the sound quality of your voice or background music, so add enough to reduce the unwanted noise without affecting your voice.
If you find your volume lower than it needs to be, you can use the Gain control on Premiere Pro on the right to increase it. Once you’re satisfied with the sound quality, close the window.
The second to remove background noise in Premiere Pro is to work within the Audio workspace ad use the Essential Sound panel. It will give you more tools to eliminate as much noise as possible. If you don’t see this panel, you’ll need to activate it first.
Premiere Pro’s Essential Sound panel is a powerful tool and the best option to remove background noise in Premiere Pro. It provides you with all the necessary mixing tools to enhance, mix and repair your audio.
The effects in Essential Sound are professional yet extremely easy to use, making it incredibly intuitive to unify loudness and remove low-frequency noises and background sounds. It’s the ideal audio workspace to reduce noise in Premiere Pro.
To activate the Essential Sound panel, go to Window > Essential Sound panel and check it. The Essential Sound panel will appear; select your audio clip and choose the tag Dialogue.
From the Essential Sound panel, a new menu with powerful features will appear as you click on Dialogue. In this menu, we’ll find a few sliders and options to remove background noise:
To adjust each slider, we check the box next to each option and then move the slider. For the “Reduce Noise” effect, you want to start by setting the slider down to 0 and then moving as you listen to the audio.
Sometimes when too many effects are applied, our audio will start to sound distorted, especially the voice. In those cases, it’s better to leave some audible background noise to keep our sound quality at its best.
The tools in the Essential Sound panel can greatly improve your audio but must be used wisely.
If you notice your voice quality was affected by the noise removal process, you can repair it in the Clarity tab. Check the box next to it, and a new menu will display below.
Here you can use the EQ option to reduce or boost specific frequencies in the recording. Select a preset you like (we recommend podcast voice) and adjust the amount of EQ for the audio with the slider.
You can also enhance your video sound with Enhance Speech and choose between high tone (female) or low tone (male).
When you’re happy with what you hear, close the window.
Creating presets will help you save time and have all these adjustments ready to use.
1. Go to the Essential Sound panel.
2. You’ll see the Preset dropdown menu below Dialogue; click on the icon next to it with a down arrow when you finish editing.
3. The Save Preset window will open; name your preset and click OK.
The next time you want to use your preset, select the clips you want to reduce background noise, and choose the new preset from the Preset dropdown menu. All the settings previously chosen will be saved.
1. After editing the DeNoise effects, right-click DeNoise on your Effect Controls panel and choose Save Preset.
2. Name your preset and click OK.
Sometimes audio clips are different even when recorded in the same place, so it might be necessary to make some adjustments. Working with presets will give you a starting point for future projects.
As you see, reducing background noise in Premiere Pro from your videos can deliver outstanding results.
Nonetheless, sometimes it’ll be very hard to reduce background noise during post-production. That’s why you should do your best to record in a quiet location with good equipment.
The best thing to do is treat your room with sound-absorbing panels to reduce reverb and low ambient noises and get the best recording equipment to produce as little background noise as possible. But somehow, the background noise will still be there.
When you record your audio professionally, post-processing becomes much easier. Find out which combination of effects works best for you and your audio. After some time, you’ll know right away how to reduce noise efficiently directly from your video editor.