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Audio Optimization & Design for Extreme Sports Videos

Audio Optimization & Design for Extreme Sports Videos

Many action-packed videos are un-viewable because of their sound. The aim of this article is to upgrade footage, which may have been intense and impressive itself, but the video is almost unwatchable because of the noise. One good rule of thumb for this audio will be: bad audio should be minimized and, if possible, repaired or replaced with music. We will also look at some common tricks to accomplish this, as well as those available in SOUND FORGE Audio Studio 12 to fix audio in post-production.

Knowing your toolbox

Know your recording equipment

Here is some audio equipment you might want to consider investing in before going out on the road:

  • a microphone windscreen or deadcat

  • a proper camera microphone

  • a handheld audio recorder

Everything you do to improve an initial recording is the key to minimizing the stress of post-production. That‘s why it might be important to record some audio focusing primarily on the sound of your shoot instead of the video. This way, you‘ll have quality material that you can review in post-production, which was recorded under similar conditions and might come in handy later.

Know your audio

The first step in post-production needed is to assess whether the film’s raw audio is usable. You have a few options if an audio track isn’t usable due to noise: lowering the volume (to make poor quality audio less noticable) or removing bad audio and overlaying music; using audio restoration tools; or designing audio to improve or replace your bad audio. Regardless, keep in mind that your video should profit from its sound no matter what.

Know your post-production

You can import most forms of video with their audio into SOUND FORGE Audio Studio 12. If, for whatever reason, you experience issues during this process, detach your audio from your video and export it as a .wav file to import into SOUND FORGE, which you can use to replace the audio track into your video project at a later time.

Restoring audio

Using SOUND FORGE Audio Studio 12‘s DeNoiser tool, you will be able to filter and reduce ambient noises such as wind noise. Also, there are a number other noise reduction tools available in Audio Studio 12, which you can use to restore your audio (for example, the DeClipper and DeClicker/DeCrackler, among others).

Simply highlight a section of noisy ambient audio without important audio events and create a noise profile for the DeNoiser tool (by selecting Tools > Audio Restoration > „DeNoiser: Provide selection as a Noise Sample“ from the menu bar). Then you can apply this noise profile to your audio to reduce distractive audio.

Audio Design

If you prepare properly for your shoot, you can also use your recordings for audio design. Once you‘ve run the noise restoration tools in Audio Studio, you can now review the audio of your footage and make note of any destructive and disturbing audio events, as well as any audio events that you think you could replace them with by placing markers on the events with Ctrl+I.

With your main track open in one window, collect the sound samples you will use for replacement in a new window by clicking the New Window button under the File menu (or by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+N) and copying them from the main project and pasting them into individual sound effects projects using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V, respectively. Once you have collected a library of usable sounds, you can begin replacing destructive audio events.

If you are working within one SOUND FORGE project, you’ll do this by pasting the sample sounds into your main project. Be sure to use appropriate clips (i.e., sounds created with the same elements) and the cosine crossfade to avoid designing unrealistic sounds in your project‘s audio. You can create a cosine crossfade in SOUND FORGE by right-clicking the „sound forge audio studio 12 fade icon“ crossfade icon and choosing „Cos“ (see the figure below). With the proper choice of clips, this will result in a usable audio track, but be aware that some edits might be less apparent when paired with music.

sound forge audio studio 12 crossfade editing menu


The Final Wrap

Like it or not, an action cam video will be enhanced with music. Every edit you make to your raw audio track is to create more cohesion in the video, but lowering levels on an audio track and adding background music is a tried and true method for engaging your viewers. Use music to distract the ear from pesky noises and edits in your audio track.

Keep experimenting and keep notes of the edits you make and soon you’ll be well on your way to having a skilled hand! Go here to download a trial version of SOUND FORGE Audio Studio 12 and begin working on optimizing your audio!

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