Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Pain - I've Got Background Noise In My Video

I had the great pleasure of attending the Blogging While Brown Conference 2011 here in Los Angeles.

The session rooms were large. The microphones set-up either worked, half worked or didn't work at all. And the hum of the air conditioner was everywhere.

This is not a good thing for giving a presentation. It is worse for those that are recording them. To add to my misery, I left the Zoom H1 at home. It would not have helped with the wicked background noise but it would have given me better sound quality.

I can sit as close as possible and encourage the speakers to amp it up but there wasn't much more I could do.

Camcorder Options

On some camcorders there is a feature that allows you to have the microphone follow the focus. Flip that bad boy on if you have it. I don't.

You camcorder might have other audio features like adjusting the gain or monitoring sound levels.

Reviewing the Videos

This is a one time only event. I have good content but bad audio in a video really irritates people. I'm one of them.

The hum in the video is bad. Two of the speakers are not projecting; one person is a naturally soft spoken person. I 'may not be able to use any of that footage. The other folks are salvageable if I can get rid of the of the noise.

The choices come down to:
  • Add captions. I have friends that strongly encourage me to do this anyway but I still have to make the audio less annoying.
  • Not show the videos. The world will still turn if I do not upload them.
  • Fix the audio as best I can and upload. I have really good moments and I don't have to meet broadcast television standards. Still, bad audio is not desirable.
I'm trying out the various answers. The problem is that I'm not an audio engineer. I need accessible answers that do not involve purchasing a $600 audio suite.

This is what I have so far:

  • Masking the background noise using music
  • Using Audacity's Noise Reducing filter
  • Understanding and using High Pass and Low Pass filters
That is in addition to some of the software products I am discovering. I'm on the hunt for plain English usable suggestions on reducing background noise in the videos.

I'll keep you posted on what I find.

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