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How to Save a Botched Marketing Video Audio Track

Many things can go wrong when you record audio for your marketing video. As with botched video footage, some tricks at least make a bad-sounding audio track usable. This list describes the most frequent problems — and how to fix them:

  • The sound level is too low. Many cameras record at fairly low sound levels. You can boost the level by using the Normalize Clip Volume (or similarly named) button in your editing program, boosting the track volume, or using a compressor filter.

  • The audio track has too much ambient noise. Did the camera operator record an interview near a busy street? If so, you can use equalizer tricks to enhance the interviewee’s voice. Start with the Voice Enhance equalizer setting and the Reduce Background Noise filter included in most editing programs. Then fine-tune these parameters to create the most intelligible voice track possible.

    Simply reducing low frequencies often works well with traffic and wind noise. If you still can’t get audio you can understand, either try an advanced audio editing program such as Pro Tools or hire a freelance audio engineer to help. An experienced professional can sometimes save more sound than you would expect.

  • You can hear distracting noises in the background. If the sound recording from the location has one or two distracting noises on it (such as a slamming door), you can often save the track by slicing out the unwanted noise and replacing it with an audio sample that has no activity.

    You should always record some room tone (silence with ambient noise) on location, and now is the time to use it.

  • The dialogue is unusable. Sometimes you simply can’t save a voice track. Maybe your talent stood too far from the microphone, or the ambient noise covers everything else. In interview situations, it’s sometimes difficult to even hear the interviewer.

    The only way to save this kind of situation is to overdub the voice track, which involves the same person speaking exactly the same lines with exactly the same timing into a microphone in the editing studio. The result is a clean voice track. Then replace the original sound with the overdubbed track, which can be quite time-consuming.

    Adding ambient sound makes everything sound more natural. Overdubbing is fairly tricky and requires patience.

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