Man in front of a computer screen and speakers with Adobe Premiere on the screen. Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

After your video shoot when you begin reviewing your footage, you may realize that some of your audio is not as cleanly recorded as you would like. It is always ideal to record pristine audio in the field rather than attempting to correct it in post. However, there are some strategies that you can utilize in Adobe Premiere that will enable you to cut down unwanted background audio noise.

Start by trying these tips to clean up your audio.
Use the DeNoise Effect: 

While Premiere’s DeNoise effect can’t always save poorly recorded audio tracks from extremely loud environments, it is a powerful tool that can clean up audio with a faint hiss or noise.

To utilize the DeNoise option for quick minimal cleanup:

  1. Go to your Premiere timeline and identify the audio track that you wish to correct.
    An image of the Adobe Premiere Pro timeline with an audio clip highlighted
  2. Select the Window option at the top of Premiere and then select Effects.
  3. In the Effects tab, search for DeNoise.
    Screenshot of the Adobe Premiere Pro interface showing the user searched for the DeNoise Audio Effect
  4. Left click and drag the DeNoise effect onto the audio track in the Timeline that you wish to correct.
  5. Go to the Effect Controls tab. If you do not see it open in your user interface, you can select Window > Effect Controls.
  6. In the Effect Controls tab, you will notice under Individual Parameters, the Amount option. Select the slider under the Amount option and drag it to the left or the right to adjust the percentage of the DeNoise effect being utilized as needed.
    Screenshot of Adobe Premiere Pro Effect Controls Panel with the DeNoise Effect added
  7. As you adjust, listen. If you DeNoise too much, your audio may begin to sound unnatural. Find the sweet spot where your audio is enhanced but still sounds “real to life.”

Use the Essential Sound Panel Dialogue Repair Option:

Premiere’s Essential Sound Repair option provides a variety of ways to clean up noisy dialogue, remove unwanted background noise, and will provide you with more flexibility than the DeNoise effect (described above) for specific dialogue cleanup needs.

To utilize Essential sound:

  1. Go to Window at the top of Premiere and select Essential Sound.
    Screenshot of Adobe Premiere showing the Essential Sound in the menu
  2. In the Timeline, click and select which piece of audio you would like to adjust.
  3. Go back to Essential Sound and select Dialogue
    Screenshot of Adobe Premiere Pro Essential Sound Panel. Shows the Dialogue Audio Type selected.
  4. In the Dialogue panel select Repair. Then utilize the options below based on your needs. 
    Screenshot of Adobe Premiere Pro Essential Sound Panel Repair options

As a jumping off point, a few helpful audio repair options within Essential Sound include:

Reduce Noise: Premiere’s noise reduction function aids in isolating certain unwanted ambient frequencies.

Clean up noise by checking the box next to Reduce Noise. Then, use the slider to reduce noise as needed. Remember, don’t reduce too far or your audio may sound unnatural, defeating the purpose of noise reduction. 

Screenshot of the Adobe Premiere Pro Essential Sound Panel options for Reduce Noise and Reduce Rumble Sliders

Reduce Rumble: This function comes in handy when trying to isolate and remove sounds of a car rumble, a microphone that was knocked around during production, scratching noises or (minimal) wind. Select the Reduce Rumble checkbox and adjust as needed.

DeHum: The DeHum option will aid in removing low frequencies that are prevalent in common background noises such as a low fridge or computer hum.

Screenshot of the Essential Sound Panel's DeHum Slider

Reduce Reverb: If you have recorded audio in a room that does not absorb sound well, you may be able to eliminate some of the reverb in the space to make the dialogue sound more natural. Just remember, this plugin will not save audio recorded in extreme conditions.

This is just a beginner’s guide. You can always dive deeper into Premiere audio correction techniques. There are a variety of tools that require a bit more knowledge to use but can aid in cleaning up audio. Also, remember, the best way to achieve clean audio is to record it cleanly during production.

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