In this post, we’re looking at basic audio editing techniques that can drastically improve your screencast recordings. From removing background noise to editing out slip-ups and mistakes, there are many easy fixes you can make to bring your videos up to a professional level.
Further, our Learning Library plan, which costs just $25 per month, includes hundreds of videos on audio and video editing that will expand upon and go far beyond the tips we’re presenting here.
Separating Audio and Video
It may seem unnecessary, since many audio editing programs now support working with audio tracks within video, but it’s still a good idea to separate your audio and video into separate files, and then merge them back together before the video editing stage.
This allows you to apply filters, make corrections, and heavily modify aspects of the audio with a variety of programs, without having to worry at all about the effect on the video file. Many free and low-cost tools are capable of separating and joining audio and video tracks; our recommendation is Quicktime 7 Pro.
Removing Background Noise
While we highly recommend turning off noisy fans and air conditioning units and using grounded electrical outlets, sometimes such precautions are outside of your control, or it’s just too late. Don’t worry; there are plenty of software solutions to help with exactly these sorts of issues.
One answer is to use a specialized program to remove constant background noise, such as Soundsoap. At $150, it’s not a cheap option, but if you are doing a lot of audio or video production, it’s well worth the cost. It’s tools are extremely simple to use, and it has a proven track record.
The other option is to use existing tools and options built in to your audio editing platform. In the case that you are using Adobe Audition, these clips from our Audition CC training course will get you started.
Reducing Background Noise
Silence and Cutting
The bulk of the audio editing job will be silencing and removing stuttering, filler words, and heavy breaths between words. This is also the stage when you will be taking out any mistakes in narration.
While deleting a problematic section of audio can certainly get the job done, it’s not what you want to do if you’ve separated the audio and video files as we previously recommended. The edited audio file will need to match its original length so it can be synced with the video file before the next stage of editing.
If you are using Adobe Audition, it’s best to use the Silence command after highlighting the spot you want to remove. Creating a keyboard shortcut or even custom mouse setting can save you time with this, as it’s likely a command you’ll use again and again.
Also, if you are Cutting out a problem spot within your audio track, you should paste it into the closest available pause between statements and then silence the excised audio, thus maintaining the overall track length.
Rerecording and Replacing
If you’re really going for the professional finish, rerecords of misspoken sentences can be necessary. If it’s just a problematic word or two, sometimes you can find a better version within the same file or recording session that you can simply paste in its place.
If the word or words cannot be easily replaced, asking the narrator to rerecord under the same conditions they creating the initial recording (same room, microphone, computer) is your best bet. Rerecords should be complete statements or longer phrases, as recording individual words and sounds will probably not have the correct intonation when pasted back in.
Once you pasted in replacement words or sentences, either through rerecording or finding usable fixes within a track, you must again make sure that your final audio track maintains the correct total length. Adding or removing silence from pauses between sentences is a fast and easy way to trim or expand your track accordingly.