How to Remove Background Noise in Premiere Pro: the Complete Guide

November 18, 2020

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Ask any video editor and they tell you that sound quality is even more important than visual quality.

This may sound surprising at first, but it's true.

Although audio quality isn't something we can see with our eyes, we pick up on it right away when sound quality is bad.

Even with pristine video quality, heavy background noise in the form of air conditioning, reverb from an echoey room, or other hissing and buzzing sounds in the background can be very distracting.

While eliminating background noise is best done while recording, we all know this isn't always possible. Thankfully, Premiere Pro has developed some great tools to help us reduce background noise in our videos during post-processing.

By the way, I just bought a new USB mic to record audio for my YouTube videos that doesn't break the budget and I'm LOVING it. The quality has blown me away. In case you're curious, here it is.

In today's post, we'll walk through just how easy it is to reduce ambient background noise in your video using Adobe Premiere Pro.

There are two primary ways to reduce noise through Premiere Pro. I'll walk you through both methods and when you may want to use one over the other.

Method 1 | Reduce Background Noise Using the Essential Sound Panel

Why use this method? It's the most straightforward and intuitive way. It will handle 95% of most audio edits that you may need to use.

Step 1 | Open Essential Sound Panel

First, you'll want to make sure that you've opened the Essential Sound Panel in Premiere Pro.

If you don't see it in your editing window, then navigate up to 'Window' -> 'Essential Sound' and ensure that it is checked.

You should now see a panel that looks like this:

Step 2 | Designate Your Clip As Dialogue

Select all the audio clips (one or more) in your timeline that you'd like to edit.

Now click 'Dialogue' in the Essential Sound Panel.

Your Essential Sound Panel will now look like this:

Step 3 | Open the Repair Tab in Essential Sound

Click on the tab that says 'Repair' and you'll see the following options:

Step 4 | Use the Sliders to Adjust the Amount of Noise Reduction

Reducing background noise in the form of air conditioning or other ambient sounds.

Check the first option 'Reduce Noise' to reduce these types of background noise.

Premiere Pro does a great job at isolating those low ambient noises to get rid of common noises produced from air conditioning, lights, etc.

Once you've checked this option, use the slider to adjust the amount of the effect that you'd like to apply.

As you play the audio clip back in your timeline, you can adjust the amount of effect in real time.

Listen to decide the correct amount. Start small and increase gradually.

You'll notice that the more of the effect you apply, the less natural the voice will sound as well. It's important to find the right balance here.

Remember that less is more and start with less than you think you may need.

Tip: I make first round adjustments, work on something else for a while, and then come back to tweak these adjustments once more. I find that my ears will have a more fresh take on how things sound the second time around.

Reducing background noises caused from wind noise, as well as bumps or scratches against the microphone.

The next option you'll find is the 'Reduce Rumble' effect.

If you have an accidental bump against a microphone or the microphone is scratching against skin or clothing, this would be the affect you'll want to try.

If you have loud, rumbling wind noise in the background, apply this effect as well.

Apply it to your clips by clicking the check mark while your audio clip is selected.

Now begin playing back your audio clip and adjust the sliders as you listen to eliminate as much of the noise as possible.

Reducing low frequency hum noises from machines or other background sounds.

Check the DeHum effect in order to get rid of constant, low frequency noises in the background.

These types of noises are often caused by electric cords or equipment causing low frequency tones in the background.

Apply this effect the same way as the others. Check to apply the effect and then use the slider to decide how much or how little to apply to your clip.

Reducing Sibilance or Distracting 'S' Sounds

Check the DeEss parameter to eliminate those harsh s sounds sometimes caused by very sensitive or too closely places microphones.

DeEss tool in premiere pro

Reducing Room Echo in the Background

If you don't have sound absorbing panels or you're recording in an environment that is wide open with lots of exposed windows or walls, no matter how great your mic is, you may encounter some unwanted reverb on your audio track.

Reduce Reverb Tool in Premiere Pro

This tool is very helpful at reducing the echo and reverb picked up on that microphone and giving your audio a warmer and more professional tone.

Using these key Essential Sound panel options should eliminate most ambient background noise from your audio clips, however if you are still hearing distracting noise and want to isolate even more background noise, move on to method 2.

With the next method we'll walk through a more detailed approach that can isolate even more background noise in your clips.

Method 2 | Reduce Background Noise Using the Effects Panel

If method one using the Essential Sound Panel window solves your background noise issues, then you can stop there. It's a great tool and so easy to use.

But in reality, there are times when you may have drastic background noise and you need some extra tools to help you get rid of it.

There are more tools at your fingertips within Premiere Pro that can help you isolate even more background noise, even beyond using the simple sliders found within the Essential Sound Panel.

1 | With your audio clip selected in the timeline, open up the effects panel.

2 | Type in 'Denoise' in the effect panel search box or navigate to 'Audio Effects' -> 'Noise Reduction/Resoration' and select 'Denoise'.

3 | Drag this effect onto the clip or clips that you'd like to adjust.

4 | Navigate up to the source window and select the 'Effect Controls' tab.

5 | Click 'edit' and you'll see another window open up. As you play your clip back, you'll hear and see the waveforms moving with your audio clip.

The bottom slider will control the total amount of this effect that you'd like to apply to your clip.

You'll see in this window that there are additional options - you can isolate which frequencies you'd like to effect - high, low, or mid.

You can also control the overall gain (or sensitivity) of the audio.

As you play back your audio, experiment with these different adjustments to find what works best for your clip.

Note: This works with any of the preset sound effects that you apply via the Essential Sound Panel window.

Once you've applied any of the effects in the preset sound effects panel, navigate over to the effects window and click 'edit'.

Another window will open up showing you several more specific parameters that you can control for each effect.

Although this may seem complicated, it's a great tool if you'd like to get even more specific with your sound edits.

If the Essential Sound Panel fixes your background noise, then stick with it. It's a great tool.

However, if you want to really dig deeper to isolate a specific sound, it's nice to know exactly where you can find more controls in order to do so.

Creating an Essential Sound Preset to Apply to All Your Audio Clips

Let's say that you've made all the necessary adjustments to your clip and you're happy with how it sounds.

What if you want to apply this effect to more clips within your timeline?

The easiest and quickest way to do this is by creating a custom preset that you can apply to any clips you'd like with a single click.

It's also a great feature to have if you'll be using a similar studio or setup in the future and want to save these settings for future videos.

1 | In the Essential Sound Panel, click on the little icon to the right with an arrow pointing down.

2 | Name your preset as you wish and hit ok.

3 | Select all the clips that you'd like to apply the effect to and open up the drop down preset window in Essential Sound.

Find your custom preset and click it.

That's it! All of your selected clips will now have your custom preset applied to them.

Concluding Thoughts

Just a note that I know and understand how frustrating it can be try and isolate annoying background noise.

And although Premiere Pro has made some incredible advancements in this technology, there are still going to be times when it's just tough.

Leave me your questions/solutions all about removing background noise in the comments below. I love learning other methods from you all and helping solve specific problems and questions whenever I can.

-Beth

Hi, I'm Beth.

I started Handcraft Films to give other filmmakers and photographers the gift of documenting their own stories for years to come. I hope you'll learn something new and share your creativity here.
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