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Tutorial: Reducing Background Noise and Removing Pops and Clicks in Final Cut Pro X

Background noise and pops and clicks in audio are an unfortunate fact of life for many productions. In this tutorial we'll explore some fixes you can try in Final Cut Pro X.

Applying Background Noise Removal

If we listen to a before and after, starting at 3:18 in the video clip that accompanies this tutorial, it sounds pretty quiet without the volume adjusted up, but when we boost the volume by 8 dB, we get some noticeable background noise.

We can minimize that using the Background Noise Removal tool in the Audio Enhancements panel. Select the clip if it's not already selected, enable Background Noise Removal (Figure 7, below). Then listen to the audio before and after noise removal at 3:53. You can see that the noise is removed because the quiet portions of the waveform are almost at the bottom of the waveform area.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 7. Background noise removed.

However, any time you apply Background Noise Removal you need to strike a balance between how much noise you remove and any distortion the noise reduction filter may introduce into the voice. If you listen to Dr. Sumie's voice at the 4:20 mark in the video tutorial, he sounds a little bit metallic-y. When this occurs, reduce the effect by moving the Background Noise Removal slider to the left. This puts a little bit of the noise back in, but it also ensures that the voice sounds more natural.

Before moving on to pops and clicks and other audio cleanup in your own projects, make sure the levels are still good. Sometimes, you may find you need to boost the audio a little bit more after the noise removal.

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