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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.

Removing Clicks

Next, let's go after the clicks. You can hear one playing at the 4:54 mark in the video tutorial (just before the 4-second mark in the timeline). To fix this issue, zoom in on the timeline and click the B key to turn the selector into a razor blade. Now you can use the razor blade to isolate the click region, as shown in Figure 8 (below).

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 8. Using the razor blade to surgically remove the click.

Once you've isolated the click, select A to bring back the selection pointer. Now, if you wanted to delete this area, just select it and choose Delete. But if you choose this approach, you'll hear dead air in the deleted area (listen at 5:29). In most cases, this is not a good solution, since it eliminates the room tone that's in the rest of the clip which makes the edit obvious and distracting.

Press Command+Z to undo and return the deleted region to the audio clip. The better approach is to replace the click with some ambient noise. In this project, if you scan the waveform, you'll notice ambient noise just before and after the click, as represented by the low, flat regions of the waveform (see the flat area below the selector in Figure 9, below).

Apple Final Cut Pro X

Figure 9. The flat area in the waveform below represents an area of the clip where there's only ambient noise.

To replace the click with ambient noise, press the T key to select the Trim pointer, and then click and drag inside the isolated clip region until you see ambient noise area come into the cut area where the click used to be. If you listen to audio that plays at the 6:35 mark in the video tutorial, you'll hear that click is gone and replaced with ambient noise. You can see how that region now looks in Figure 10 (below)—very low volume, no peaks.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 10. The click region replaced with ambient noise.

Next, we'll attack the big click at the end. Zoom in, press the B key to select the razor blade. Isolate the clip, press the T key to select the Trim cursor, and then drag a nearby region of ambient noise here into the click region here by left-clicking the mouse and dragging it over. Again, we've replaced the click with ambient noise and fixed the problem.

So that's it. You're seldom if ever going to capture absolutely perfect audio on location, but it's nice to know that Final Cut Pro has a couple of ways to help remove pops and clicks, boost volume, and remove background noise to make your audio sound better.

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