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So hear's the deal. I shot some video on my recent vacation to Las Vegas and now I'm editing a personal little video for my family. This is definately not something for profit or distribution.

So I don't know if you've been to Vegas or not but they have some spectacular fountains at the Bellagio hotel that are choreographed to music. I captured one of the displays on DV and would like to clean it up significantly for my video project.

I thought it would be as easy as simply dubbing the original music track over the video to get rid of all the background noise, hiss, people talking, etc., and get much more decent sound quality. Well, I achieved all those things but what I lost was a sence of realism. You see, in the original footage there are a lot of water jet bursts and spray sounds in the audio track and the effect of the video is just lost without them.

What I'd like to do is isolate those bursts and so forth while removing the music, background noises. etc. This way I can layer the sound effects over original video and then overdub the actual music track for clarity. I have extracted the audio track already from the DV footage to an .aif file. I'm hoping that someone with WAY more audio expertise than I could help me clean up this portion of the audio track. Video I can do, audio I cannot. I'm afraid that I can't offer anything more than my undying gratitude, or perhaps a couple rounds at the bar if you're in the GTA, but any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance to anyone with a kind heart and a little time on their hands.

Cheers,
Macman.
 

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dude, I would love to help, but I've not played with DV software yet. But from the sounds of it, it should be possible, esp with iMovie3's now vastly expanded audio capabilities, no? I sounds like you might have to use at least 2 tracks - drop the vol on the original sound track - while maintaining a full vol on the bursts - and then adding your new music on the other track, no? How many tacks are avail in iMovie3 anyhow? Hope that made sense. ;)

Oh yeah, I go to Vegas 2wice a year for work. I'm off there in like 2 weeks. Looking fwd....
 

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You should be able to do this relatively easily yourself.

Lay your original audio track back down under the video in iMovie. Splice your audio just before each water burst and after the splashing sound that follows, delete the rest of the audio so you only hear your splashes. Then do quick fade-ins and fade-outs on those bursts. You will then be left with your newly laid music track and the splashes you wanted.

This should give you the effect you want. It will take a little time depending on the number of bursts there are...but you should get the dose of realism you are looking for.

Also, if you can hear the original music underneath the water bursts, be sure you have moved the clips and synched them up as best you can with your newly laid music track.

Good luck! ;)
 

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In the movies, they make their own sound effects.

Your camcorder (and it's microphone) and some playing around in the kitchen sink, a glass of water and the shower, etc. would probably do it. Try buckets, glasses, spoons, different landing heights, whatever. Have fun, play around, get the kids to help (if they're around).

It might help if you can see the video on your Mac to get things right, but usually you don't have to be that careful; we automatically conclude that sound & video is more realistic than sound alone, a human brain phenomena the movies figured out about 80 years ago.

Once you assemble the sound effects with the audio (.AIF high-quality audiotrack) you may find you like the results much better.

You may find the following audio tools valuable for editing the soundtrack, but actual assembly of your sound bits with the music should be done in your video editor (iMovies, etc). If you are new to audio, these programs may be a bit daunting, but they are actually easy once you figure out the interface. You will be able to edit out the sound effects with Spark, and they are very high quality apps (Paid versions of both are the tools used to make the CDs you buy).

TC Works Spark ME (OS9/OSX, stereo, free)
DigiDesign ProTools Free (OS9 only, multitrack, free)

Alternately, you could try mixing in the sound track from the movie with your preferred audio file. Assuming you can "line them up" in sync, then you can alter the level of each track to provide both a better audio and still get the cues from the sound effects. Syncing the two music tracks may prove difficult, though. Still, if it works, you're fine. You can try using:
Amazing Slow Downer (shareware) MacUpdate Search: ASD
... to help sync the two music tracks; it will alter the speed (ie time) of an audio file without altering the pitch (ie it won't get higher or lower in pitch, so it sounds normal, only slower or faster). I would probably use the higer quality audio file as the time master and sync the camcorder sound with ASD if necessary.

Finally, you can pay for noise reduction software. One product you may find useful for any video project is BIAS SoundSoap; if you plan to do a lot of moviemaking it's probably worth the price to you. You should be able to tweak it's controls to give you enough of the sound effects on your video track to make it real enough (I would try a setting that removes everything but vocals first, it should leave the basic cues for your water, etc while removing music and noise). Bias, Inc

I generally prefer AIFF for quality audio files (over the propretary MS WAV format).

Keep in mind that our brains are very good at detecting variations in noise, sound level, etc; so that you may find you have to leave in some background hash to cover up you edits.

Take a few breaks, you won't be hearing properly if you try to listen to all those little changes over a long period. I would strongly suggest you don't commit to any edits, but instead listen again the next day.
 

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I have a buddy in the GTA who is a composer and does a lot of work for the CBC, Canadian Tire and other high profile clients. So when it comes to audio, he knows his stuff.
http://www.intuitivmusic.com/home.htm

Any way, I emailed him to get his thoughts on your problem and here's what he had to say:

"I can't give him much more advice than what's been posted. You can remove noise like hiss or hum from an audio track but you can't really remove music or spoken voices - There's too much variance and the software and hardware that removes sounds from audio depends on constants. The best he'll come up with is layering the tracks over top of each other - which won't really unless you sync it perfectly and invert the phase (otherwise it'll sound tiny with weird overtones)."

I hope this helps.
 

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I have to disagree with you on this one vertigogo... I believe imovie will let you draw an aduio level for each channel (of which there are two). its simply a matter of when the water whooshes :D bring up the level of the original track and duck the music underneath (a tried and true radio trick). it will be more subtle than cutting the track completely when the water hits. hope that helps.
 
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