Home Non-Linear Editors: EQ Tips & Tricks 5 Pro Tips to Reducing Wind Noise: Video Edition

5 Pro Tips to Reducing Wind Noise: Video Edition

5 tips to reducing wind noise
Wind noise Tips & Tricks

These Tips to Reduce Wind Noise can help those who need to use post production to tame strong, distracting wind noise from audio recordings.

Ok, so you have wind noise on your recording and it’s distracting you from fully absorbing yourself into the visuals. There’s no chance to re-record, dialogue is suffering from lack of clarity, the scene is more chaotic and it feels amateurish.

The fundamentals of Compressors and EQ won’t be covered here, but will get you started working harmoniously with the fundamental architecture of both plugins. It’s worth noting that there are a number of customisable Wind Noise Reduction presets available for those with little to no knowledge of audio compression and EQ.

The good news is: some techniques do exist in post that can remedy Wind Noise, tame Wind Noise and in some cases mask Wind Noise completely

No. 5 – Assess the Problem

First off, Wind Noise does not always sound the same. If you use your ears you’ll hear it sounding Boomy (bassy sub frequencies) Boxy (Middly and Growly) and/or Sharp (Whistly and Harsh).

Not all noise sounds the same
1Insert an EQ plugin at the very beginning of the plugin chain on your audio channel
2Set one of your frequency bands to cut @ -12dB and whilst playing back your windy audio, sweep the frequency control from 1kHz down to 20Hz and back again very slowly
3Listen to where the Wind Noise reduces the most, look to find the center frequency of which most of the wind noise is comprised
4Make a note of that frequency (or frequencies) – you’ll need it later

No. 4 – Clean Up

Frequencies below 20Hz are inaudible to the human ear and are taking up unneeded space in coded audio information. Subby Wind Noise can also be embellished there. Cutting all frequencies below 40Hz is the first step to opening up your source audio and having it breath

Reduce Wind Noise Low Shelf EQ in FCPX
High Pass and Low Pass at extreme setting
1Using the EQ plugin inserted in tip No 5
2Look to the far left of your EQ window and engage the ‘High Pass’ shelf filter
3Most Equalisers come equipped with ‘shelf’ EQ also know as ‘High Pass‘ EQ (letting high frequencies ‘pass’ unchanged) and this is where you can cut everything below 40Hz
4Set the Center frequency to 40Hz

No. 3 – Dynamically Reduce Wind Noise in Real-Time

Now you have identified which frequencies contain the most Wind Noise in your recording we want to dynamically reduce these levels in real-time.

Static alone equalisation won’t do it. An EQ cutting 180Hz at -6dB will cut the warmth and low end from the entire recording.

Multiband compression can compress certain frequencies dynamically reducing levels over time.

This is the basic setup for a Wind Noise reducer – discover your own frequencies in order to customise it
1Insert a multiband compressor after the EQ on your audio channel or clip
2The 1st and 2nd ‘bands’ are those that reduce the low frequencies where wind noise resides
3Essentially you are looking at 4 separate compressors that reduce the level of 4 different frequency bands
4Now set the compressor to reduce only the frequency of the Wind Noise and nothing more
5Look Top Left of the plugin for ‘Crossover‘ and set the ‘Mid’ frequency from 2000Hz to 800Hz
6Set the ‘Crossover’ Low frequency to the frequency you found in No.5 Assess the Problem above. 250Hz, for example (Boxy, growly wind noise)

No. 2 – Zone In On the Sweet Spot

With the compressor now tuned to only compress low frequencies it can dynamically reduce Wind Noise during playback.

1Reduce the ‘threshold’ control of the lower most band to -24dB
2Reduce the ‘threshold’ control of the mid band to -24dB
3Press play to see the compressor reduce these low frequencies dynamically
4Slowly reduce the ‘threshold’ control of the lower most band back up towards 0db whilst playing back your audio
5Watch the ‘level reduction’ meters with playback and use your ears – as the Wind Noise blows and growls, watch and listen to the compressor reducing it’s level
6Try to aim for -6db maximum reduction on the meter

No. 1 – Gain Up

Try to think in terms of give and take. When taking away, give back proportionally. With dynamic reduction of 6db due to wind noise your output level will be lower. Adding back 3db will lift into focus all the uncompressed frequencies more pleasant to the ear.

1Using your compressor plugin set the ‘Output Gain’ to between +1.5dB and +3.5dB
2The channel fader isn’t often used for level adjustments in processing – faders are primarily for mixing a number of audio sources together, not level adjustments after processing

Get to Know Multiband Compression

Ok, there’s a lot of theory coming at you but understanding compression can help you tame problem frequencies in your camera audio. It’s not easy to think about sound in terms of imagery but that is in effect what sound is – the sonic representation of our physical reality, and as such is likewise bound by time (frequency) and space (level). Dynamic reduction of sonic problems can feel more natural and less processed than using static EQs and DeNoise techniques.

I hope these 5 tips get you on the path to taming Wind Noise in your DLSR audio recordings.. tell us how it works out for you!