Final Cut Pro: Using the Frequency Spectrum for a Clear Sounding Soundtrack

When editing high quality sound it isn't enough to just see the wave form of your audio, you also want to see the frequency spectrum. Thankfully, Soundtrack Pro is an advanced audio editing program that comes with Final Cut Pro. Like Compressor and Livetype, Soundtrack Pro is software that's too advanced to be included as a part of Final Cut so it needs to be its own program. One of the features that makes Soundtrack so superior is that you ca view your sound's frequency spectrum for editing. This opens up a lot of possibilities in creating a clear sounding soundtrack.

A Note about the Importance of Capturing Great Sound

Audio is one of those things that is very difficult to fully correct in post production. There are some things that you can do to make poor audio sound better, but it will never sound as good as perfect audio captured on set. When shooting a video try to hire a professional sound man. If that's not feasible then make sure you're wearing headphones when shooting so you can hear how the audio is coming along.

Because audio is tricky to correct, a lot of movies employ what is called ADR, additional dialogue recorded. When the audio in a scene is subpar they bring the actors in to rerecord their lines, dubbing them over the audio captured when the scene was shot.

Analyzing Problems

Listen carefully to your audio to identify what the problem with it is. A slight hiss can be corrected, while an echoing voice cannot. Listen and analyze. The first step in getting what you want is knowing what it is. Keep in mind that if the problem is simple you might be able to use an audio filter in Final Cut to correct the problem.

Open Your Audio in Sound Track Pro

If there is a hiss that will not go away then select the clip you wish to work with. Control-click the clip and choose "Open in Editor." This will launch Sound Track Pro and your clip will open in the program. Please note that any changes you make and save here will overwrite your original audio in Final Cut.

Display the Frequency Spectrum

Once your clip is loaded in Soundtrack Pro, click the "Display Frequency Spectrum" button at the top right of the screen. Now you can see a vertical view of your sound wave. You can see your speaker's voice along side background noise.  

Deleting Background Noise

You can tell the background noise apart from the main sound because it is smaller and scattering. Now, if you want to delete it, simple option+click and drag your mouse over that area to select it. Then hit delete and it is gone.


Odds are you either deleted too much or too little. Play back the clip and listen to it. If it doesn't sound right, then undo what you did and try again.

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