Final Cut Pro: What are Equalization Filters?

In Final Cut Pro, equalization filters can serve many purposes. With equalization filters, you can decrease or eliminate background noise and make the voice of a narrator stand out over the rest of the audio in your clip or project. With equalization filters, you can also apply special effects, such as making someone's voice sound as if it were coming through a loudspeaker.

Standard Equalization Filters

Final Cut Pro comes standard with the following equalization filters:

  • Parametric Equalizer
  • 3 Band Equalizer
  • Notch Filter
  • Band Pass Filter
  • Low Shelf Filter
  • DC Notch
  • Low Pass Filter
  • High Pass Filter
  • High Shelf Filter

Equalization Filter Controls

Equalization filters always use a combination of three different controls. The most commonly used controls are frequency, Q and gain. The frequency slider allows you to select a specific audio frequency that you wish to boost. The next section in this guideline will go over the different audio frequencies. Once you set a value on the frequency, you are able to use the Q slider. The Q slider adjusts the bandwidth of the filter resonance. Gain is a setting that allows you to decide just how much you wish to boost a specific audio frequency.

Low Frequencies

Humans have the ability to hear frequencies that range from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Low frequencies range from 20 Hz to 250 Hz. There are not many devices available that are capable of producing a sound this low. Generally speaking, you will find some bass frequencies and speakers that are capable of producing a frequency that ranges from 20 Hz to 250 Hz. Some of the speakers will require an amplifier in order to make the sound loud enough so that humans can hear it. If you are working with audio that was captured in the outdoors, there may be some background noise from the wind. You can minimize or eliminate that background noise by removing 60-80 Hz by using the frequency and gain controls. If you would like to emphasize the sound of an instrument like a drum, you can add 30 Hz or so for additional impact.

Midrange Frequencies 

Midrange frequencies range from 250 Hz to 4,000 Hz. These frequencies are the ones that humans are most sensitive to. Midrange frequencies are generally the frequencies that humans speak in. Working with audio that has midrange frequencies in Final Cut Pro is a plus, because it is easier to make audio tracks stand out. As you will see mentioned with high frequencies, you should not include too much audio that has a frequency that hovers around 4,000 Hz, because the sound can be very grating to the human ear after awhile.

High Frequencies

High frequencies range from 4,000 Hz to 20,000 Hz. It is not advised that you use audio that contains high frequencies often in your project, as the sound can be very grating. On the plus side, if you use high frequencies very sparingly throughout your project, you will be able to add a bit of brightness to your audio mix. High frequency audio does not affect bass or speech intelligibility.

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