Advanced Video Camera and Editing

Equalisation, or EQ

Controlling audio frequencies requires knowing some common terms:

Bass – low frequency (what gives you the, deep, rumbling or thumping vibrations that can often overpower higher frequencies)

Treble – higher frequencies – if too loud the audio will sound piercing or “tinny.”

Most audio sounds best when the bass and treble have been balanced, or equalised. This is done best by boosting or attenuating the frequency levels individually.

3-Band EQ

This filter allows you to independently control the 3 common frequency ranges that shape sound - the high, mid, and low frequencies. 

Tip: Because audio mixing is additive, it is generally better to attenuate the frequencies you don’t want rather than boost the ones you do.

Adjusting the EQ

Although Final Cut Pro has an effective 3-Band EQ filter, Soundtrack Pro offers even greater control.

  • Select the clip
  • Choose File > Send To > Soundtrack Pro Audio File Project
  • Save the new audio file to your project folder
  • In Soundtrack Pro, choose Process > Effects > EQ > Channel EQ. The Channel EQ window opens. 

The vertical scale represents the amplitude (volume), and the horizontal scale the frequency (pitch). To equalise the sound simply click the horizontal frequency line at the centre of the graph and drag it up and down.

Click the Play button at the lower right of the EQ window so you can preview your changes in real time. As the clip plays you can experiment with changes to the equalisation graph.

Correcting Highs and Lows

The most common EQ challenges result from rumbling found in poor microphone handling or the high-pitched whining of microphone feedback.  

Using a High Pass filter could help reduce the lower frequencies. In contrast, a Low Pass filter removes sounds above a specified frequency.

Both Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro have pass filters. However, there are also roll-off buttons (at the top of the EQ Window) that perform a similar service by adding a steep reduction of the lowest and highest frequencies. The Bass roll-off is the button at the far-left while the Treble button is the one on the right.

Click the Bass Roll-off button. The low frequencies are eliminated from the clip.

Click Apply to add the effect to the clip, and then save and close the project to return to Final Cut Pro.