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Removing background sounds/music . . .FILM

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November 26, 2012 3:17:21 PM

Hello, I need to isolate the voice tracks in old movie clips from any background sounds or musical scores that may lie underneath. The reason for this is two fold: One, I need isolated voice tracks to be able to re-edit dialogue without chopping up any underlying sounds or music. Secondly, while the clips I'm working with are from films in Public Domain, many times the musical scores from those films is still under copyright. I need to be able to replace existing scores with original music as needed. Since these clips are from older movies from the 1940s and '50s, the sound will most likely be mono, so selecting the mid-panned audio is not possible.
November 26, 2012 3:21:33 PM

If the sound is mixed down to a single channel then it's impossible to isolate any single element, you'd need the original unmixed audio tracks.
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November 26, 2012 8:22:56 PM

Thanks a lot for that very insightful observation. As these films are fifty to sixty years old, and some very obscure at that, I doubt the original audio tracks still exist for some of them . . . even if I could afford them.
Yes, I realize the background sound/music can't be removed entirely, but there has to be a way to filter it out enough to where I can mask what remains with a new score. That's what I'm looking for. Otherwise I may just have to ADR the voices over using sound-alikes.
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November 26, 2012 8:38:14 PM

Stop and think about it for just a moment. You can't filter out just music (or even reduce it) without also having a negative effect on dialog, sound effects, etc. since all of it occurs within the same spectrum. And, since it's dynamic, you can't simply apply a fixed filter. You can try but I doubt the results will be usable.

Your problem is very similar to some of the situations I encountered as a SONAR Tech. We had millions of dollars worth of VERY specialized equipment available to us and still had to live with far less than perfect results.
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