Editing Birds for Non-Repeating Ambiences

This week I went out to record some bird calls for a non-repeating game ambience. This proved to be slightly problematic for two reasons. 1. Birds rarely stay still and are generally found in tall trees. 2. Birds are fairly quiet compared to ambient noise.

Here is an example of what I managed to record at the woods.

Recorded at 96k/24bit with a Rode NTG-3 and a Fostex FR-2

As you can hear the bird call is masked by a lot of background noise and is quite quiet. To be used in a non-repeating ambience the call needs to be as clean as possible so that it can be randomly triggered without affecting the looping background.

So the next step was to EQ out the background road noise, I did this using auditions parametric EQ, using a high pass filter with a cut-off frequency of 333hz.

The call is allot clearer now but is really quiet so I normalized this sound to -0.1db

The process of normalizing the sound has brought up the noise floor considerably. So this needs to be removed from the call. I did this using the hiss removal process in audition. In some cases I had put the calls through the hiss removal process twice to completely remove the noise, although one pass did the trick 99% of the time.

Nice clear noise-free single bird calls ready to be put into a non-repeating ambience.