Captain Planet! He's not being my hero...
November 29, 2011 1:18 PM   Subscribe

How to remove vocals?

I'm working on a video--I'm trying to remove the vocals from the Captain Planet intro and use the music as a backing track. I tried following some tutorials on Youtube for Audacity, and it did nothing... Could be pilot error (I'm a total n00b) but does anyone have any advice for removing vocal tracks? Is it totally impossible to remove vocals? I'd settle for mostly removed, because I'm going to re-narrate anyway. Help!
posted by emkelley to Technology (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It pretty much is impossible.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:35 PM on November 29, 2011

To say a bit more:

If you have a multitrack recording, you can use software like Audacity to remove certain tracks while leaving the rest.

If all the tracks have been combined into a unified stereo recording, it is pretty much impossible to separate them, except perhaps as part of a PhD thesis at the MIT Media lab or some such.

Where did you get your video? It's theoretically possible that it has the vocals on a separate audio track, although it is unlikely.
posted by alms at 1:40 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

PAiA has their Vocal Zapper that is supposed to do this. I don't have personal experience with it so I can't vouch for the effectiveness.
posted by tommasz at 1:49 PM on November 29, 2011

This might help for your specific case: I remember Captain Planet had a video game as well, maybe that has the music only (seeing as at the time it was difficult to have music so it was like midi tones). Maybe you want to see if there's any videos of that on youtube? There was at least a version for the amiga.
posted by kg at 1:54 PM on November 29, 2011

In stereo recordings, the vocal is often in the exact center (the same on the right and left channels) while instrumental tracks are (partially or totally) panned to one direction or the other. If this is the case for your source track, certain techniques can be used to mostly remove the vocal without removing much of the instrumental sound. Depending on exactly how everything is panned, this can work very well or hardly at all.

If your source is a mono file, the above wont work. Your best hope is to use EQ to lower the bands where most of the singing occurs.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 1:56 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

It is very difficult, but here is an Audacity link that might help :

I tried to find an instrumental for you, but it was to no avail. You might be able to pay someone to recreate it for you!
posted by 200burritos at 4:55 PM on November 29, 2011

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