How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

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How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby msurailfan » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:50 pm

In a lot of today's youtube videos, photographers have been able to edit silent the chimes of crossing bells. I'm just going to be starting shooting video with my new 70D I received for Christmas, and I would like to do this but I'm not sure how to.

All my video editing will be taking place in Apple's iMovie. This, unfortunately, is the only program with which I can work at this time due to monetary constraints. Is anyone familiar with audio editing/clipping/whatever you call it in iMovie?

Or, does anyone have any other advice for me in this aspect?

TIA for any help.

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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby Ypsi » Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:54 pm

Are you talking about the bell stopping after sounding for a couple seconds? Because if you are tere are many crossings where the bells only turn on when the gates are going down and sometimes up too. If you actually know they are editing out the bell, I'm not sure of that is possible without causing other audio to be changed in the video

I suggest either living with it or moving farther away from the crossings.. I don't see why you would want to edit it out though because it happened and is part of the scene. Just like I said try not to stand too close and it won't be too annoying.. I have done that with e-bells a couple times, and they can get loud and annoying :lol:
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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby msurailfan » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:13 pm

YpsiAmtrakBoy wrote:Are you talking about the bell stopping after sounding for a couple seconds? Because if you are tere are many crossings where the bells only turn on when the gates are going down and sometimes up too. If you actually know they are editing out the bell, I'm not sure of that is possible without causing other audio to be changed in the video

I suggest either living with it or moving farther away from the crossings.. I don't see why you would want to edit it out though because it happened and is part of the scene. Just like I said try not to stand too close and it won't be too annoying.. I have done that with e-bells a couple times, and they can get loud and annoying :lol:


Huh....did not know that about the self-stopping bells. I just assumed that people were going in and isolating that audio and muting it. Guess not, though. I'll try to move to spots that are farther away and see how that works. Thanks.
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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby Ypsi » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:24 pm

No problem, and here is what the difference can make by crossing the street too

This video was standing right next to a crossing with an e-bell
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgWPBVGNCZg

This was also shot at a crossing with an e-bell, but I was across the street from the e-bell
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k546RC8c0wo

The difference of a couple lanes of the road can really be quite a bit and help prevent the crossing bells from dominating the video

And lastly this one was shot a crossing like what I talked about, the gates go down and the bell stops
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFZdQANMyDQ
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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby Clay320 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:36 am

Not very feasible to edit out like that on iMovie, probably possible but not worth the headache of fighting the program and making it sound good. Creative camera positioning as said would prolly be the way to go.

If you were so inclined to do it though, you'd have to dub in audio from another point in your video, or from a entirely different clip. But you have to pick something that would fit in, which can be hard as there is a lot of sound going on and its all changing. You might get away with being able to paste something in post loco where the click-clack of the cars are somewhat uniform. But would be near impossible when the train is approaching with horn and varying noise levels. And even then it'd easily be able be several hours of editing for a several minute video of a few crossings that sounds organic. And thats on a good editing program, not iMovie which gets very clunky if you get too detailed in your edits.

So all that to say, you could edit out the bells. But you could also edit out the whole train visually if you really wanted also, but that doesn't mean its the way to go! :)


The 70D is a nice camera, I've been looking at getting one myself for film school. If you want something more than iMovie, try Adobe Premiere. Works on Mac and PC and is subscription based(but not cloud based) at like $20 a month I think, and for $40-50ish a month you can get all of Abobe's programs, good deal if you are using it often.
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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby J T » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:06 pm

msurailfan wrote:I just assumed that people were going in and isolating that audio and muting it. Guess not, though

Current consumer grade technology doesn't allow for that. Perhaps the techno wizards on CSI:Miami have figured it out, but in the real world that possibility pretty much does not exist. Think of it kind of like trying to remove an egg from a finished cake.

Nice camera, by the way. That will most likely be my next camera body purchase when one of my 60Ds has died.
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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby Ypsi » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:13 pm

J T wrote: Perhaps the techno wizards on CSI:Miami have figured it out

I always love how on TV shows they can take a super blurry/ fuzzy surveillance camera image, and with one click to make it look perfect to ID the suspect or whatever.. now if only we could use that same TV show technology to improve railfanning videos and photos :lol:
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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby J T » Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:34 pm

YpsiAmtrakBoy wrote:
J T wrote: Perhaps the techno wizards on CSI:Miami have figured it out

I always love how on TV shows they can take a super blurry/ fuzzy surveillance camera image, and with one click to make it look perfect to ID the suspect or whatever..

And the investigator always has to tell the tech geek to "zoom in more" or "make it sharper" as if he couldn't figure that out on his own.
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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby msurailfan » Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:20 pm

:lol: I feel like a stupid now. I had never heard of these self-shutting-off bell crossings so I made a faulty assumption I shouldn't have. Thanks for the heads up, guys.

So far, I'm loving the camera. JT, I upgraded from a 50D. Haven't noticed a ton of difference in image quality but the added aspect of video is enough to have me doing backflips. The Servo autofocus in videomode isn't the greatest but it works very well. Having to manually focus video was a concern I had with other bodies.

I'm heading out for an adventure tomorrow to San Bernardino and Cajon Pass, CA. I'll do my best to get some shots up on the site this weekend.
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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby J T » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:43 pm

Sounds like a fun trip. Good luck! :)
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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby Jochs » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:20 pm

msurailfan wrote::lol: I feel like a stupid now. I had never heard of these self-shutting-off bell crossings so I made a faulty assumption I shouldn't have. Thanks for the heads up, guys.


I have not seen any of those around me in SW MI, but they do occur in Indiana, especially in downtown places like Porter and Elkhart.

Also, the bells on the Blossomland drawbridge in St. Joseph, MI ( Highway M-63) has bells that ring only when the gates are going up and down.
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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby CSX_CO » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:02 pm

msurailfan wrote::lol: I feel like a stupid now. I had never heard of these self-shutting-off bell crossings so I made a faulty assumption I shouldn't have. Thanks for the heads up, guys.


Contact in the gate mechanism. When the gate is fully down, bell stops. If something gets in the way of the gate, bell keeps ringing. Want to have some fun, while standing at a deserted crossing, lift up the gate a couple of inches...

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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby bdconrail29 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:51 pm

msurailfan wrote::lol: I feel like a stupid now. I had never heard of these self-shutting-off bell crossings so I made a faulty assumption I shouldn't have. Thanks for the heads up, guys.

So far, I'm loving the camera. JT, I upgraded from a 50D. Haven't noticed a ton of difference in image quality but the added aspect of video is enough to have me doing backflips. The Servo autofocus in videomode isn't the greatest but it works very well. Having to manually focus video was a concern I had with other bodies.

I'm heading out for an adventure tomorrow to San Bernardino and Cajon Pass, CA. I'll do my best to get some shots up on the site this weekend.


One downside of trying to use a DSLR for video is focusing. It can be a nightmare. I'm sure though, it is greatly improving.
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Re: How to edit out crossing bell chimes?

Unread postby J T » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:52 pm

bdconrail29 wrote:One downside of trying to use a DSLR for video is focusing. It can be a nightmare. I'm sure though, it is greatly improving.

I shoot video in manual mode and focus just as I would for taking a pic. Haven't had any issues yet. :)
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