Free-ranging individual fish were observed using a baited remote underwater video (BRUV) system during sound playback experiments. This paper reports on test trials exploring BRUV design parameters, image analysis and practical experimental designs. Three marine species were exposed to playback noise, provided as examples of behavioural responses to impulsive sound at 163–171 dB re 1 μPa (peak-to-peak SPL) and continuous sound of 142.7 dB re 1 μPa (RMS, SPL), exhibiting directional changes and accelerations. The methods described here indicate the efficacy of BRUV to examine behaviour of free-ranging species to noise playback, rather than using confinement. Given the increasing concern about the effects of water-borne noise, for example its inclusion within the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and the lack of empirical evidence in setting thresholds, this paper discusses the use of BRUV, and short term behavioural changes, in supporting population level marine noise management.