In the past 3 articles, we’ve looked at iMovie, and some of its advanced features. Today, we’re going to look at audio in iMovie. I feel that audio is quite overlooked and underrated, when it comes to making movies.
At its most basic level, you can simply drag a track from your iTunes library directly onto your movie, and it will become the soundtrack to your movie. That’s a very simple thing to do and we won’t deal with that today.
But what if you want to add audio to a clip that already has audio? This could be the case if you were putting background music behind a movie with speech in it. You might also want to add different snippets of sound / music to a movie. So let’s begin…
Before you deal with audio in iMovie, you have to switch on the audio view. This is easy to do.
Click on the Audio waveform button in your Timeline. This will show you what the audio looks like for your movies. You’ll see something that looks like this:
As you can see, the audio that belongs to each clip can now be seen underneath each clip. If you drag the line (as shown by the arrow) up or down, you can adjust the overall volume of the clip. Note, this will simply turn down the volume of the entire clip. If you double-click on a video clip, you can do a whole lot more.
In the green, you can see the Ducking option. If you check this, any background music will automatically be reduced in level. This is especially useful when you have speech in your video clip and you want to put background music in as well.
In the blue, you can see the “reduce background noise…” feature. Use this if your audio isn’t of the highest quality, and you need to clean it up. Use the feature sparingly, as it can make your speech sound like it was recorded in a goldfish bowl. In the orange section, you can see the equalizer. This can be used to enhance your sound to give it more “oomph”.
One of the most useful features of iMovie is the “Detach Audio” feature. This allows you to “unpin” the audio from a video clip, and then treat it like a normal audio track that you’ve dragged into iMovie. You could, for example, detach the audio of somebody speaking, and then have that audio carrying on while the video clips changed. Ordinarily, if you cut a video clip, it’s audio is cut at the same point. Detaching audio gives you the option of allowing the audio to continue to play even though it’s associated video clip has been trimmed or cut. This feature can be used to great effect if done right.
I haven’t managed to cover all the features of audio in iMovie, but hopefully thrown enough new ideas at you to get you to experiment!