The Ultimate YouTube Guide to Audio Editing in iMovie ’11

Audio and Sound Editing in iMovie 11

Whether you like it or not, when Apple started packaging their computers with iMovie in 1999, it opened up the world of video editing to a whole new group of people.

Apple armed these people with the tools to create. They became passionate about it and hungry to learn as iMovie continued to grow.

iMovie ’11 — the latest incarnation — continues to hone the editing experience with the addition of advanced audio editing features that allow you to add, delete, change, remix, shift, and shape songs and music to perfection in your project.

And since music is such a vital part of your video experience, knowing how to use these new tools is essential. That’s why I’ve put together a bunch of YouTube video tutorials to help you learn the best ways to edit audio within iMovie.

Importing Audio, Music, and Sound Effects

You have to start somewhere. Step one in editing audio within iMovie is simple, basic, but necessary: adding audio to your project itself.

While it may seem clunky to have to go through iTunes, the interface is quite simple to navigate. You can always make multiple iTunes libraries as well if you want to store stock music and sound effects separately from your personal jams.

More Video Tutorials for Importing Audio:

Adjusting the Volume of Clips

Sometimes you aren’t paying attention when you’re shooting a video and the audio comes in a little “hot.” Or maybe you get a project handed off to you where the sound is too loud.

The solution is quick and painless: turn down the volume!

While turning down the volume of an entire clip is easy, more advanced techniques like “ducking” audio and changing the volume of selected parts of a clip will give you extreme control over your audience’s ears.

More Video Tutorials for Adjusting Clip Volume:

Working with Audio in the Clip Trimmer

In iMovie, there is a window you can bring up called the “clip trimmer,” which gives you greater access to the audio you’re trying to manipulate. Using this feature, you can have even finer control over the parameters of a clip.

Watch some of the video tutorials below for explanations of how to do the “mark the beat technique” I talked about using with Final Cut Pro.

More Video Tutorials for Clip Trimming Audio:

Audio Enhancement and Adding Filters

Pssst… want to know a pro secret? OK… Audio rarely comes out of a video sounding exactly like it did going in.

Why? Because pros and advanced editors use audio filters and enhancement techniques like the ones in the tutorials below.

When you take advantage of filters, you can do truly astounding things like remove the excess background noise from a shot, make a baby sound like an adult, or give that extra “oomph” to a sound effect.

More Video Tutorials for Audio Enhancement:

Recording and Adding Voiceovers to Your Project

Narration is a great way to add personality and purpose to your video. It allows you to guide the audiences’ thoughts and even their emotions.

I love that iMovie has the ability to record voice overs directly in the program so you can make sure it syncs up — a very underutilized feature.

More Video Tutorials for Adding Voiceovers:

All-Around Audio Editing

For those of you who only have time to watch a few videos on this list, watch these. They’ll give you a crash course in basic iMovie audio editing.

I also recommend you watch these if you’re experienced with editing, but need a simple introduction to iMovie 11 to get going.

More Video Tutorials for General Audio Editing in iMovie:

Amateur Audio Equals an Amateur Video

One of the first things you realize when you get into video editing is that a poor sound mix will cripple your video. No matter how good the lighting, the camerawork, or the story, your audience will be unable to connect with your video if the audio is poor.

The easiest way to remedy that is to record the best possible audio and use high-quality files for music (like the WAV files we offer on Free Stock Music).

But having a few audio editing tricks in your back pocket to whip out after-the-fact never hurts. By pushing your skills and learning how to tinker with the intricacies of your sound in iMovie, you can really kick your video up a notch to the next level.


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