You want the perfect soundtrack to enhance your iMovie project. This can give you more control over the feeling your final video piece has. It can also assist your edits to flow together smoothly. In this tutorial we are going to add an audio file to an iMovie project, and look at a few simple techniques for editing your audio tracks. Like most programs there are more than one way to perform a task. We are going to look at three ways to import a file into your project. You will find which way works best for your needs as you edit projects. The first method for importing that we will look at will be to use the menu at the top of the screen. To do this we will first go to File>Import, and then browse to the file that you want to use in your project. With this process you can access any file on your computer.
(import your audio file)
Once the file is located select "Open" to import the file into your project. iMovie works with files that are supported by Quicktime, including AIFF and MP3 files. If your file type is not supported by iMovie it will likely be grayed out, preventing you from importing it. Royalty free music can be purchased in file formats that are compatible with most multimedia programs, including MP3 and WAV files. When your file is imported you will see that a new track is created on the timeline below the video track. The track will begin at the location of your playhead when imported.
(a new audio track is created)
If you are in the "clip viewer" instead of the "timeline viewer" when you do this, the mode will automatically switch to the "timeline viewer."
("timeline viewer" mode)
Importing an audio file will not provide you with a clip to work with. The audio must be edited in the timeline. You will notice that there is a gray space for a track between the video track and the one just created. iMovie will allow you to work with two audio tracks, each having left and right properties based on the file that you have imported. If you import another file it is likely that the new track will be created overlapping the previous one. This new overlapped track does not cut or edit the track it is placed on. Instead what will happen when played is that you will hear both tracks simultaneously. To move this track simply click on it, and drag it up to the gray space between the video and the audio.
(move the second audio track)
You will still hear both tracks simultaneously, however you will now have control over what the level of each track is during playback.
The other two ways of importing audio are quite simple. The first is by selecting "Audio" from the iMovie media menu.
(select Audio to see your files)
What this will do is generate a list of all of your music files in your iTunes library.
(your iTunes library)
This method is good except if you have your files saved elsewhere you wonÕt see them in this menu.
The final method we will look at is to simply drag your file from your folder/desktop/CD or whatever, and drop it onto your timeline. The file will then be imported and a new track made.
We will now look at how to edit the new audio track/tracks in the project. In order to know where you want the audio to fade or cut, it can be helpful to have a visual of the waveforms. To see these representations of the audio level of a track, go to View>Show Audio Waveforms, and click.
(turn on Audio Waveforms)
You will now notice that the audio tracks in your project have a spiky darker purple line going down them.
(the Audio Waveforms on the track)
This line represents the spikes in the audio for each track. You will notice as you play your project that the less noise there is the thinner the line is, and the louder the spikier. To make a cut in the track you will need to place your playhead at the point where you want to make the cut. Then go to Edit>Split Selected Audio Clip at Playhead, and click.
(split at playhead to make a cut)
The track will now be cut and each section can be moved independently. If you realize you accidentally trimmed off a little too much there is no worry, you can still add to the end (tail) or the beginning (head) of an audio clip. To do this mouse over the place where the cut was made, your mouse should turn into a small line with an arrow extending from either side of it. When you see this symbol you can click down, and drag the edit either right or left to add or subtract to the length of the track. This does not actually affect the original audio file on your computer, but simply tells iMovie what section of that file to play.
The next thing we will look at is adjusting the volume levels. To do this you will need to have a visual of what the current level is. To get this visual go to View>Show Clip Volume Levels, and click on it.
(turn on Clip Volume Levels)
You will now notice a thin line going through all of your tracks, which represents the level of the volume for each track. To manipulate the level simply click on the line and two control points will be created. The larger one shows where you clicked, and the smaller one automatically created to the left of it shows the amount of time it will take for the change to occur. You can adjust either of these control points. If you drag the large one down, the audio will drop. The amount of time it will take for the audio to reach that drop will depend on the distance between the two control points.
(create control points to adjust the audio level)
This technique can also be used to create fluctuations between the levels of either track, to fade something in and another out for instance.
(fluctuations between the two tracks)
You will now be able to create that perfect soundtrack to your iMovie project.
This tutorial is © Award Winning Music 2013