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2. iMovie Advanced Editing Tips +
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The best iMovie alternative for Mac & Windows to Edit Audio
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All You Need to Know About iMovie Audio Editing

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Nov 26, 2021• Proven solutions

iMovie offers a fantastic platform for video editing where you can merge multiple video clips to create something very phenomenal. Plus, it's simply here to navigate between different scenes, edit video clips and save results directly to the digital format without making any videotape transformations.

It provides lots of things to beginners and professionals with its easy-to-use interface without any quality loss for your results even after adding lots of transitions, changes, and effects.

However, it is not accessible to master software, precisely when you're not familiar with it, or you're not its professional user. So today, we'd like to explore or pay attention to iMovie’s audio editing steps, tips, and tricks to help you become an iMovie master quickly.

What’s more, a practical yet professional iMovie alternative software is also advisable in this guide. So when the iMovie cannot fulfil your editing requirements, why don't you hop on an iMovie alternative software?

Now, let's get started!

Part 1: How to Edit Audio Clips in iMovie?

To learn how to edit audio clips in iMovie, you can use actions in the menu along with the quick shortcuts to make adjustments to your audio clips in iMovie on Mac. It's a tip for your convenience!

Trim Audio Clips

There are a couple of options to trim an audio clip in iMovie.

#1. Trim to Playhead

You can place the playhead in your timeline. Now, trim an audio clip to that exact spot. Next, start moving the playhead and do one from the following.

  • Select Modify > Trim to Playhead option in the menu bar.
  • Right-click the audio clip and select the option of Trim to Playhead in the shortcut menu.

#2. Use the Clip Trimmer

You can use the Clip Trimmer to trim an exact section of the clip.

Step 1. Right-click the audio clip and select Show Clip Trimmer in the shortcut menu.

Step 2. After the Clip Trimmer shows, select a section you wish to trim by dragging the arrows right and left while holding the white lines. The area within those lines is what will get entirely deleted.

Move the entire clip but keep the trim area in place if arrows turn to a film strip icon.

Step 3. Click Close Clip Trimmer after you finish this section.

Shorten or Lengthen Audio Clips

You can easily shorten or lengthen an audio clip in iMovie. Just choose the pin in the timeline and drag one of its edges. The duration of the clip change will change as you carry. And a new course will be displayed after you finish in the upper left menu.

You can also set the clip’s duration to an exact time. Select the clip in the timeline and hit the Clip Information (small letter “i”) tab located above the Viewer. Put the value of the time you want in seconds in the Duration box on the right.

Change the Speed of an Audio Clip

You may want to speed up or slow down an audio clip while editing music in iMovie. So, here’s what you need to do!

Method 1. Click the Speed button above the Viewer. Next, select Custom in the Speed drop-down box and enter a percentage next to it. You can also set a different speed in that box if you prefer.

Method 2. Right-click the clip and select Show Speed Editor from the shortcut menu. A slider will then display at the top of the clip that you can move to change the speed.

Adjust the Volume of an Audio Clip

You can set the audio clip’s volume at higher or lower, or even mute it. Just select the clip and then do one of the following.

  • Select the Volume tab above the Viewer option and move the slider to the percentage of volume. Hit the Mute button to mute the audio clip.
  • Tap inside the clip, and when the two-sided arrow appears, drag up or down to adjust the volume.

Fade an Audio Clip

While editing audio in iMovie, you can also fade in or out the clip. Choose a clip in the timeline and then drag the fade handle (small circle) at either the ending or the beginning of the clip to make a fade-out or a fade-in effect.

As you drag, you will see the arcs displaying the shadow for the clips fade in or fade out.

How to Edit Audio Clips in iMovie on iOS?

The iMovie timeline is where you sort or organize all your audio clips, such as the special effects and background music. Audio clips are always present below the video clips in the timeline. To edit audio clips in iMovie on your iPhones or iPads, you can follow the guide belo

Move an Audio Clip

You can transfer the whole audio clip, except the background music, to another location.

  • Touch and hold the purple or blue audio clip with your project open in the timeline until it comes over the timeline bar.
  • Drag the clip to another place and release.

Adjust the Audio Clip’s Duration

Step 1. While the project is launched in the timeline, tap the audio clip (in blue or purple) or the background music clip you wish to adjust.

Step 2. Now, you can see the display of yellow trim handles. Drag them either at the end of the clip to the points where you wish the audio to start and end. If a trim handle won't move left or right, it simply indicates there is no additional audio to work with on that clip's end.

Step 3. Tap outside the audio clip and let the trim handles disappear.

Split an Audio Clip

There are around two options to split audio clips in iMovie. You can remove unwanted parts or adjust each section's duration, volume, or speed while you split a clip.

Step 1. With your launched project in the timeline, scroll the timeline to the playhead's position where you want to split the audio.

Step 2. Click the audio clip to display the inspector at the screen's bottom.

Step 3. Now, click the Actions button, and select the Split tab.

Or, you can tap the clip (it becomes outlined in yellow), then swipe above the playhead as if you were placing your finger to slide over it.

Detach the Audio Part from a Video

You can detach the video clip's audio to remove or edit it as a separate video clip.

Step 1. When the project is open in the timeline, select a video clip and display the inspector at the screen's bottom.

Step 2. Tap the Actions button, then tap Detach.

Step 3. A new blue-colored audio clip will then appear below the video project. You can now move, edit, or delete the audio clip separately from its parent video clip.

Move Audio to the Foreground or Background

To ensure the sound in your video clips can listen above the background music, iMovie implies audio "ducking". Ducking lowers the background music clips' volume whenever there's a video clip whose sound is playing simultaneously.

You can select which audio clips are in the foreground or the background.

Step 1. Select the timeline's audio clip to display the inspector at the screen's bottom.

Step 2. Hit the Actions tab and proceed with selecting the Foreground or Background.

The clip color changes to indicate whether it's the background music (green) or foreground audio (blue or purple).

Part 2: An Easier Way to Edit Audio Clips

Windows users might be wandering for an alternative to iMovie as this software tool is only compatible with Mac and iOS devices. You will be thrilled to know that Wondershare Filmora can serve you with all synonymous and extra features more than the iMovie, and it works significantly in the Windows environment.

Download Filmora Win Version Download Filmora Mac Version

This latest software tool also assists users with easy video editing tricks and the intuitive interface that best serves quality editing to beginners and professionals.

Despite the basic video editing features, such as trimming, splitting, merging, cutting, and cropping, Filmora also offers various advanced editing elements that are far better than iMovie. And, with its video editing features, you can make a green screen effect, stabilize your video footage, reverse your video clip, and more.

Moreover, you can enjoy royalty-free music tracks for different themes, such as Young and Bright, Tender and Sentimental, Rock, Folk, Electronic Rock, and Hipster Folk, for selection.

All this will be available with a single program called Wondershare Filmora to take advantage of them for free. You do not have to search the background music files like a needle in a haystack. The program has nicely organized the music themes into six different folders. You can apply it for your video and make advanced editing, such as split/trim the clip, adjust the playback speed, pitch, volume, etc.

How to Edit Audio with Wondershare Filmora?

In Wondershare Filmora, you can insert background music and other files from the audio library or your computer. You can even record your voiceover using it.

Add Background Music

Filmora provides a royalty-free music library you can access or import your music within the program. You can select a song from the royalty-free audio library and use it for free.

The audio library has categorized into: YOUNG & BRIGHT, TENDER & SENTIMENTAL, ROCK, FOLK, and ELECTRONIC. The different kinds of sound effects are also available under the Sound Effects tab.

Once you find a sound effect or a song, either right-click on it and go with the Apply or drag and drop it into an audio track in the timeline.

Or, you can click the Import button above the Media Library panel to browse for audio files in your PC system. Then, select and import it into the Media Library when you find the song or other audio files you wish to add.

Once you place the song in the timeline, double-click to edit it in the Audio editing panel. You can apply fade-in or fade-out effects or adjust the pitch and volume. Filmora lets you add up to 100 audio tracks.

Split Audio Clips

Choose your audio clip and place the playhead where you want to split it, then right-click on the clip and choose the Split tab or click the Split icon right above on the toolbar.

Adjust Audio Settings

Double click on the audio clip to make adjustments to your audio. Open a panel with adjustment sliders in the timeline for pitch and volume.

Another element that you'll find in this panel is Denoise, which is a feature that can remove background noise from your audio clips.

For a more professional audio editing experience, you can also access the Audio Equalizer from this panel. Select from presets or make manual adjustments by hitting the Customize tab.

Play it when you are done and, if you're not happy with the results, tap the Reset button to start over.

Audio Equalizer (EQ)

All videos have plenty of sounds like speech, music, or sound effects. Changing the strength of sound waves will help you to mix these sounds within a coherent soundtrack.

Locate your audio clip in an audio track and double-click on it to open the Audio settings menu window. A drop-down menu next to the Equalizer feature will display presets such as Classic, Default, Rock'n'Roll, Techno, Sparkle, Bass, Hard Rock, Pop, Ska, Blues, Folk, Acoustic, Custom, or Country. Choose the preset that best fits your current needs and hit the OK tab to apply it.

Now, hit the Customize tab next to the drop-down bar to adjust the Audio Equalizer manually. Drag the sliders up or down and make the adjustments until you find their ideal value. Finally, hit OK and save your settings.

Besides the included music tracks and sound effects in Filmora initially, you can also find more audio files from Filmora’s effects store – Filmstock, and even get some free music and sound.

Part 3: iMovie Audio Editing Tips & Tricks

iMovie is a great video editor for Mac computers. After understanding the best alternative of iMovie sound editing, let's check out some tips on editing audio in iMovie best.

The explanations and screenshots below are for iMovie 10 only. However, the steps are a bit similar to older versions.

So, here we go!

1. Use Waveforms to See What You Hear

To properly edit the audio track in iMovie, you need a good pair of headphones and speakers to hear the sound, but you also need to check the sound.

You can check the sound in iMovie by considering the waveforms on each clip. If the waveforms can't be seen, go to the View drop-down menu and choose the Show Waveforms option. The clip size for your project can also adjust to get an even better appearance for each video clip.

The waveforms will display the volume level of a clip and give you a good idea of what sections will require to turn up or down. You can also check how the levels of different clips compare to one another.

2. Audio Adjustments

With the help of Adjust tab in the top right, you can access some basic audio editing tools for changing your selected clip's volume or changing the volume of other relative clips in the project.

The adjustment window of audio also provides basic audio equalization and noise reduction tools, along with a range of effects - from echo to robot - that will change the way people in your video sound.

3. Edit Audio with the Timeline

iMovie assists you in adjusting the audio within the clips themselves. Each pin has a volume bar, moving up and down to decrease or increase the audio level. The clips also contain Fade In and Fade Out tabs at the beginning and end, dragging to adjust the fade's length.

By adding a short fade effect, whether in or out, the sound becomes relatively smoother and less conflicting to the ear when a new clip begins.

4. Detach the Audio

By default, iMovie keeps the video and audio sections of clips together for convenience. Yet, you want to use the video and audio sections of a clip separately sometimes.

For this purpose, choose your clip in the timeline, visit the Modify drop-down menu, and hit the Detach Audio button. You'll now have two clips - one with the images and another with the sound.

A lot you can do with the detached audio. For instance, you could extend the audio clip to begin before the video plays, or so that it plays for a few seconds even after the video fades out. You could also cut out pieces from the audio's middle portion while leaving the video intact.

Conclusion

Coming towards the end of the discussion, after understanding iMovie audio editing and going through an elaborated alternative of iMovie application, we decided that Wondershare Filmora sounds the best out of it. It allows you to flawlessly edit video and audio files on your desktop, with various inbuilt royalty-free music tracks to select from that can further improve your project's presence.

author avatar
Marion Dubois
Marion Dubois is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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