Audio Enhancement in iMovie

Enhance your audio in iMovie

It is always better to get a good recording in the first place, but sometimes you will end up with an audio track on your video that is not as good as it should be. It could be that the microphone and cables introduced a hissing sound and you wouldn’t know about that until it was time to edit the video on your Mac. Maybe there was electrical equipment operating near to you when you were shooting the video. That sort of thing can introduce a hum into your audio and you might not necessarily notice it while you are doing the recording.

IMovie audio enhancement

Hum and hiss removal in iMovie

When you have your video in the timeline in iMovie you can click on the gear icon that you will see at the beginning of the clip, to get access to the video and audio enhancement tools. So if you haven’t already put your clip into an audio application like Amadeus Pro to remove the extraneous noises, you can get the problem sorted out in iMovie. It can be nice to do all of what you need to do in just one application. The first option in the audio enhancement dialog window is for the volume. Maybe the recording is too low and you want to increase it, just remember that if you do increase the volume of the whole track, you will also increase the volume of any imperfections. You may then have to do other audio enhancements.

Audio Enhancement – Ducking audio in iMovie

You need to think about ducking audio if you have recorded a voice-over or if you have talking in your video clip and then you add some music. You don’t want to have the voices of your subjects drowned out by the high volume of music. The way that you do this is to go to the track that you want as your primary track of audio and choose the ducking feature. This has the effect of reducing the volume on all of the other tracks of audio. Automatic ducking in iMovie is one of the simplest audio enhancements to use.

iMovie fade in and fade out of audio

Depending on the audio, for instance it may have a loud or harsh start at the beginning of the track, you may need to use a fade in to get some audio enhancement. The same at the end of a track where it is better for you to have a gradual fade out rather than a sudden stop of the audio. You can set this up in the audio adjustments dialog window or it is possible to move and adjust with adjusters that are actually on the track itself in the timeline. 

The slider to enhance audio

If you put a tick in the box to enhance audio, you can then use the slider to enhance the sound. What this feature does, is to try to remove background sounds like hum or hiss. The thing to do is to play the audio and to move the slider across until the sound that you want to lose, disappears. If you take the slider too far to the right then you will start to affect the sound that you want to keep. Because of this you will want to move the slider the minimum amount necessary to get the best audio enhancement.

Using the equaliser in your iMovie audio editing

iMovie gives you a 10 track audio equaliser and by moving these vertical sliders you can increase or decrease specific frequencies of sound. To the left you have the bass sounds and to the right you have the treble. You can move any of these individually or you can try some of the presets. If you are new to this then using the presets is a good place to start so that you see how this works. If you use the preset for enhancing for voice, you will see that it removes some of the bass and also does a reduction of the treble. This has the effect of enhancing the mid-range and should make the voice clearer to hear.

Edit audio in iMovie – Using the Equaliser

In the equaliser there is a preset which is specific for removing hum and is might be worth giving a try if you have that problem with your audio. Often the best thing to do will be to apply a preset and then to make some small adjustments yourself while listening to your audio. You will of course need some decent speakers or headphones to get the best benefit of this.


Audio enhancement


Getting the best audio in iMovie videos

If I know that the video I have recorded is going to have a problem, like some hiss in the recording, then I’m quite likely to open up the Amadeus Pro beforehand and sort that problem out. On the other hand, if I’m going to be using iMovie rather than using Final Cut Pro, it is because I want to make a video quickly and I will do a quick audio enhancement using the tools of iMovie. Another possibility is that I’m already opened up in iMovie and there is just a short video clip that has an audio problem and it is just much easier to stay in the same application rather than changing.

If the situation is that I have to take out some other sounds in a video clip and I can’t chop them out as it would mess up the synchronisation between video and audio, using Amadeus Pro is going to be the best option. I am grateful that there are some good audio enhancement tools within iMovie and when I want to do something that affects the whole clip it make sense to use what iMovie has to offer. Editing audio in iMovie is simple and easy to do and you don’t always need special audio enhancing software to enhance audio in your video.

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