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How to add a voice-over to your iMovie project – tutorial

Learn how to spruce up productions by adding narration and sound effects to your iMovie projects with this easy, step-by-step guide.

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - 15-minute beginner's tutorial
iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover
Filmmakers like George Lucas say that “sound is half the experience” when we watch a movie.
Sound can evoke atmosphere through ambient sound effects or manipulate emotion through music. In the following project we’ll edit three video clips together. Initially they don’t make a smooth-flowing sequence due to their different sound tracks. One clip even suffers from wind-produced microphone distortion. We’ll show you how to remove poor-quality audio and replace it with iMovie-sourced sound effects. We’ll demonstrate how to blend clips together with a split sound edit. You’ll also learn how to add a voice-over to provide extra information about the clips’ content and knit them together into a smoother sequence.

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - Step-by-Step

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - Step 1

Step 1: Import clips
Create a new project with a frame rate of 30fps and import our three source clips into a new Event. Drag the clips into the Project window.

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - Step 2

Step 2: Replace wind noise
Click on Clip02 and choose Clip>Mute Clip. Go to the Ambience folder in the Sound Effects browser. Drag Big Waterfall onto Clip02.

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - Step 3

Step 3: Trim clip
Drag the end of the Big Waterfall audio clip so that it finishes when Clip02 does. Press I to summon the Inspector. Click Audio. Reduce Volume to 15%.

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - Step 4

Step 4: Bridging sound effect
Drag the Sports Car Passing sound effect onto Clip01. The sound of the passing car overlaps the sharp cut and creates a smooth sound bridge to the next clip.

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - Step 5

Step 5: Split sound edit
Click on Clip03 and choose Clip>Detach Audio. Drag the purple audio clip to the left so we hear the sound of the car before we cut to the third clip

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - Step 6

Step 6: Select clips
To blend the clips together, plug a microphone into your Mac. Click in the Project window and press Command+A to select all of the clips.

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - Step 7

Step 7: Set levels
Click the ‘Record a Voiceover’ icon. Set the Input Level slider so that the sound almost peaks into the red. This will produce a healthier sound level.

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - Step 8

Step 8: Record voice-over
Click at the start of the first clip and start recording your voice-over after the countdown. Tap the space bar when you want to finish recording.

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - Step 9

Step 9: Fine-tune sound
Click on the Voiceover clip and go to the Audio Inspector. Experiment with the presets in the Equalizer menu to see how they can improve your voice-over.

Click on the image below to zoom in on the annotations.

iMovie Tutorial - Add a voiceover - Annotated

To complete this tutorial, you’ll need to download the Issue 97 tutorial files.

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