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In iMovie '11 Essential Training, author Garrick Chow illustrates the process of creating high-quality video using iMovie '11. The course covers the entire post-production process, from importing audio, video, and still images to adding effects, creating trailers, and sharing your finished projects on social networks. Also included are tutorials on adjusting audio levels, automatically identifying clips that include faces, and using green screen effects. Exercise files accompany the course.
Okay, let's take a look at how to add music and sound effects to our iMovie project. Music can dramatically change the mood and tone of your movie, and you're free to drag in any MP3 or iTunes AAC file you want into iMovie. You can either drag them in from some other location on your Mac. Or better yet, if you have your music organized in iTunes, you can access your iTunes Library directly from iMovie. And iMovie itself comes with tons of professionally performed musical pieces, as well as a huge library of sound effects, so you're almost always sure to find something that will enhance your movie project. So let's see how we do this.
Let's start with sound effects. Now, if I listen to the first couple of clips for my project, the sound levels are pretty inconsistent. (video playing) (scrubbing surfboard) (video playing) (birds chirping) (video playing) (truck engine) Now, previously we saw how you can manually adjust the level of volume for multiple clips so they better match each other, but even in this case where I drag down the audio of this clip, we can still hear that truck in the background. (video playing) (truck engine) And a bunch of background noise there.
So another trick you can sometimes employ is to lay in a bit of sound effects to provide more unity and consistency between your clips. For example, if I open my Music Browser, I will find access to iMovie Sound Effects, iLife Sound Effects, my entire iTunes Library, and if I had created any songs in GarageBand, I would find them in here as well. With iMovie Sound Effects selected, you can see I have 95 items available to me, and the iLife Sound Effects folder has over 400 different sound effects conveniently organized into categories, which I can see here. Let's look into Ambience.
Now, to preview any sound, you just simply double-click it. (rushing water) (grasshoppers chirping) (jungle sounds) (rain and thunder) And here we can find Ocean Surf, which is probably appropriate for my surfing video. To add a sound to your project, just drag it to the point where you want the sound to begin.
In this case, I will just drag to the very beginning of my surfboard waxing shot here, and let's give us a listen. (video playing) So now I have the sound of waves playing over my video. This gives me the freedom to reduce or maybe even eliminate the real audio from some of these other clips. So I could drag down the audio maybe of this clip here, since this is mostly ocean sounds.
Same thing for this clip. Let me give that a listen. (video playing) And I can even adjust the levels of the sound itself using the same bar. Now, remember, if you don't see these waveform controls, make sure you click the Waveforms button here at the bottom of the Project pane. Now, you can add as many overlapping sound effects as you want. For example, in the original audio of some of these clips, you could hear birds in the background.
But since I lowered the volume on the original audio, you can't really hear them anymore, so let's replace them. I am going to come down here and I will do a search for seagulls. Now, notice nothing shows up. That's because I'm searching through my Ambience folder here. I am going to switch over to iLife Sound Effects to search the entire folder, and sure enough, here are some seagulls. You can see this is a 15-second clip. Again, I just drag that into my project where I want the sounds to begin. In this case, I'll just do it at the beginning again. You can see now you have a seagulls waveform appearing here, and let's see what that sounds like.
(video playing) Probably a little loud. I can drag the level down a bit. (video playing) So you can drag in real time while the audio is playing, so you can really make sure your sound effect sits in there properly. Just don't go too nuts with the sound effects, and believe me, the temptation to get silly is very high.
You could easily add some different animals in here like, I don't know. We have things like frogs at night and loon calls and rooster calls. I could throw a sheep in there if I wanted to. (video playing) Probably not quite appropriate for a beach scene, so I am just going to select that and hit Delete. It kind of changes the mood. In any case, each audio clip you add is its own entity, so you can move, trim, and adjust them all as you like.
And of course we can also add music to our project in exactly the same way. Again, we can go to iTunes to access our iTunes Music Library, but I am going to go with some of iMovie's built-in music, since I don't want to pay anyone royalties for using their music in this training video. So you will notice in iLife Sounds Effects, we have a folder called Jingles, and this is where you will find lots of different music. You can see we have over 200 items in here. Now, like sound effects, music can make a huge difference in the overall tone of your project, so you want to choose wisely here. Again, you can browse through to look for some songs.
(music playing) So again, depending what you drag in, you can really change the mood of your project. I will drag in this one called Greasy Wheels Medium. (video playing) Let me delete that.
So you can see that would set a certain mood, or maybe we'll have another one here called Dogma. Drag that one in. You'll see this sets an entirely different mood. (video playing) Now, I kind of like that first one better, so let's go back and find Greasy Wheels again. I am going to go with the longer version this time. Drag that in, and again, we can individually adjust its volume.
(video playing) We want to bring the ocean surf sound down a little bit more, and you get the idea. Now, an important point to note here is that the way I have been adding audio, it keeps the audio attached to the clip. I have been attaching all of my audio clips to this first clip of the surfboard being waxed. Once you have attached an audio file to a clip, it stays with that clip, even if you move the clip to a different location in your project. Now, if I select this clip and move it over here, you can see the audio moved with it.
I am going to undo that. Now, in some cases, that may be the behavior you want to have occur. You may have a musical cue or a sound effect that needs to stay with a particular clip. But if you're looking to add music that keeps playing continuously throughout your movie, or at least through part of your movie, you need to add it as a background music file, and we will look at how to do that next.
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