In addition to letting you adjust and add pre-recorded audio files, iMovie also features the ability of letting you record your own voiceover narration to your movies live while watching the movie. This is a great feature if you're the type of person that likes to do a lot of explaining while people are watching your videos, like "the beach was completely deserted at 6:00 a.m. in the morning," or "I almost dropped my camera in the water in this shot." Sure, you can also record your own voiceover in a separate program, but the advantage of recording directly into iMovie is that you can watch your video as you speak. That lets you do sort of a director's commentary style narration, too, if you'd like to.
You can use your Mac's built-in mic, if it has one, or you can simply pick up an inexpensive USB microphone from any computer or office supply store. To record a voiceover, you click the Voiceover button in the toolbar, and here you can choose what audio input device you want to record from. If you are using your Mac's built-in mic, you would pick it from here have-- I don't have a built in mic in this case--or just select the input device you plugged your external microphone into. Next, you want to start speaking at the same level you intend to use when you're recording your voiceover, and you want to keep an eye on the level meters here. You can adjust your input volume by dragging the slider right and left.
Now you notice that it's turning red in this case, which means my voice will probably be distorted when I go to record this. So I am going to drag the slider left to reduce the input volume as I talk. And it's okay if it gets a little into the yellow, but that gets a little close to the red for me in this case. I am just going to keep dragging down and continue to talk in my regular voice to check the levels as I speak. Ideally, you want the level to be as far right as possible without hitting the red. And notice I hit red a little bit there again, so I am just going to drag down a little bit more. Now there is also a Noise Reduction slider, which automatically detects and eliminates background noise, which can be useful if you're recording in a not-so-quiet environment.
But sometimes you might want the background noise if you are doing some on-the- spot reporting or something along those lines. In that case, you can drag the slider to the left to add more background noise in. The Voice Enhancement check box is supposed to automatically make your voice sound smoother and more even. You will have to try recording with it on and off to see if it helps your voice or not. Finally, if you want to be able to hear your project's sounds while you are recording, you can check Play project audio while recording. But you are going to want to make sure you're using headphones to listen; otherwise, your mic will pick up the sound of your project coming through your speakers which can cause a weird echo-y effect, or even feedback.
I am going to leave that unchecked for now. Once you're ready to record, you want to place your playhead over the portion of the movie you want to put the voiceover in. Maybe right about here. (beeping) Notice as soon as I start clicking, it starts recording. We captured this footage early on a Sunday morning. There was hardly anyone around, so it was a great chance to try our new cameras. When you are done recording, just press the Spacebar to stop. You now have a voiceover audio file you can treat like any other audio file you have added to your project. You can move it around, you can trim the ends, or adjust it with the Audio Adjust panel. Let me give that a listen. (audio playing) (Garrick. And then it starts recording) (Garrick: We captured this footage early on a Sunday morning. There was hardly anyone around,) (Garrick: so it was a great chance try our new cameras.) Now you can hear at the beginning, I was talking about recording before I actually started recording right around here. Not a problem; we just come in here and I can drag the end of this over to trim out that part.
(Garrick: We captured this footage early on a Sunday morning. There was hardly anyone around,) (Garrick: so it was a great chance try our new cameras.) If you don't like what you recorded, you can always just select the file, delete it--and let me just close that again--and then try it again. Let me hit the Voiceover tool once more, and again you just place your cursor where you want to start recording, click, and it will give you a countdown. (beeping) (Garrick: We captured this footage early on a Sunday morning.) (There was hardly anyone around, so it was a great chance try our new cameras.) And there is a voiceover that I think I'll like better.
(Garrick: We captured this footage early on a Sunday morning.) (There was hardly anyone around, so it was a great chance try our new cameras.) Pretty happy with that! If you have other audio happening while you're speaking, it might be difficult to hear what you're saying in your voiceover, and sometimes just turning up your voiceover's volume doesn't quite do the trick. Fortunately, iMovie automatically turns on ducking when you record a voiceover track. Any other audio file that overlaps with the ducks track is automatically reduced in volume, which you can see if you look at the waveforms for the other tracks. Notice we have these valleys on the Ocean Surf track here and in the background music track.
So if you have four or five simultaneous tracks going on, you don't have to turn them all down. Let me double-click my voiceover and then go over to my Audio section, and you can see that Ducking is turned on, and you can see that Reduce volume of other tracks too is set to about 15%. So you just want to keep ducking turned on on the voiceover track, or whichever track is supposed to be the most prominent, and all the other tracks will turn down when that voiceover happens, and then come back up when it's over. Let me show you the difference. I am going to uncheck that and we'll play it. (Garrick: We captured this footage early on a Sunday morning.) We'll turn on ducking and listen again.
(Garrick: We captured this footage early on a Sunday morning.) It's much easy to hear my voice there. Of course, at the end, when the voiceover is over, the volume comes back up. So that's how to work with a voiceover track and how to adjust the ducking of audio around it.
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