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iMovie '11: Set the beginning and end of a sound or music clip

Set the beginning and end of a sound or music clip

After you’ve added a sound effect, a music clip, or a voiceover to a project, you can trim it to begin and end wherever you want.

In the Project browser:

If you don’t need the precision of the Clip Trimmer, you can quickly trim sound and music clips directly in the Project browser. These instructions don’t apply to background music.

  1. In the Project browser, move your pointer over either end of the green or purple bar that represents the sound or music clip you want to trim.

    The pointer turns into a resize pointer, as shown below.

    Image of the resize pointer.
  2. Do one of the following:

    • To set where the clip starts playing, drag its left edge to the right or left.

    • To set where the sound clip stops playing, drag its right edge to the right or left.

  3. To play back your work, in the Project browser, move the playhead (the red vertical line) to the left of where you want to begin previewing, and then click the Space bar.

    Press the Space bar again to stop playback.

Using the Clip Trimmer:

The Clip Trimmer lets you trim the sound elements in your project one at a time, so it’s especially useful if there’s just one sound element you want to change (the background music or a sound effect, for example). The Clip Trimmer also gives you access to the unused portions of the clip you’re editing, which can help you fine-tune your trimming.

  1. In the Project browser, move your pointer over the audio clip you want to trim, and then choose Clip Trimmer from the Action pop-up menu (looks like a gear) that appears.

    The Action menu icon appears at the left end of the green or purple sound clip bar, or in the upper-left corner of the background music well in your project.

    Image of pop-up menu with Clip Trimmer selected.

    The Clip Trimmer opens, showing a magnified waveform view of the sound or music. The light blue or green portion of the waveform represents the part of the song or audio clip that’s used in the project. Any dark blue or green portion of the waveform represents the part of the song or audio clip not currently used in the project.

  2. To set where the clip starts playing, drag the yellow handle near the start of the clip.

    Yellow handles appear on both sides of the clip, as shown below.

    Image of yellow handles in the Clip Trimmer.
  3. To set where the sound clip stops playing, drag the yellow handle at the end of the clip.

    Depending on which type of clip you’re trimming, the duration of the sound clip (the time stamp) appears next to the handle. This makes it easy for you to adjust the sound clip to the exact length of the video clip or project it applies to.

  4. To preview your work, click the Play button in the Clip Trimmer; click the button again to stop the preview.

    Image of the Play button
  5. Click Done when you’re satisfied with the result.

When you trim a background music clip, iMovie applies a one-second fade-out to the end of the music clip so that the music doesn’t end abruptly.

You can pin the beginning of a background music clip to a specific video clip, so that if you move the clip, the music moves with it: Pin the start of a background music clip to a video frame.

Using audio waveforms:

With audio waveforms visible in the Project browser, you can modify aspects of all the sound elements in your project in the same window. This feature is especially useful if you have many changes to make to your project’s audio.

These instructions apply to modifying the startpoints and endpoints of audio you’ve added to your project, or audio you’ve detached from video. These instructions don’t apply to modifying the audio recorded with, and still attached to, your video, or to modifying background music you’ve added.

  1. With your project open, click the Audio Waveform button below the Project browser.

    Image of the Audio Waveform button

    Waveforms for each of the sound elements in your project appear in green, blue, or purple bands below the video clips. Blue waveforms represent the sound that was recorded with your video. Green waveforms represent sounds and music you’ve added to your project. Purple waveforms represent voiceovers or audio that was detached from a video clip. Names appear in the top-left corner of each green or purple waveform to make it easy to identify them.

  2. Select the sound clip you want to trim by clicking its name at the top of its waveform; the clip becomes outlined in yellow.

  3. Move your pointer over either end of the clip so that it turns into a resize pointer (if the clip has a jagged edge, it means the clip is split onto two lines), and then do one or both of the following:

    • To set where the sound clip starts playing, drag its left edge to the right or left.

    • To set where the sound clip stops playing, drag its right edge to the right or left.

Last Modified: Jul 23, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Jul 23, 2012
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