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iMovie: Keyframing Audio for Ducking and Fading

iMovie, Version: 10.1.4. Be aware that different versions of iMovie will vary in appearance and functionality. Full Guide: View/Download


Adjust Volume in Specific Sections (Ducking)

The audio of your movie should be even throughout so that your audience won’t need to adjust their volume while watching. Often times with recorded video, however, loud parts are mixed with quiet ones, which is a problem that adjusting overall volume will not fix. There may also be cases in which a background music track needs to be lowered only for a few sections, such as when dialogue needs to be heard. The process of lowering a section of audio without affecting the entire track is called Ducking.

Ducking in iMovie is done through a process called Keyframing. A keyframe is like a snapshot of the volume at a single moment; when multiple keyframes are at different volume levels, iMovie automatically transitions the volume between them.

To duck sections of audio:

  1. Option+click on the volume control line in the audio track four times to create four keyframes. Keyframes look like small white dots.
  2. showing how to add points for ducking
    • Keyframe 1: start of the fade-out
    • Keyframe 2: low or silent background music volume (during dialogue)
    • Keyframe 3: start of the fade-in
    • Keyframe 4: back to full volume
  3. Click-and-drag the middle section of the volume control downwards to decrease the volume. 
To adjust the timing of the ducking, click-and-drag the keyframes left or right. The closer keyframes are together, the faster the transition will be. 


Fade In/Out

To fade audio in/out:

  1. Hover the mouse over an audio clip in the Timeline. At the beginning and end of the clip, a handle on the volume control will appear, which looks like a gray circle with a black dot in the center.
  2. Click-and-drag the handles inwards to create fades.
  3. showing anchor points
    • Fade-in: handle at the beginning
    • Fade-out: handle at the end.

As a handle is moved, an arc will appear on the clip, which indicates the volume change. The farther inward a handle is moved, the slower and more subtle the fade will be. Always listen to the audio to make sure the fade doesn’t sound too short or long.




Keywords:workshop, software, production, guide, video, editing, mac, iMovie, volume, ducking, keyframing   Doc ID:85295
Owner:Tommy S.Group:Pacific Lutheran University
Created:2018-08-28 11:34 PDTUpdated:2019-06-06 11:11 PDT
Sites:Pacific Lutheran University
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