Using Audio in a Project

on Friday, January 30, 2009

Most movie-editing programs follow similar patterns. They all use storyboards and timelines for assembling the project, and most programs have similar windows for organizing and previewing clips. You’ll also find that most programs have a lot in common when it comes to editing audio. For example, even the most affordable editing programs usually have separate audio tracks in the timeline for background music, narration (or sound effects), and the audio that accompanies the video clips in the timeline. Many movie-editing programs can also show audio waveforms. A waveform is a line that graphically represents the rising and falling level of sound in an audio clip. In Figure above shows the waveform for some narration I recorded in Pinnacle Studio. Waveforms are useful because they allow you to edit your audio visually, often with pinpoint accuracy. By looking at the waveform, you can tell when loud sounds or extended periods of quiet occur. Although many movie-editing programs use audio waveforms, Apple iMovie isn’t one of them. You can still edit audio (as I show later in this chapter); you just won’t be able to do it visually in iMovie. Fortunately there are plenty of other programs that can display audio waveforms — including Apple Final Cut (both the Express and Pro versions), Adobe Premiere, Pinnacle Studio, and Windows Movie Maker.