How to Add Music to a Video

After importing video files into your favorite editing software, you’re probably going to want to pair those clips with equally captivating music and sound effects. No matter if you use Final Cut Pro or iMovie, the process for syncing music to a video is fairly easy. Sound can add so much to your production value, even if you’re just cutting a simple home movie or school presentation. Below, we’ve outlined the basic steps for importing music into a video project.

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Using iMovie

  1. Choose a Project: Most likely, you already have a video project in need of musical accompaniment. First, open the project and select “Music and Sound Effects” from the Window tab. This will bring up a special sidebar that allows you to access any audio files on your computer. To refine your search, click on a particular folder (i.e. iTunes Library or iMovie Sound Effects) or type in specific keywords in the Search field. Each file will also have its associated metadata — such as artist, song title, and track length — listed in the Music and Sound Effects sidebar.

  2. Add Your Music: Once you’ve found music that you like, simply drag the file onto your project and drop it onto a space where there are no clips present. When doing this, you should see a green “+” symbol pop up, letting you know that it’s okay to drop sound on this area of the timeline. Clips have a blue tint, and audio files are green, so they’re easy to distinguish. When dragging audio clips to the project, simply drop them where you’d like the audio to begin.

  3. Fine-Tune the Audio: First, selecting an audio clip will illuminate it with a yellow border, allowing you to extend or shorten the sound. A gear-shaped icon in the top-left corner of the audio clip provides even more control, with settings like “Clip Trimmer”, “Clip Adjustments”, and “Audio Adjustments” to choose from. These allow you to trim certain sections of a clip, set automated fades, and add some audio effects.

Using Other Editing Software

  1. Find a Program You Like: Depending on your operating system, there are tons of free applications online for putting together quality videos. Wondershare Filmora, Windows Movie Maker, and VSDC are just a few of the options available. Start by doing some research online, and then pick a program that fits your abilities. For beginners with a PC, we suggest Windows Movie Maker. 

  2. Import the Audio: On every editing program, you’ll have a browser that can import video and audio clips from anywhere on your hard drive. Find the song or sound effect that works best for your visual, and then drag it to the appropriate track on your project timeline. Many editing programs (such as Filmora) have the ability to layer multiple audio tracks, which is really convenient when playing sound effects, music, and dialogue simultaneously.

  3. Make Further Edits: Finally, free video editors make it easy to drag audio around a project, trim out unnecessary sections, tweak the speed/pitch, and add professional-sounding fades. Take a look at the icons on your project’s toolbar, or right-click on the audio track to see what additional features are at your disposal.

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