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How to Overlay Music in iMovie – A Step-by-Step Guide

How to overlay music in iMovie

How to Overlay Music in iMovie: iMovie is a movie-making app by Apple available on both iPhones and iMac. iMovie is available for free, and you can use it to create incredible videos; however, there is a catch to it. On the surface, the app is quite user-friendly, but you may need a few tutorial lessons to explore iMovie’s different functionalities and features.

If this is the first time you are trying to add music to a video using iMovie, it may get a little daunting for you. Fret not; we are here to help! Here’s a detailed guide explaining how you can overlay music in iMovie.

Let’s get started.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Overlay Music in iMovie

Note that iMovie includes an extensive library of built-in music and sound effects that you can use for free.

You have to follow this simple step-by-step method to add music or any sound effect to your video on iMovie.

Adding Soundtracks to Your Videos on iMovie

Follow the instructions below to add a soundtrack to your music videos on iMovie:

  1. Open your project timeline and click on the ‘Add Media’ button
  2. Click on ‘Audio’ then ‘Soundtracks’ to browse the library.
  3. To listen to a ‘Soundtrack,’ you can download and preview it.
  4. Once you have shortlisted a track of your choice, click the ‘+’ button that you can find next to soundtracks.
  5. The soundtrack will be added to the beginning of your project timeline.
  6. You can now play around with the soundtrack’s length and adjust its placement along the timeline. You can crop it or place it in your project timeline’s beginning, middle, or end.
  7. Moreover, you can also add multiple soundtracks to a single video file by repeating the same process. You may have to trim the first soundtrack to add another one before or after it, depending on the total length of your video.

Adding Sound Effects to Your Videos on iMovie

Here’s how you can add sound effects to your videos on iMovie:

  1. Open your project timeline.
  2. Click on the ‘Add Media’ button, then go to ‘Audio.’
  3. Once you click the ‘Audio’ menu, you will see a ‘Sound Effects’ button.
  4. Click on the ‘Sound Effects’ button to view the complete library of free sound effects that you can use.
  5. You can preview various ‘Sound Effects’ by tapping on them. If you see any dim-colored icons, you may have to click on that particular ‘Sound Effect’ to download them.
  6. Now click on the ‘+’ or ‘Add Audio’ button next to the sound effect you want to use.
  7. Your selected sound effect will be automatically added to the project timeline now.
  8. Keep in mind that your sound effect will directly be linked to the video clip you place it over. This means that every time you change the position of that particular video clip, the sound effect will also change position accordingly.
  9. To add sound effects to a specific video clip or position in your timeline, scroll through it until you see white vertical lines called ‘playhead.’
  10. Once ‘playhead’ appears, you can click on any position of your choice and add your sound effect there.
How to overlay music in iMovie

Adding Music from iTunes to iMovie

If you do not want to use the music from iMovie’s soundtrack library, there is an alternative way. The good news is you can directly add music from your iPhone to your iMovie video file.

To add music from your iTunes to iMovie, follow the steps below:

  1. Open your project file on the iMovie app and click ‘Add Media’
  2. Select the ‘Audio’ button and go to ‘My Music.’
  3. This will list all the songs from your iTunes that you can use as background music on iMovie.
  4. Simply click on the song/music file you want to use, and it will be added to your project timeline.
  5. Note that there may be some songs that will not play on iMovie if they are copyright protected.
  6. Now you can enjoy the music of your choice on your iMovie videos.

Adding Music from iCloud to iMovie

If you do not have any music in your ‘My Music’ library, then you may need to scan your iCloud drive for it.

To add music from your iCloud to iMovie, follow the steps below:

  1. Open your project file on the iMovie app and click the ‘+’ button
  2. After that, click on ‘Files’ and select the ‘Browse’ option.
  3. Once you click on ‘Browse,’ you can select ‘iCloud’ from the menu.
  4. Go through your drive and click on the music file/soundtrack that you want to use.
  5. Select the song that you want to add, and it will be added to the project timeline.
  6. You can now play around with the music and trim, adjust its volume and position according to your preference.

If you are working on a timelapse video, read this blog to learn how to add music to it.

Make the Most of Your Music Videos Using iMovie

Besides adding the music of your choice on iMovie, you can do so much more with it. To make your videos more fun and interactive, experiment with your music files’ volume, placement, and length.

You can easily adjust the volume of your music files in the timeline by adjusting the volume button that appears when you click on the music file. This way, you can mix and match different music files to create a groovy effect by adjusting the volumes of all your music overlays.

You can also add a ‘fading’ effect or increase and decrease the speed of your music clips according to your liking.

While you’re at it, read about the most popular sound effects used by vloggers and YouTubers to elevate your video-making game.

There is plenty of room to explore your creative genius on iMovie. Just make sure you have fun with it. Good Luck!

The following blogs will help you further refine your video production quality:

How Do YouTubers Add Music to Their Videos

How to Use Music in YouTube Videos Without Copyright Infringement

Can You Monetize Videos with Royalty-Free Music?