11 Replies Latest reply: Jul 4, 2013 4:43 AM by John Cogdell
pip-pop Level 1 (0 points)

The audio waveforms seem to have disappeared (which has happened on another of my films but that one still plays). This morning, although the waveforms had gone, the audio was there but now it's gone? I can see the purple marker showing the audio (now called Voice O2 for some reason?). I've checked the volume levels are fine, track muting is off, have exported and restarted, and no joy.


Prior to the audio disappearing, I exported a different film while working on this one, and copy and pasted the audio track in the second track box below so that I could start to trim sections - would this have caused the problem? I recorded the audio a few days ago on the microphone on my computer - it's someone's personal story and would be hard to recreate. Does anyone have any other ideas, please? Many thanks.

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.7.5)
  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    Voiceovers that you record in iMovie are stored in the project's package contents folder. In Finder, go to your Movies folder, then iMovie Projects. Locate your project in the iMovie Projects folder, then right-click (or control-click) on it. From the pop-up menu, select Show Package Contents. You should see your voiceover recording in the package contents folder, named Voiceover Recording.caf (probably with a number appended).


    Copy and paste the .caf file to the Desktop. Rename the copy to something more meaningful (but keep the .caf extension). Open it with QuickTime Player. If it plays OK, from the QT menu select File>Export to>iTunes. In iMovie, drag the newly named voiceover from the Music Browser (iTunes section) to the appropriate position in your project timeline.


    Note that, when the .caf file is imported to iTunes, it is converted to the import format set in iTunes Preferences. For files used in iMovie it's probably best to set the iTunes Preference to either AAC or AIFF (mine is set to AAC). Both these file types will work fine in iMovie.


    If the newly imported voiceover works in iMovie, delete the original from the timeline (or at least mute the volume, even though you may not be able to hear it). To delete an audio track, click on it so that it is highlighted then hit the Delete key on the keyboard.




    Message was edited by: John Cogdell

  • pip-pop Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks very much for your thoughts John. I have made the film in iMovie HD and I can't find any iMovie HD projects in the iMovie Project files, only old ones I must have made with iMovie? Is there an equivalent for iMovie HD 6?


    I tried a search for .caf files, 'voiceover' and iMovie HD but haven't found anything useful yet. Very grateful for your input.

  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    Sorry, but I assumed you were using iMovie '11 (or '08 or '09). The method will be a little different for iMovie HD or iMovie HD 6 projects. It's a while since I last used these, so I will do a test for you shortly and report back.



  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    To see the audio waveforms in an iMovie HD project, go to the menu item View and check (tick) the item named Show Audio Waveforms.


    In the project timeline at the far right position you will see check boxes for turning the volume on and off for each of the 2 separate audio tracks (as well as for the video track above the audio tracks). Ensure that both audio tracks (and video track if required) have the volume enabled by ticking the boxes.


    There is an apparent bug regarding these audio check boxes, which I noticed years ago after one of the updates. Checking a box doesn't always activate the audio for a particular track. Turning both audio tracks on will usually allow you to hear both tracks. One solution I've found is to drag the audio into the alternate track. So, for track 1 drag it to track 2. For track 2 (which might be your voiceover), drag it to track 1.


    After dragging tracks as described, you should now be able to hear track 2 playing in track 1, but you may still need to have audio enabled for both tracks. It's difficult to describe exactly what happens, but just play around with the check boxes and moving tracks up and down until you get the desired result.


    You can find the voiceovers in the project's package contents folder. Find your project on the hard drive (wherever you've stored it). Right-click on the project and select Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. You will find the voiceovers in the Media folder, named Voice 01.mov, Voice 02.mov and so on. If all else fails, you may need to convert the audio file to a different format, as I described previously.


    Hope this helps to get your audio working correctly. Please post back if you need more information.



  • pip-pop Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks again John. I've tried all the different permutations of dragging tracks and clicking tickboxes, but still no joy.


    I found the voiceovers in the project's package contents folder and saved them to the desktop with new names (but still .mov) and these wouldn't open in Quick Time Player.


    I then tried retitling them as a range of different formats (I tried all of those in this list: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3775?viewlocale=en_US) to see if any of those would open in Quick Time Player and they didn't.


    I tried dragging them or adding them into itunes as many of these different formats, and itunes wouldn't accept any of them. (Yesterday I did export a version of the film and put that successfully into itunes movies to see if by some bizarre reason that would bring the sound back, but of course it didn't...)


    Do you have any more ideas? Many thanks for your help.

  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    That's strange that the voiceovers will not open in QuickTime Player. A short test I did showed the following (from QT menu item Window>Show Movie Inspector):


    Movie Inspector.png


    I'm using QuickTime Player X, but the .mov file also opens in QuickTime Player 7. The format within the .mov file (which is just a container) is 16 bit PCM.


    You could try opening one of your voiceovers in the free audio editing program Audacity. My test file opens and plays perfectly in that program. You can use Audacity to export in a wide range of formats, including "AIFF (Apple) signed 16 bit PCM" and "M4A (AAC)", both of which will work in iMovie. Audacity can be downloaded here:




    Failing this, I'm at a loss as to what else to suggest. Possibly (but hopefully not) your voiceovers are corrupted. Did you use iMovie's built-in recording feature (found in the Media Audio panel)? Or did you do the recording using another application? My test was done in iMovie HD version 6.0.3 under Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8.4).



  • pip-pop Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks John. I have QuickTime Player 10.1. I'll try Audacity next. I did use iMovie's built-in recording feature. Will let you know how I get on...

  • pip-pop Level 1 (0 points)

    I've downloaded Audacity (and then FFmpeg_v0.6.2_for_Audacity_on_OSX.dm in case that helped), and restarted etc. but Audacity won't open the audio file - it will only accept it if I upload the .mov file as 'raw data' but it's just corrupted noise - I tried uploading is as both mono and stereo.


    Does this mean my source material has somehow corrupted? Many thanks.

  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    pip-pop wrote:


    Does this mean my source material has somehow corrupted?

    It doesn't look promising. When you open the file in Audacity is there a short description in the first column showing the format? If so, what does it show?


    Here's a screenshot of what I see in Audacity:




    Sorry, but I think I've run out of ideas. Hopefully someone else here has some experience with this type of problem. There must be something amiss with the file if it won't open and play correctly in Audacity, or with QuickTime. It's hard to understand what may have gone wrong in iMovie. Did the file ever play properly in iMovie, or did you have a problem with it after initially recording it (sorry if we've already covered this).


    It sounds like an issue for an audio engineer to check out. Do you know of anyone locally who may be able to analyze the file?


    Best of luck with this.



  • pip-pop Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks John - it will only let me import it as 'raw data' as it doesn't recognise the file format, so I can choose whichever settings I want. Most of them don't work at all, but there are a few where I can hear the audio, but with a regular beeping throughout and/or the voice is speeded up or slowed down. The defaults just give me white noise. One that allows me to hear the (sped up with beeps!) audio, gives the details in the box your red arrow points to above of 44100Hz (the default it gives me when I import the raw data as below) and 32-bit float (when I choose 'signed 16 bit PCM' as the import - see settings I chose below)


    Screen Shot 2013-07-04 at 09.30.45.png


    It's very weird. Yes the file recorded fine, played properly in iMovie for a while, and then suddenly disappeared while the project was open. I was copying and pasting the same audio recording between the two tracks to edit it in this project, while also exporting another open project...


    I think I am going to have to give up and try to find a way to record the audio again - tricky as it was immediate and personal. I'm concerned that I could lose the audio again too - will try to do lots of back-ups and keep my fingers crossed. Thanks for all your help.

  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    Thanks for providing that extra detail. I now understand what you meant by importing raw data. I hadn't seen that before, but I don't use Audacity much. I use it mainly for editing snippets of songs for use in iDVD Themes, where you can add your own music to the looping theme (usually 30 seconds duration) rather than using the default theme audio.


    This is very frustrating for you, particularly as it's audio that is not easily replaced. Hope you are able to replicate it for use in your iMovie project. I was thinking that it may be better to do the recording outside of iMovie, using Audacity for example. You might also be able to use GarageBand if you have that app. Whatever you choose, do a test recording beforehand and ensure that it plays back OK and works with iMovie (goes without saying of course).