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BobRhodes Level 1 (0 points)

After upgrading to the newest iMovie (version 10.0), I've found what seems to be dramatically less control over "audio ducking." Where in previous versions I could set a clip to duck all others to a broad range of mixes, this newest version of iMovie seems to limit that control.


Even by boosting a clip's level to 400% and setting the ducking level to it's lowest setting (strange that there's only a slider and no longer a percentage shown), my audio mix is still unacceptable. In other words, my background music still gets in the way of the audio of my primary clip.


I'd like to use this new version of iMovie but find that I must use iMovie '11 (version 9.0.9) in order to have more flexibility with ducking.


Is there a setting or solution that I'm missing? Or is there a fix? Thanks in advance.

iMovie 10.0, OS X Mavericks (10.9), MacBook Pro Mid-2012
  • xJoe999 Level 1 (10 points)

    I found something you may use. If you look at the end of your audio clip, there is a small button. Move it left and it will "go silent". I hope it helps a little.

  • xJoe999 Level 1 (10 points)

    I mean FADE OUT.

  • xJoe999 Level 1 (10 points)

    I think I found it in the iMovie help.


    Adjust audio

    iMovie has a number of tools you can use to automatically enhance the audio in your movie. You can boost the volume level of quiet audio in a clip, apply an equalizer preset, reduce background noise, and lower the volume of other audio playing along with a clip.


    Automatically enhance audio



    Lower the volume of other clips that play at the same time

    When you have background sound or other clips with audio playing at the same time as a clip you want to hear in the foreground, you can automatically lower the volume of the other clips so that they don’t compete with the clip you want to hear.

    For example, if you record a section of voiceover audio, you can have iMovie lower the volume of background music and other clips while the voiceover clip plays.

    1. In the timeline, select the clip whose audio you want to hear in the foreground.Figure. Audio clip selected in the timeline.
    2. Click the Adjust button in the toolbar.Figure. Adjust button in the toolbar.The adjustments bar appears above the viewer.
    3. To show the volume controls, click the Volume button.Figure. Volume button in the adjustments bar.
    4. Select the “Lower volume of other clips” checkbox.Figure. "Lower volume of other clips” checkbox is selected in the adjustments bar.The volume of the clips that aren’t selected is lowered.Figure. Timeline showing lowered volume on non-selected clips.
    5. Drag the slider to set the volume of other clips relative to the volume of the selected clip.



  • drbooya Level 1 (0 points)

    Just noticed this today - either I'm missing something obvious or we can throw this on the pile of annoying changes iMovie is going through.


    Even with the slider all the way to the left on the ducking volume, this was not enough to reduce the volume of the background music - the voice of the on-camera subject still could not be heard clearly.


    The only solution I found was to drag down the volume of the background music track at the bottom of the window, down from 100%, along with keeping the ducking slider all the way to the left.


    I think Apple figures that most consumers are more interested in how to "share" their video on social networks than how to make a semi-professional video.

  • xJoe999 Level 1 (10 points)

    For me it works OK, you just need to practice it.

  • J MAZ Level 3 (820 points)

    Not sure if I'm missing something in your description but the ducking slider makes the underlying audio quieter as you go to the right, not left. So, moving the slider all the way to the left would make the underlying track louder, and moving it to the right would make it softer.

  • drbooya Level 1 (0 points)

    Interesting - I'll try that out when I get a chance. All the more reason they should have attached a percentage to the slider...

  • xJoe999 Level 1 (10 points)

    Just leave it as it is and you will see. Strange it has no %, works somehow "automaticaly".

  • canjoe Level 1 (0 points)

    There are bugs with the new iMovie 10, changing transition lengths is one, scrubbing while playback on time, stabiliser adjustment not accurate (harder to control), and just discoverd today that ducking video sound with a music track isn't working for me. There is no % percentage anymore, and istead look like each video clip has to be adusted instead (at least that is what they said at the iMovie tutorial at Apple Store) - defeats the upgrade as means this version will mean more time to produce anything than previous version with offered more features, and ones that actually worked.


    The new iMovie 10 looks nice, but functions less impressive than previous version.

  • Slackbridge Level 1 (5 points)

    Thank you for the answer in the previous posts, though I missed it when I first skimmed the replies. So I'll state it very simply for other people like me who need things stated very simply:


    How To Reduce The Audio Of A Background Music Track Under A Single Video Clip (also known as "Ducking") In iMovie 10.0

    (You use this when you want the music to swell for graphics and fade down a little when someone's talking.)


    1. Drag the music clip you want into place on the project timeline, so it's under the "talking" video clip. (Its volume will be 100%. You can leave this alone.)


    2. In project timeline click on the video clip with the talking. The clip will appear in the Adjustment box.


    3. Click the Adjust icon. Click the Audio icon. Check "Lower volume of other clips."


    4. As you move the slider button to the right, look at your music track. A "shadow" is growing under your talking video clip and the music track volume is going down for the duration of that clip. Slide it further to the RIGHT for MORE ducking. Slide it to the LEFT for LESS ducking. (This is somewhat counterintuitive.)


    5. You can do this for a bunch of video clips at once by selecting them. But I prefer to do it a clip at a time.


    Hope this helps somebody.

  • BobRhodes Level 1 (0 points)

    J MAZ this nailed it. It does seem counter-intuitive to slide to the right, and yet that's the answer. Thanks very much!

  • jillml79 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the slider all the way to the left, but it still DRAMATICALLY lowers the background music to the point where it is a very awkward transition. I only want the background music to drop slightly since there isn't much of interest on the audio of the clip (just a few words). Do you know how to do this? I'm in the middle of a major project, and I wish I'd never changed to '13.

  • Slackbridge Level 1 (5 points)

    When I have the slider to the left, it makes no noticeable difference to the background music level. Something isn't right on your system. I'd try exiting iMovie and restarting.

  • jillml79 Level 1 (0 points)

    I think the range of volume for the ducking is relative to the volume of the clip. The particular clip I'm having trouble with has only a few words during a 30 second clip. Therefore, the new iMovie is trying to outsmart itself by only allowing me to have the background music at a certain level. If I turn the volume of the clip up to 400%, the background music would be louder but those few words are blasted. Make sense?

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