6 Easy Steps to Doing Voice-Overs in iMovie

This week I shot a ton of video in Pacifica, CA.  For those unfamiliar with the area it’s a town right on the coast just south of San Francisco.  It’s notoriously cold, foggy, and windy during the summer months.  For the most part, this week was no exception to those generally accepted beliefs.  The wind meant it would be near impossible for me to record my voice in a way the audience could hear and understand.  I tried it a few times and it sounded awful.  I decided to just capture the video and images I wanted and then record my voice later.  I had no idea how remarkably simple iMovie would make that task.  So this week my big learning is don’t be afraid of recording voice-overs in iMovie because it’s awesomely simple.

Step 1:

Select the video clip you want to voice over and mute its audio by sliding the audio volume to the far left.

1 - Mute Video

Step 2:

Select the position you want to start your voice-over.   Don’t tap on the video clip but in a neutral area of the screen like right before the video clip.

2 - Select Audio Position

Step 3:

Tap on the Microphone button in the bottom right corner.  This will display the Ready to Record prompt.

3 - Tap Mic

Step 4:

iMovie will do this really handy countdown where it plays the prior few seconds of your movie.  This will help you determine when you should start recording your voice over.  It will take a few times for you to get used to how the countdown works but once you do, it’s invaluable.4 - Countdown

Step 5:

Stop the recording and review your voice-over.  If you’re like me you’ll mess up the first one every time.  No big deal, just tap retake and iMovie will simply start the countdown again for you to give it another go at it.

5 - Review

Step 6:

Once you have a good recording accept it and place it under the video clip.  I then trimmed some of the video clips if the audio and video timings were drastically different.

6 - Finished

Finished!  You can checkout my voice-over handy work, minus the wind, in this week’s production video.




7 thoughts on “6 Easy Steps to Doing Voice-Overs in iMovie

  1. Nice post, love the screen shots per step I bet others will find useful! When doing walk throughs via screen shots, a tool like Skitch (http://evernote.com/skitch/), Preview on Mac, or a drawing tool on PC, can help you add notes and arrows on each picture to draw the eye to a particular spot, which is helpful on complex images. Nice work on video though. – Scott

  2. Nate, this is a great post. I re-did my voice over several times too!

    For me, it was a struggle to speak slowly and not flubble over my words. I think another item that helped me, was to create a “script” and follow it…I’m not so hot at ad libbing what I want to say.

  3. Nice video. Do you think the trash on the side of the road was thrown from cars or dumped by pedestrians? I didn’t notice any sidewalks. I also found the voice-overs rather easy but I left the original sound on as well; made it sound as if I was talking while walking.

  4. Thanks! This is very helpful! I had planned to do voice-overs for my video and them wimped out when it didn’t seem as simple as I thought.

  5. I hadn’t even thought of doing voice over for my video – this is why I love these posts, you get to see what others are doing and how they are learning. Awesome! Also, you may have just inspired me to go to Pacifica today 🙂

  6. Wow! Beautiful pictures…. Yea you got the whole video taking down. I took some video and a bunch of it got deleted or didn’t save so i had to scramble last minute using pictures etc. It was a NIGHTMARE! Anyway, great post and perhaps I’ll try it!

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