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Using iLife '11: How to Record through the Microphone in iMovie

Every Mac has the built-in capability to record sound. You can use the built-in microphone on the Mac models that have one or attach an external USB microphone. To add a voice-over or any recording through the microphone (such as a harmonica or ambient sound) to an iMovie project in iLife, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Voiceover button (the Microphone icon) in the center of the toolbar.

  2. Choose a microphone from the Record From pop-up menu.

  3. To check the sound level, speak into the microphone and check the volume-level meters.

    The levels should be a bit more than halfway across for the best sound quality. Try to keep the meters in the green area. (Yellow is too loud, and red means that your voice is distorted, or clipped, in the recording.)

  4. Drag the Input Volume slider to the right to make it louder (for a soft voice) or to the left to make it softer (for a loud voice).

  5. (Optional) Drag the Noise Reduction slider far to the right to reduce ambient noise in the recording.

    If you want to retain some background sound as part of your recording, drag the slider to the left.

  6. (Optional) Turn on voice enhancement to make your recorded voice sound as smooth as a crooner or torch singer.

  7. To hear the sound while you record your voice-over, get out your headphones or earbuds and turn on the Play Project Audio While Recording option.

    You need the headphones or earbuds so that the microphone doesn’t pick up the sound of the video’s playback and start a feedback loop.

  8. When you’re ready to begin recording, move the pointer into the Project Browser and click the point in the project clip where you want the voice-over to begin.

    iMovie displays the message Get Ready in the Viewer pane and counts down from three to one.

  9. Begin speaking at the end of the count, when the word Recording appears.

  10. To stop recording the voice-over, press the spacebar or click anywhere in the iMovie window.

    A purple marker appears under the project clip to mark your recording.

To continue recording more voice-overs in the project, click another point in the project clip where you want the next voice-over to begin and iMovie then sets you up for the next recording.

You can drag the marker to move the voice-over to a different spot in the clip or to another project clip. You can also make the voice-over itself shorter by dragging the right end of the voice-over marker to the left. Making the voice-over shorter cuts off the end of the recording.

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