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How To Alter Audio in Windows Movie Maker

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 8/6/2008

Audio is a tricky thing to mess with, but you can still make some alterations in Windows Movie Maker.

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    Audio Is Important

    No matter what editing software you are working with, it is important to be able to adjust and alter the audio in the Timeline. Whether it is the audio from a video clip or a song you are putting in the background, you need to adjust volume and the consistency of the sound over the course of the video project. Windows Movie Maker is a simple editing program for home digital video producers, but it still allows you to do some much needed audio fixing.

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    The Timeline

    In Movie Maker all of your clips, both audio and video, go into the Timeline. This is where the clips are arranged as blocks and are placed together so they create a sequence. In the Timeline there are tracks for video and for audio. When you put a video clip into the Timeline the video for that clip will appear in a video track and the audio will appear in the audio track. You can then work with the audio track specifically, separate from the video track.

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    Volume and Effects

    If you would like to change the volume of an audio clip in the Timeline you click on the clip, go to the 'Clip' menu in the task bar, go to the 'Audio' option, and select 'Volume'. A window will pop up allowing you to make the sound louder or softer on the selected clip. The 'Clip' menu also gives you the options to mute the audio clip completely and at “Fade In and Fade Out.” These are nice audio transitions that allow you to place a volume fade from mute to full volume at the beginning of a clip, and a fade down from full volume to mute at the end. This is a comparative transition to video fades, and the two are often coupled together. When in the 'Clip' menu’s 'Audio' section, you either select 'Fade In' or 'Fade Out' depending on whether you want the transition on the beginning or end of your selected audio clip, and it will place the effect there.

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    Moving the Audio

    You also have the ability to remove sound from the video entirely, or remove the video from your sound. Since your sound is essentially a separate item from your video when it is in the Timeline, you are able to do whatever you want with it. For example, if you would prefer to have the audio from one clip simply act as a voiceover for some other clips, you can simply delete the accompanying video. Keep the audio track in the Timeline, then lay the other video over it. To make this voiceover approach even more successful, you could lower the volume of the audio track on the video clip you will be using and raise the volume on the voiceover track.

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    Limited Options

    Windows Movie Maker is not designed to give the video editor a ton of options, but you can still do some important alterations. The editor can change volume, audio position, and even add some effects. Now it’s up to you to decide how you want to approach the audio in your project.