How to Edit a Podcast in iMovie and Get Perfect Audio

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Never used iMovie before? It’s free, it’s MacOS/iOS only, and its intuitive like all Apple gear. Perfect for editing your podcast. We’ll simply cover some basics today – in other words, show you how to:

  • Load up your recording
  • Trim it and adjust the settings
  • Export it audience-ready

If you prefer to edit your podcast on Audacity,  Anchor, or GarageBand, we also have you covered.

Laid Back, Tidier-Upper, Perfectionist? You Still Need iMovie!

Does sounding human count most in your podcast? Will your audience accept a quick tidy-up leaving the odd um and ah? Or is your message so important you can’t allow any distraction?

Whichever your answer, once you’ve recorded your episode, you’ll still need to know how to load and make basic adjustments to what you’ve recorded. Here’s the step-by-step way to get started.

A legend of the areas of iMovie

Figure 1

Keep an eye on Figure 1 to easily find everything. And put your recording somewhere easy to find e.g. on your desktop.

  • Fire up iMovie.
  • In the box, top left, click My Media and select your file from where you just put it. It appears in the resource area (1).
  • If you want a short intro or outro music track, load that in as well (2). Saves time later!
  •  Drag your podcast recording (1) to the panel at the bottom (3). This is your workspace.
  • OK so far? You now need a “background” – the “canvas” your recording will fit into and be exported with at the end. So –
  • Back at top left, click on (you got it!) Backgrounds (4). Choose plain or fancy, your call.
  • Drag it down and place it just above your recorded track (5). Hover at the end, then grab and drag the arrows to make it longer or shorter till it matches your own track (you’ll get a helpful yellow guide).
  • If you want that intro/outro to play at the start/end, you may as well drag it there now – shunt it right up next to your podcast track (6). It fits like a glove. Stretch the background to be level at each end (7).

All set? Let’s make your audio perfect!

How Do I Trim and Adjust My Podcast Recording?

This is where the fun starts, whether you’re a laid-back podcaster or more meticulous. You’ll soon see why.

Scroll left or right with a trackpad or magic mouse (or use CMD+ or CMD- to zoom in and out) and examine your track.

Split Clip option in the iMovie Modify menu dropdown

Figure 2

Did you find some long silences (with the giveaway flat line) or somewhere you knocked the mic over (a very loud bit in the line)? Don’t worry! Here’s how to cut it out:

  1. Click inside the track to select it with a yellow outline (8).
  2. Place the vertical marker (9) – the one that’s been following your cursor around! – at the start of what you want to chop out.
  3. In the main menu, choose Modify, then Split Clip (Figure 2). You now have two pieces.
  4. On the section with the unwanted piece, repeat points 1 and 2 above. This isolates that section. Press your delete key.
  5. Shunt the remaining sections together in your timeline.

And those adjustments?

As we’re covering just basics today to get you up and running in iMovie, we’ll use just two settings:

1 Volume

Click in your podcast track first to focus on it. Then click on the volume icon (10) in the viewer window top right (Figure 1), and use the sliders. 100% is often fine. You could instead grab the fine horizontal line in the track window (11) and drag it up or down to adjust volume.

Next, click on your intro/outro music (if you placed one) and adjust those volumes to match – or keep it low and cool! Your call.

2 Noise reduction and equalizer

Find the bar graph icon top right (12) and choose 100% to reduce any background noise you accidentally recorded.

You can play with the other controls later, but for now, check everything looks joined up and that it starts and ends level with the “background” canvas.

You’re now good to export your work.

Finally, Export Your Audience-Ready Editing

The ubiquitous “share” button is top right (13). Choose the File option, then Audio Only, and MP3 for the file format.

This produces the file you’ll upload to your podcast host, so keep it in a special iMovie podcast folder. It will be the first of many you edit in iMovie.

Why iMovie when you could pay for another app?

The reason is that editing your podcast in iMovie is simple, effective and enjoyable. The app has lots to offer as you grow your skills, but for now, you can confidently

  • load up your podcast,
  • trim out the unwanted bits, and
  • adjust the volume and noise sliders ready for export to a podcast host.

Don’t forget to share your perfect audio on social to increase your audience!