How to Reduce Background Noise in iMovie on Mac

The audio quality in a home video leaves something to be desired. A normal microphone will capture a lot of background audio, and the speech volume won’t be high enough. Here’s how to fix these issues using iMovie on Mac.

The iMovie app on Mac has a built-in tool for removing background noise and for increasing the volume. And for a free app that comes with the Mac, it does a very good job. You won’t need to use an online tool or pay for a specialized program.

First, you’ll need the iMovie app. If it’s not pre-installed on your Mac, you can download it from the Mac App Store.

Now, after opening iMovie, click the “Create New” button from the “Projects” screen.

Click Create New from Project Screen

From the pop-up menu, choose the “Movie” option.

Click Movie in Projects Screen

iMovie will now open a new movie project. In the top-left corner, you’ll see all the media from your Photos Library. If your movie clip is in the Photos app, you can select it from here.

iMovie Project Editing Screen

If it’s in the Finder, you can simply drag and drop the movie file into the bottom section of the project window. This is the timeline view.

Drag the Video file in iMovie

Once the movie is imported, you’ll see it in the timeline view. Select the movie file. The movie’s preview can be found in the editing screen in the top-right corner.

You can make edits and see them live here. Just hit the Play button to start playback and use the timeline view to change the playback position.

iMovie Editing Section

First, let’s reduce the background noise. To do this, click the Background Noise icon from the top of the editing section.

Next, click the checkmark next to the “Reduce Background Noise” option to enable the feature. By default, iMovie reduces the noise by 50%, but you can increase or decrease it to your liking.

Reduce Background Noise in iMovie

Try out different levels and hear how the background audio level changes. If you increase the background noise too much, it actually changes the speech as well (making it tinny and hollow). So spend some time finding the sweet spot.

If you like, try a different equalizer as well. For speech, we found the “Flat” equalizer to be the best.

Now it’s time to increase the volume. Here, switch to the Volume section from the top.

If you don’t want to fiddle with the volume settings, just press the “Auto” button. iMovie does a pretty good job of analyzing the voice (or the sound) and increasing the volume appropriately. This makes sure that with the increase in volume, there’s no voice tearing or distortion.

Increase Volume in iMovie

You can also use the slider to increase the volume manually. You can take the volume up to 400% if you want. Again, it’s best to try out different levels.

Spend some time changing both variables to increase the voice quality of your movie. We were able to improve the quality of the audio from our AirPods Pro massively.

Related: How to Use Your AirPods and AirPods Pro: The Complete Guide

Once you’re done, it’s time to export the video. To do this, click the Share button from the top-right corner and choose the “Export File” option.

Explore Movie File

From this window, you can customize the export options like the resolution of the video, compression, quality, and more. From the “Format” section, you can also choose to export only the audio. Once you’re done, click the “Next” button.

Click Next in iMovie

Give the video file a name, choose a location to store your file in, and click the “Save” button.

Give Movie a Name and Click Save

iMovie will now start working on the export. In a while, you’ll get a notification saying that the movie file was exported successfully.

Movie Exported in iMovie

Click the notification to see the exported file. You can now view the exported file or share it with anyone using email or cloud-sharing services like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Related: How to Create Shareable Download Links for Files on Google Drive

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