Chapter 9. Narration, Music, and Sound

If you’re lucky, you may someday get a chance to watch a movie whose soundtrack isn’t yet finished. You’ll be scanning channels and stumble across a special about how movies are made, or you’ll see a tribute to a film composer, or you’ll rent a movie DVD that includes a “making of” documentary. These TV shows and DVDs sometimes include a couple of minutes of the finished movie as it looked before the musical soundtrack and sound effects were added.

At that moment, your understanding of the film medium will take an enormous leap forward. “Jeez,” you’ll say, “without music and sound effects, this $100 million Hollywood film has no more emotional impact than…my home movies!”

And you’ll be right. It’s true that the visual component of film is the most, well, visible. Movie stars and directors become household names, but not the sound editors, composers, foley (sound effects) artists, and others who devote their careers to the audio experience of film.

But without music, sound effects (called SFX for short), and sound editing, even the best Hollywood movie will leave you cold and unimpressed.

Three Kinds of Audio

In iMovie ’11, Apple finally heard the cries of iMovie users everywhere. With this version, you can finally edit the audio in clips with a traditional rubber-band/timeline tool. This tool shows you the waveforms of the clips, where you can make all the volume changes you want.

iMovie’s designers have also designated two additional kinds of audio ...

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