Extract Audio From A Video On A Mac

Audio waveforms help you see where to edit sound files.

You can extract audio from video clips using any video editing software available for the Mac operating system. The cheapest and easiest Apple products available for this are iMovie and Quicktime Pro. Whether you use these applications, or more expensive Apple products like Final Cut Pro or Final Cut Express, the basic steps are the same: bring a video clip into the editing program and then export the audio as a WAV or AIFF file. Once exported, your audio file may be played with iTunes, an mp3 player or as an audio CD. It can also be re-imported into video editing programs as an audio element.

Instructions

Using iMovie

1. Launch iMovie from your dock or from your “Applications” folder.

2. Click on “New Project…” located in the “File” menu. A dialog box appears, asking you to name your new project. Type your chosen project name in the text field, then click on the “Create” button.

3. Click on “Import Movies…” located in the “File” Menu. When the dialog box appears, select the desired video from your files and click on the “Import” button. After a few moments, your clip will appear as a thumbnail in the Library portion of the iMovie interface.

4. Click once on the video thumbnail. A yellow box forms on the thumbnail, selecting a portion of the video clip that you’ll be working with. Click and drag the right side of the yellow box to the spot in the video clip where you want your audio to end. This is the “out point” of your clip. To set your “in point,” click and drag the left side of the yellow box to where you want the audio to begin. If you want to extract audio from the entire clip, make sure the yellow box is dragged all the way to the right and left edges of the thumbnail.

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5. Drag and drop the thumbnail into the dark gray box on the upper left side of the iMovie application window. This inserts the clip into your project.

6. Click on “Export Using QuickTime,” under the “Share” menu. If you do not have Apple QuickTime installed on your Mac, you may have to download the free QuickTime player from Apple’s website (see Resources) for this step to work properly.

7. When the dialog box appears, type in the desired name of your new audio file and choose where you’d like it to be saved. Click on the drop-down menu next to “Export” and choose “Sound to AIFF” or “Sound to Wave” (AIFF and WAV are both audio file formats). Finally, click on the “Save” button.

Using QuickTime Pro

8. Launch QuickTime Pro from your dock or from your “Applications” folder.

9. Click on “Open File…” located in the “File” menu. Select the desired video from your files and click on the “Open” button. Your video clip will appear in the player window.

Note that the following QuickTime Pro steps cannot be performed with the free version of Apple QuickTime. You must upgrade your free version to QuickTime Pro for $30, as of 2010, on Apple’s website (see Resources).

10. Position the scrubber triangle at the spot on the timeline where you’d like your extracted audio clip to begin. You can click and drag the triangle, or press the “Play” button and wait for it to reach your chosen start point. When the scrubber triangle is in place, press the “I” button on your keyboard to set your “in point.” You’ll see that a thin bar is now positioned at your in point. To mark your “out point,” where you want the audio clip to finish, position the scrubber triangle at the desired spot on the timeline and press the “O” button on your keyboard.

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11. Click “Trim to Selection” located in the “Edit” menu. The unwanted pieces of video and audio that come before or after your edit points are now removed.

12. Click on “Export…” under the “File” menu.

13. When the dialog box appears, type in a name for your new audio file and select where you want to save it. Click the drop-down menu next to “Export” and choose either “Sound to AIFF” or “Sound to Wave,” then click the “Save” button.