Forum Question: “Detaching Audio” in IMovie

I’m quite sure this situation has been discussed many times on this forum but I am new and do not see a way to navigate to it. I need help removing the complete audio file from clips I have in my “Events Library”. I copied clips using my Sony CRX 150 of some really old 8MM silent film and have some really great footage with the sound of a Mack Truck over it all!! I used the “help” menu and found the instructions but when I get to the option to “Detach Audio” it is grayed out!! What’s that? I want to add music to some silent files! Thanks
Sam Sayger

Comments: 23 Responses to ““Detaching Audio” in IMovie”

    6/26/11 @ 9:33 pm

    The Detach Audio option is only active on clips put in the project space (top). So you need to first drag the clips from the media library (bottom) to the project space (top) when you want to use one. Then you can select it up there and remove the audio in many ways: Detach Audio, lower the volume to 0, etc. Then you can put music over the clips in the project space.

      Sam Sayger
      6/28/11 @ 4:59 am

      Thaks tons Gary!!! I thought I was supposed to remove the audio while it was still selected in my library!!! Duh!! Does that remove all the audio and leave the clip so that I may add music? I did discover in my feeble efforts that you can actually drag the music directly from the Music Library to the “event” at the top. I was attemptig to remove the sound (with the “slider”) at the bottom and add at the top.
      Thanks so much!
      Sam in MS

        6/28/11 @ 12:27 pm

        If you detach audio, or simply lower the volume to 0, then the audio will be silent on those clips. Add music then and the music is all you will hear.

      Eddy D
      1/31/13 @ 8:45 pm

      Im having a problem , i have detached the audio but when i export the file the audio is still there ,please help.

    7/10/11 @ 2:41 pm

    Hi Gary,
    I hope you can help. I have multiple videos with only audio and no video. I am using iMovie 11 and I would like to detach audio and select images or other video to go over the videos that only have audio. (Who’s on first?) I am new to Macs and also to video editing. I appreciate the help if possible. Thanks a bunch.

      7/10/11 @ 2:55 pm

      Put the images in first. Then add the video clips after them. Select the first one and detach audio. Slide that audio over to the images. Delete the remaining video. Then repeat with your other videos.

    7/12/11 @ 10:04 am

    I don’t understand how to separate them to delete either video or audio?

      7/12/11 @ 10:09 am

      Select the clip in the project. Choose Clip, Detach Audio from the menu bar.

    7/12/11 @ 5:16 pm

    Ok. I understand how to do that part. It leaves me with a purple bar and a video clip. I am having a hard time understanding what the next step is.

      7/12/11 @ 5:48 pm

      Select one or the other. Hit delete.

        Mike Stein
        2/1/12 @ 12:06 pm

        When I’ve detached my audio in the project space and try to delete the video intending to leave only the original audio, it deletes both a/v like they’re linked or something. I’m 100% positive the only thing selected is the video.

          2/1/12 @ 1:11 pm

          You need to have some video in the timeline. So add something else, another video, background, photo, something. Then move the detatched audio under it. Then delete the unwanted video.

    11/14/11 @ 3:50 pm

    Can I cut portions of audio to get rid of dead air, background laughing etc – right now I have the sound to 0 but that just creates dead air that I want to get rid of. I have iMovie11

      11/14/11 @ 3:52 pm

      You want to cut the video as well then? Just split the clip in two places and remove the middle of the three sections created.

    3/8/12 @ 1:05 pm

    i have run into a problem with detaching audio from a clip. now there is no volume. detaching works fine on other parts of the video but not this one part. any idea what is going on?

      3/8/12 @ 10:48 pm

      Hard to say. Experiment with it. Try different things. Isolate the clip in its own project and play with it, etc.

    tom w
    3/12/12 @ 3:07 pm

    The best way to remove all the audio from a project of several clips is to Export the project as .wav or .aiff.. then you can use audition or another audio program to repair unwanted noises and then replace the audio in your project by dragging the fixed clip back into iMovie..

    4/27/12 @ 11:15 pm


    I really hope you can help me.. I’ve been working on a project for the past few days, and everything was going well.. Until this morning. I replayed what was working last night, only to find that several clips of detached audio (again, working perfectly last night) would no longer play! (Other tracks, such as imported voiceovers are still working fine).

    I then tried to detach audio from another clip, and even when perfectly aligned with the video, there was no sound. Ducking was turned off, and the volume on the detached audio was at 100%.

    I cannot fathom why detaching was working last night and not this morning! Please help!

      4/27/12 @ 11:26 pm

      Just a quick update,

      I created a new project and began copying detached audio from the old project, pasting it into the new one. It works perfectly in the new project, but still no sound in the old one. Why would the malfunction be specific to the old project? What the deuce is going on?

      (does this mean i need to copy and past everything I’ve already done into a new project just to get it to work normally?!?!)

        4/28/12 @ 8:13 am

        Possibly. Impossible to say without “being there” to have a look. Just sounds like the old project is corrupt in some way. Hard to say.

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