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April 10, 2013
TutorialsVideo EditingVideo Production

Time Saving Tip – Replace Audio in Quick Time Pro 7

Save Rendering Time by Replacing Audio Tracks in Quicktime Pro 7

It never fails that you’ve just spent good time exporting your film from your NLE, run it through a compression program to turn it into a client friendly H.264 file and a last minute audio tweak or music change comes through. Save time re-exporting and re-rendering with this simple method of replacing the audio in your quicktime file. This is particularly useful if you’re a composer or mixer appending new audio to a file for client review.

Step 1 – Open Your Files

Quicktime Player Pro 7 may or may not be installed on your system but if you’re used to doing much post production you’ll probably already have it. If not visit this Apple site to learn how to install it in different OSX versions.

Open your original audio & video file in QTPro7 by right (ctrl) clicking and pressing ‘open with…’  and then do the same with your new audio file.

Changing audio in QT without Rendering

Step 2 – Remove Original Audio

Select the original audio & video file and press CMD+J to open up the movie properties for the file (or go to Window > Show Movie Properties)  You should see a video track, audio track and timecode track listed in the top section and in the resources tab where that audio track, video track and timecode track are originating from. Select the audio track and delete it. You can either hit backspace on your keyboard or the delete button in the top left of the window.

Save rendering with simple trick

Step 3 – Copying and Pasting

Select the new audio file and press CMD+A to select it all. Press CMD+C to copy it. Now select the original video file and press CMD+ALT+V to add it to the movie file (you can also do all that from the Edit menu if you prefer). Notice that the source for the Sound Track in the properties window of the video and new audio file is New Audio.aif.  It is important that the ‘playhead’ in the video file is at the very start of the file as the audio will paste in from wherever it is placed.

Replace audio in H.264 mov without rendering

Step 4 – Save As…

For the final step simply press Shift+CMD+S (File > Save As…) to save the file as a new audio and video file without having to re-render your H.264 video. Make sure you have ‘Save as self-contained movie’ checked so that Quicktime collects up the ‘external’ new audio you pasted in. Quicktime will quickly save and your file is updated with the new audio.

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  • Randy Cates

    I’m getting an error when saving, “The movie //name of file// could not be saved. Movie contains an incorrect time value.”

  • Scott Mason

    I’m getting that same error “Movie contains an incorrect time value” I know it’s the same length and I used to be able to do this successfully all the time. Is it an AAC thing I was reading somewhere on an older forum where they were talking about using PCM audio compression, but I thought that might have just been an older post, before AAC was mainstream? now in Premiere I don’t even see PCM as an option. Is anyone still successfull in doing this within QT 7?

    • Jonny Elwyn

      You can export PCM audio in QT7 by exporting your audio in the aiff format. I can paste in both aac audo and PCM audio and I don’t have this error. So possibly it’s a different problem? Sorry that’s not much help!

  • Ray Stroud

    I’ve just upgraded to QT Pro 7 to do this but am not having any success. I have an aif. file to use in place of the one with the video (the same source file but enhanced using Logic Pro X). I open the box with CMD+J and delete the original audio track but I cannot understand the instruction above “Select the new audio file and press CMD+A to select it all. Press CMD+V to copy it. Now select the original video file and press CMD+ALT+V to add it to the movie file” The resources tab only shows the .mov file. I use a Finder window to locate my new audio file, CMD+C to copy it (surely CMD+V=paste?) and then use the ‘Add to movie’ option but all I get is a short Text file added and a silent movie. Am I misunderstanding something here?

    • Jonny Elwyn

      Hi Ray, I think where you’re going slightly wrong is that you’re copying your audio file from the Finder, rather than opening it in another instance of QT7 (like in the first image) and then selecting all in that new audio file in QT7 and pasting that into your open video file (in QT7).

      You need to instances of QT7 open, one for your video file and one for your new audio file and you copy and paste from one to the other (after removing the original audio track from the video file)

      Hope that makes a little bit more sense!

      • Ray Stroud

        Hello – thanks for the prompt response – that makes more sense. I’ve got it to work by using CMD+C* to copy and right clicking in the .mov window + CMD+ALT+V. Nothing changed until I saved it (as instructed), then closed QT, reopened and loaded the edited file. *CMD+V didn’t work on copying for me as it’s a paste command. I now have to go back into Logic and correct the disparity in the start points of movie and audio. Been on this for 6 hours now using first Logic then iMovie – surely between the three of them it must be easier ;-/ My task was to replace the hour of audio that came from my video camera with the one on my portable audio recorder and then cut sections out to segue into a 10 min showreel. I thought iMovie would do it but I just couldn’t get it to import the new file.

  • Jonny Elwyn

    Ah there is an type in the post then at Step 3 – It should be CMD+C to copy from the audio and and then CMD+ALT+V to paste it into the video file (with that video file selected).

    Doing what you need to do in an editing program would be much easier as you could bring in your video, lay your other audio underneath it and sync them up manually (if they don’t start at exactly the same time – which is what you need for the QT trick to work) then remove the in-camera audio, cut the video down to length and export.

    Check out the free lightworks editing application ( or download a free trial of Adobe Premiere (or FCPX). Adobe Premiere will pretty much accept any format you put in it and is very straight forward to use.

  • Jonny Elwyn

    Fixed the type in part 3

  • Paul Wolf

    Hey, used it with prorez444.. and it works.. hopefully it is still the same video file, as the file size is the same. thanks a lot for the nicely explained procedure. :)

  • Joe

    The success of this process largely depends on the codec used when encoding. Sometimes it works great…. but I’ve encountered several videos where the audio stream can’t be added back.

  • Child Logic Labs

    thanks a lot, worked great on MAC Prorez HQ

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