“Pika-pika!” from Pikachu. “Billions” from Donald Trump. The wa-wa-waaaa whine of a scratchy record player. Some sound effects and short soundbites make us laugh and feel nostalgic when we hear them in a video. Adding sound effects can be a great way to relate to and engage your audience with humorous or emotional content. Sound effects can be a hilarious way to add humor to a meme, make videos more dramatic, or add flair to a longer video.

In this article, I’ll describe how you can add a sound effect, song snippet, or short audio track to a video. You can use this skill to manipulate the audio track of a short video, merge songs together, and make more engaging content for social media. This tutorial has four steps:

  1. Upload Video to a Free Add Music Tool
  2. Upload New SoundTrack
  3. Trim out and Time the Sound Effect
  4. Process and Share

In my example, I’m adding a short “Stop it” sound to a video of my cat acting annoying about getting her ear rubbed. Here’s the output video with the sound effect added!

Step 1: Upload the video you want to add sound effects to an Add Music tool

Start by opening Kapwing’s Add Music to Video tool. It’s free and online, so you won’t need to download a software program.

Add Music to video home page

You can either upload your video from your phone or computer or import the video from Vimeo, Google Drive, YouTube, or another site. In my example, I’m uploading a video of my kitten that I filmed on my phone.

Add Music Editor
Add music editor

Step 2: Upload the sound track

Once your video has loaded in the editor, you’ll be prompted to upload the audio that contains the sound effect. With Kapwing, you can import your music or sound directly from YouTube by pasting a link to the video. You can also upload an MP3 or video file.

In my example, I’m using a short section of a YouTube sound effect track to make my kitten say “Stop it!” So I past the video’s URL to import it. Here’s what the editor looks like once I’ve uploaded my music:

Add Audio to Video with music

Step 3: Trim Out and Time the Sound

Once your audio has uploaded, click the “Trim Audio” button to select the time you want. Listen to the video preview and adjust the sliders to define the start and end time. Once the sound is exactly as you want it, click the pink Trim Audio button to return to the editor. You’ll be able to see and edit the trim times you selected here. 

Once the soundbite sounds good, choose when in the video you want the sound to start playing. Use the slider to adjust the start time. In my video, I synced the “Stop it” sound with the moment when my kitten pulls away from the person’s hand 2 seconds into the video.

Kapwing also has option to loop the sound effect, if you want it to play continuously through the end of the video. By default, Kapwing merges the audio you upload with the existing soundtrack of your video, but you can choose to Mute the video to let the new audio fully replace the original score. Finally, you can always remove the audio and start over. 

Step 4: Process and share the new video

Listen to the video preview a few times to make sure it sounds right. Then, click “Create Video” to burn the sound track into the video. Once your video is done processing, you can share your video or download it to publish on social media. 

Kapwing is 100% cloud-based, so you’re always able to “edit” your video and change the parameters. It’s free to use, but the free version does have a small watermark on the output video.