Like visual overlays, audio overlays are added to existing pieces of media to enhance the project. You've witnessed audio overlays in action when music plays over a static Instagram post or when a soundtrack plays during a YouTube intro. Audio overlays can also be:

Whatever your new soundtrack is, creators can overlay the MP3 audio file using a standard video editor or a free online video editor like Kapwing. Kapwing helps creators overlay audio onto an existing video or attach the audio overlay to an image for an audiogram with any device.

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to overlay an audio file on an image or video. The audio overlay can be extracted from an MP4 file , a YouTube video, or uploaded from your device.

As you get ready to dive into the tutorial, consider if you're going overlay the audio onto an image or video. What is the background sound? Do you want to replace the sound or merge the existing sound with the new tune? Answering these questions will prepare you to overlay your audio with minimal hiccups.

Here's how to overlay audio on an image or video in five steps:

  1. Start with the background image or video
  2. Import audio overlay
  3. Edit timing and volume
  4. Publish and share

Step 1: Start With Background Image or Video

Head over to Kapwing on your device and click (or tap) "Start Editing." You can use this browser-based editor on any iPhone, Android, PC, or tablet to overlay audio. With Kapwing's Studio open, click "Start with a blank canvas." You'll see the default empty white square. Feel free to change the size or aspect ratio of your canvas depending on what size you want the audio overlay to be.

From here, you can upload the background for your audio overlay. If you're overlaying the audio on a video file, upload the MP4 or import the underlying video from YouTube by pasting a URL. If you want to overlay the audio on a picture - like a podcast thumbnail or album cover - upload that image.

If you don't have a background image or video that you'd like to use, you can also use Kapwing's design tools to make a custom background from scratch. Adjust the colors, add shapes, and insert images to the digital canvas.

Step 2: Import Audio Overlay

To add your audio overlay, click the "Audio" tab in the toolbar on the left side of the Studio. To overlay audio on a mobile device, tap "Menu" then "Audio."

Now that you've opened Kapwing's audio editor, bring your audio overlay into Kapwing. Creators can import a song by pasting the URL to a YouTube video, upload an MP3 file, or upload an MP4 file to extract the audio from. Click the box to find a file on your computer or tablet or drag a file onto the screen to upload it.

Kapwing will play the audio overlay with the original background sound, if you have any. You can replay the video from the beginning to listen

Step 3: Editing Timing and Volume

After you've uploaded your audio overlay, the workspace will be converted into a timeline. The image overlay will automatically become the length of the imported audio.

To shorten the audio or image overlay track, move your cursor to the portion of the video where you want to cut and click Split button just above the timeline on the left side of the screen. You can then delete any excess video or audio that has been split by clicking delete on your keyboard,

If you upload a background video in Step 1 and it has audio, you may want to mute the original video's audio. To do this, click on the layer and drag the volume slider to zero. You may also choose to increase the volume of your audio layers.

Adjust the volume with the volume slider when selecting an audio or video layer. 

Step 4: Publish and Share

Watch the final video through completely, then click "Export Video" to process the new MP4 with the audio overlay.

In addition to changing up the soundtrack, creators can make other changes to the video. You can add subtitles, insert an intro or outro scene, or add a watermark before burning your video all together.

Kapwing will process the final video with your audio overlay merged into the main soundtrack. Then, you'll get the final MP4 file to download and share. If you're not signed into a Kapwing account, sign in or sign up using an email – once you've signed into a Kapwing account, the watermark in the lower right corner will be removed from your final video.

That's how you add an audio overlay to a video using a free online tool! I hope that this article helps other YouTubers and Instagrammers telling stories and sharing entertaining content on the internet. Please reach out with feedback or ideas for improvement.

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