Hi there teachers/video makers!
Seeing as many of you are using iMovie for your videos, we thought it would be useful to do a little overview of the program to help you get over the basic hurdles. Check out how to make a project, import your files, and layout your footage. Selecting your shots is key to a great video so you’ll want to make sure to refine your cuts and add images. Once you’ve done that, just include titles, and add music and you’re all set for your video to stand out in the crowd.
Let’s say you’ve just finished up filming. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back. That is no small feat. But don’t relax for too long. Although filming is necessary, this next part is just as crucial… It’s time to edit!
- Pop open iMovie
- Press the plus button in the upper left-hand corner and select “Movie”
- Or go to File>”New Movie”
Please note that you can click any of the images in this post to enlarge them.
The next screen will offer some “Themes.” I advise against these. They will most likely overly complicate your project; it’s much easier to start off with a clean slate.
There are many ways to edit and many tools you can use, but no matter how you go about it, you need media! Whether you’ve got pictures, video, or audio, it’s all the same importing process. Either go to File>Import or hit the huge arrow with the words “Import Media” below it. You’ll be able to navigate to your footage in the pop out window.
Once your footage is selected, hit “Import” and all your clips will show up in the media browser on the left-hand side of the screen. This is where you’ll access footage throughout the edit.
Since we’re about to edit, it’s about time we take a brief tour of iMovie. As we’ve just established, the window on the left is the media browser, which is basically a bin into which you toss your footage.
To the right is the media viewer. This is where you’ll preview footage and eventually your cut; think of it like a TV screen.
If look you down, you’ll see a bar that extends across the entire window. That’s the timeline! In my opinion, that’s the most exciting section, since it’s where the cutting officially happens. If you look close, you’ll see a film strip and a music note icon. Those represent where video and audio are placed in the timeline. Video always sits above audio.
Also, take note of the vertical white line with a triangle on top, sitting at the end of the timeline. This is the playhead and it marks where playback will start.
Alright. Let’s get cracking. Or cutting.
The next step in the editing process is to watch all your footage and decide what you need (in the biz, this is called “logging”).
Click on a clip in the media browser and press play (if it starts playing in the middle, just hit rewind). Once you’ve found the part you like…
- Hold the cursor above the clip in the media browser. A yellow box will appear. This little guy is what you’ll use to select the range (“in” and “out” points) of your clip.
- Drag the cursor across the clip and visually “crop” the section you plan to use, or hit “I” to mark the in point (where you’d like your clip to begin) and then “O” (where you want the clip to end). Don’t worry if you didn’t get it EXACTLY right; ou can “massage the edit” later.
- Drag and drop the selection into the timeline. (As with pretty much all Mac-based programs, drag and drop is key here. Not only is that how you move footage; it’s also how you add transitions.)
A note on terminology: when you start putting clips in your timeline, you are building a sequence, which, when you think about it, is a perfect description. After all, you’re placing pictures and videos in the order you wish them to appear, hence, a sequence.
Let’s say you’ve dropped the best clips into the timeline and now would like to watch it. There are several ways to navigate through your sequence.
- Jump from clip to clip using the rewind/fast forward arrows in the viewer window or by pressing the up or down arrows on the keyboard.
- Move frame by frame by pressing the back and forward arrows on the keyboard.
Go wherever you want by dragging the playhead.
So… you hit play and realize that you accidentally left in a flub (your only one, of course)! Never fear.
- Hover at either end of the clip in question and two arrows will appear.
- Click and drag and you will see what each direction means. If you pull to the right, it will extend the clip. Dragging to the left will shorten it.
- If you want to get crazy with shortcuts, click on the offending clip and mark an in and out point around the bad part. Then hit delete.
Voilà! Your flub is now long gone. Welcome to the beauty of editing.
Now, video is not necessarily the only source of footage. Still images can also be used and their duration can be edited just like video. Sizing these images and the default settings that iMovie® likes to apply can be tricky though. iMovie® will automatically apply a zoom and pan, or “Ken Burns” effect .
If that’s not what you want, it can be disabled.
- Place the image in the timeline and select it.
- Press the crop icon above the viewer.
- Several options (fit, crop to fit, and Ken Burns) should appear just below it. Try out the different sizing options and decide what best suits your image.
What we now have in our timeline is a stringout, or a rough cut. How do you make it more exciting? Jazz it up with some titles!
- Click on the aptly labeled, “Titles” tab above the media browser.
- Choose one of the many animated title presets (“Standard” is not animated, by the way).
- Drag and drop it into your timeline.
You’ll notice your titles are displaying the default text and that just won’t do. Time to customize.
- Select the title in the timeline.
- Click on the “T” at the top of the viewer window.
- The text is now editable! Feel free to change it to any font, color, or size you see fit.
Something to keep in mind is that text does not come with a background, so if it’s placed in your timeline on top of a video clip, you’ll see the video underneath it. If that’s not what you had in mind, you can move your text before or after that clip in the timeline and it will appear over black.
If that’s a little boring for your taste, click on the “Backgrounds” tab of the media browser. Beneath the crazy presets are some plain solids. Just like everything else, drag and drop them where they belong in the sequence and place your titles on top.
The last element we will touch on in this overview is how to add music to your video. If you’ve already chosen some royalty free music, import it in the same manner as other media. If you’re in the market for some tunes, iMovie comes with some free stock music, which you can find in the Audio tab of the media browser.
Once you’ve got the perfect track, drag it into your sequence, and place it below your video. If it’s too loud, hover above the horizontal line that runs across the track. Up and down arrows will appear, which you can use to drag the line down to lower the level. If you want the music to fade in or out, hover over the clip again, but notice that there is a dot at either end. Clicking on these dots and dragging them towards the opposite end will fade your audio.
Let us know if these tips were helpful and please send any questions you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org! Most importantly, keep up the great work.