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(Last Updated On: November 8, 2011)

As video editing software, iMovie has a diverse range of possible uses.

It presents a new and interesting tool for presentations; iMovie can be used to organize still images, and provides the user with creative transitions and zooming capabilities to keep presentations engaging. Video clips that need to be viewed in a class can also be edited and cut to the desired length. As a learning aid, iMovie can be used to make and edit screencasts, or short how-to’s that aim to demonstrate different computer or internet functions. For example, iMovie could be used to create a screencast depicting the process of making a website using Google Sites. A visual representation of the steps along with added narration gives the viewer a comprehensive instructional video and allows the creator to easily share and teach skills outside the classroom. iMovie also presents a unique alternative to traditional school projects. Rather than requiring students to make PowerPoint presentations or write analytic essays, one could assign a film project. Not only would this give students the opportunity to learn a new way to present an argument, but would also allow students to easily portray interviews, film clips, and other media sources used to support a thesis.

iMovie is an application available on all Mac computers in the Academic Commons.

View our iMovie ’09 Walkthrough created by Maura Dauber and Jay Yip.

Getting set up:

  • Either use your laptop or…

  • Choose a computer station and which person’s account you’ll use

  • Login using your Oxy username/password

  • NOTE: remember that this is the ONLY computer you’ll be able to work on for this assignment, as this is where your project-in-progress will be saved

Importing Video into iMovie:

The first step is to connect your camera to your computer. iMovie will recognize this and open an import window, which will show your video in clips. If it doesn’t open automatically, go to File and select “Import from camera.” If you only wish to use some of these clips select “Manual” in the bottom left corner of the import window. This allows you to click on select pieces of video you wish to import by checking each specific clip.  To then import these clips, simply click “Import Checked” on the bottom right of the Import screen. The next step allows you to name the event that the video was taken from. When you have done this press “Import” a final time. In doing this your video will be taken from your camera and put onto your Mac.

Starting your project:

  • The video clips should appear on the left in your Event Library

  • As seen below, go to the File menu, select “New Project”

  • Name your project.

  • Click “no themes” if the themes menu pops up

  • Click “Create”

  • NOTE: iMovie will auto-save your project as you work, there is no Save command under the File menu

Basic Editing:

  • To give you a sense of the whole interface (see below): Your work-in-progress (or “project”) will be in the top left corner.  The top right corner is a viewing window (either for clips you’re trimming, or to view your vid as you edit).  Your event library is located in the bottom left corner.  The bottom right window shows all the clips in any given “event,” and is where you will begin trimming clips to pull into your timeline.

  • NOTE: One of the biggest limitations of iMovie is that it is geared towards linear editing.  The editing process will be easiest if clips are edited from the start of the video to the end.  In other words, don’t work backwards.  You can drop clips into your timeline in the rough order you want them to appear, and should trim them in that order if you can.  If you perfect the last 30 seconds of your video, and then go work on trimming clips in the middle, occasionally elements beyond the section you’re currently editing will go out of sync.

  • Once you click one of the “Events” in your Event Library, you can see all of the clips for that media property.  To begin trimming clips, simply click on the section of the clip you want to use, and drag the yellow outline box accordingly to note the beginning and end of the clip you want to use (see below).

  • Then, simply drag and drop the clip you’ve trimmed into your project timeline.

  • Once you have a few clips in your timeline, it will look like this:

  • Once you have clips in your project timeline, you can trim them further:

  1. Click on a clip in your project timeline

  2. Go to “Edit” and select “Trim”

  3. A new trim clip window will appear, and again you will move the yellow outline box to trim your clip further

  4. Hitting “Done” will delete the sections of the clip outside of the yellow outline box.

Beyond the Basics:

Speeding up/slowing down a clip

  • Once a clip is in your project timeline, you can speed up or slow down that clip by rolling your mouse over the gear icon that appears on every clip

  • Select “Clip Adjustments” from the dropdown menu

  • The window below will appear, just move the scrolling bar towards the tortoise to have your clip play in slow motion, and move towards the hare to speed up your clip

  • The data to the right of the speed bar you can see the percentage of speed and the new running time/duration of the clip

  • The “reverse” button will play the clip backwards

Adding Titles:

  • You might use this feature for a number of functions.  You should use titles to cite any media texts and sources you are using. You can think of this as the “works cited” equivalent. You can also use this to indicate who was involved in the creation of the project.

  • To add titles, click the “T” button shown below

  • The menu below will pop up, select your title design (hovering your cursor over the options will give you a preview of each)

Adding Transitions:

  • For the most part, you’ll be simply cutting clips together, but transitions can be used to effectively punctuate a moment in your vid.

  • To add transitions, simple click the button shown below

  • The menu shown below will pop up, and moving our cursor over the options will allow you to preview how they will look.

  • To add transitions, click and drag one into your project timeline and drop it in the desired place.

  • To edit the transition (which will appear as a yellow icon similar to the one you initially clicked on), simply right click on the transition in the timeline and select “Transition Adjustments.”

  • Looking at the transition adjustments window below, be aware that there is a “applies to all transitions” checkbox.  Make sure this is unchecked unless you want uniform durations for all your transitions.

Doing Voiceover: 

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 2.00.25 PM

  • To record voiceover click the microphone button and select on the track where you want the voiceover to begin.
  • Once you select the point you want voiceover to begin in the clip track a count down will begin for you to begin voice over.
  • To change audio settings after recording voiceover, double click the purple audio track underneath the clip. You can also slide the new voiceover audio independently from the clip, so if you record voiceover in the wrong place, you can always move it along the clip line to the desired location.

Recording with Built-In Camera:

  • To record video and audio with the built in camera select the camera button on the left hand side beneath the clip track.
  • Make sure that iMovie has permissions to access your computers built-in camera (a pop-up may come up asking for you to accept these permissions).
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 2.13.02 PMA pop-up video feed screen will appear. When you’re ready to record click “Capture.” Select whether you want the recording to be added to an existing recording or name a new recording.
  • Hit “Capture” to begin your recording. When you are done, press stop on the lower right hand side of the screen.

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 2.16.35 PM

  • When you finish, iMovie will automatically add your video clip to you’re project for you to then place in the project track.

Adding Music:

  • To add music click on the musical note symbol underneath the playback window (right side). Music clips from imovie, iLife, Garageband, and your iTunes library will appear.

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 2.25.41 PM

  • Select music or sound-byte from this selection and click and drag it onto the editing track. If the audio clip is longer than the clips on the edit timeline, the song will be cut off. You can click and drag audio clips where you want them in the timeline.

Exporting Video Files: 

  • To export your project select “Share; Export Movie”

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 2.30.34 PM

  • Name the file and choose the save location then hit “Export.” The default file format is m4V, which can play in Quicktime.

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Prepared by Suzanne Scott, Daniel Chamberlain, and Jay Yip, Scholarship Technology, Occidental College