MacMost Now 259: iMovie 09 Editing Basics

Learn all of the different ways you can edit clips in iMovie 09. You can select a portion of the clip, trim the ends, split a clip, use the clip trimmer and the precision editor.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 259: iMovie 09 Editing Basics.

Gary Rosenzweig: In today's episode, let's learn how to do basic movie editing with iMovie 09. There's lots of cool special effects and transitions you can do with iMovie 09. But the basics are: to be able to bring in more than one clip, and then be able to go and edit how much of each clip you are going to use. Let's go and look at all the different techniques you have available in iMovie 09 to do that.
All right, so here I am in iMovie. I have three different clips here at the bottom that I've imported into iMovie library. I'm also going to start a new project here at the top. By default, you've got the ability to look at a clip as a long strip here and I can move around and see in the preview pane, to the right, exactly what frame I'm on. And you can see this clip is a little longer than this clip. Now, I can adjust how detailed to get by moving the slider at the bottom right corner over to the left to see more detail here. Or I can see less detail, make it smaller, go all the way to the right, and basically no matter how long the clip is, each one is exactly one frame shown in the sample movies here at the bottom.
So, I'm going to go ahead and adjust it somewhere in the middle there. And this allows me to go ahead and select a portion of a clip by dragging, like that, and the yellow portion is the portion I'm going to use. I can go ahead and adjust the end and the beginning, as much as I want, and when I get exactly the clip I want to use I can go ahead and drag that up to the project, like that. That's the first way to go ahead and select a portion of a clip to use and edit this clip so it appears in your project in an edited form.
Ok, so once I have a clip up here I can select it and I can actually adjust a little more, if I like, to trim down further. Now, once I've done that, it doesn't actually change anything because the entire clip is still in there. But now I can go ahead and go to "Edit", and go to "Trim to Selection", so that is also Command B, and it will trim that clip even more. Now to use a little more precision I can actually use the "Edit," "Trim Clip End," "Move left," "Move right." So I select an end of the clip, you can see the little red line is just to the right, meaning I'm going to use that side. I'm going to Option and right-arrow to actually move the clip further along at the end there and add more to the end. You can see it getting longer and longer. And it's still highlighting this yellow portion I started with, but I've added this much here to the end. I can subtract also, and I can click here at the beginning and add some to the beginning or move some from the beginning there. So I'm adding a little to the beginning. And it shows me the frames I'm adding there. I can be very precise in what I'm adding to the beginning of a clip using that Option, left-arrow, right-arrow.
Now, I can also go ahead and trim the clip by clicking on the little control to the bottom left corner like that. And I can do the "Clip Trimmer," which was in iMovie 08 as well. And I can go ahead here and I see the entire clip here, including the portions I'm not using, and I can basically re-edit where the beginning and ends of these clips are just by moving it around. And the changes will reflect up here in the project.
A new tool in iMovie 09 is the "Precision Editor." When you go to that, you actually can go ahead and see an interface that looks like this that shows you the "in" point and the "out" for the clip that you are using. And you can basically see the movement reflected in the project as well as the clip here at the bottom. And go ahead and adjust things, like that, and it will make the changes there. With both the "Precision Editor," and the editor for the "Clip Trimmer," you can go ahead and press "Done" to finish.
Now, the real power of the "Precision Editor," is when you have more than one clip. I'm going to go ahead and select a portion of the second clip here, and now I've got it going from this one to this one here. Now I can go ahead and go into the "Precision Editor," and I can see the two clips I've got here and I'm just doing a direct transition between one and the other. If I were to go ahead and were to overlap them a bit, I would see that one would go up and one would go down, and I could adjust the point at which they hit. So I can go and say I want it to be right there, and I'm also going to go ahead and shift this one down here, shift this one there, and this is the point at which it transitions from one to the next. And you can see it has moved things over here.
Now where both the "Clip Trimmer" and the "Precision Editor" come into play is when using transitions. Let's ahead and insert a transition here by clicking the "Transitions" button on the right and it will show us the different transitions. And let's get a simple cross dissolve in here. Now that I've got this cross dissolve, it doesn't go cut from one to the next, it actually dissolves. There's a little bit of an overlap. So I'm going to go in here and I'm going to select the "Clip Trimmer," and you can see at the end of the "Clip Trimmer," there's this area here where here's the end of the clip but there's this second yellow line here. And this is the part of the transition. So, I can go ahead and see the transition start here and it's going to move through here. So, I can adjust it anywhere I want and I can see exactly where that transition is going to take place. I can click on this clip here and I can see the other half of that transition right there.
Now it's even more clear if you're using the "Precision Editor" with transitions. So I can select one movie clip or the other, but I can also select the transition itself. Go to "Precision Editor," and now I get this "Precision Editor" interface where I see the transition, and exactly where it's going to go and take place from both videos. So, I can go ahead and adjust where the transition takes place. I can also slide the videos back and forth like that to adjust it. And you notice when I wipe across I can actually see the movie up here, the bottom movie up here, and if I actually swipe across the transition, I can see the transition. So I get a really quick view of how to look at all the different pieces taking place in this transition here.
Another useful thing is the ability to split a clip. If I click on a clip right here in the middle, I go to the "Edit" menu, I can go ahead and hit "Split Clip." A better way to do it is to use the "Shift" and "S" while you are editing. So I can precisely drop this where I want and press that key combination and it cuts it in two. This might allow me to go ahead and insert a clip in between by selecting this clip and now I can drag a clip, another way of editing inside the project. And now I'll be able to put that clip in there, and now I've moved that around. You can basically move clips around as much as you want. And the same thing with transitions. So, in re-ordering, what you are going to do is move around like that.
So, we got to look at all the ways you can edit, trim, cut, spice, and re-order your clips using iMovie 09. Till next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 12 Responses to “MacMost Now 259: iMovie 09 Editing Basics”

    Tim Smith
    8 years ago

    Hi Your tutorials are so good i’m sitting here watching all i need. Thanks so much. I have been on pc up untill recently and i bought a imac 27″ and fce4 I have been doing a few projects like slideshows and small video edits. And I have a problem. The quality of my title text is very blurry when I burn it through idvd and watch it on my tv 40″lcd Its perfect in fce4 and imovie but when i play it back on dvd itr looks terrible is it something to do with the way i am exporting it ?

    8 years ago

    VERY, VERY useful tutorial. I watched it several times to absorb all the great information. I have one friendly suggestion, though: You need to refrain from say “go ahead” each time you make a suggestion. It’s distracting. Otherwise, great instructional video.

      7 years ago

      what are you talking about “dude”, he is fine just the way he is, what are you a tv producer

    8 years ago


    Thank you for posting your tutorials. They are very helpful. I do have a question regarding quality loss of the clips. I’m using iMovie 09 and when I drag a clip to my project area to edit, the quality of the clip is not as good for some reason. The clip in my project area appears more grainy compared to the area of the same clip where the rest of my clips are viewed. Is there some sort of setting I have to set before I drag a specified clip in my project area to have the same video quality?

      8 years ago

      Remember that what you are looking at is the “preview” area. It is only a preview. A clip preview is raw — just the clip. A project preview is much more complex with the possibility of titles, multiple pictures, etc. Even if you aren’t using them, the preview of a project is something created in real-time, as opposed to the preview of a clip which is just playing back the clip.
      Don’t worry so much about the preview area. It is just a preview. It is the exported final video that matters.

    8 years ago

    Hi Gary, I’m trying to edit my video in the project library and I can’t seem to find a numerical timeline (I want to copy 1 hour of footage and paste it to another project) …how do I find a timeline that shows me what time I’m at in the project?

      8 years ago

      No numerical timeline in iMovie. You can get closer to it by switching to the single row mode (button at the top right of the project space, but only in iMovie)

    Holly Adams
    8 years ago

    Thank you Gary for a great tutorial. Saved me a lot of time and headache. Keep up the good work!

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