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7 Tools You Should Be Using With the New iMovie Update

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Recently, I covered some iMovie workflows and techniques. At Apple's recent keynote event, the software received a massive transformation.

In this tutorial I will show you how to use the new iMovie workspace then examine some of the added abilities which can help you to improve your projects. With new ways to create, edit and finalise your movies this tutorial aims to stop the confusion next time you begin to create.


The Changes to the Workspace

The major redesign has come in the user interface, or UI, of iMovie. Not only has the logo changed its colour to purple, but most aspects of the app have moved around too. Upon launch you'll notice some distinct changes, first being the magnificence of the workspace. Apple has adopted a strategy of minimalism at its finest and that is highly evident.

The new workspace.
The new workspace.

One of the main changes is the movement of the Content Library. Last update you had this along a central bar which spilt the timeline from everything else. This has been switched around, now being positioned in the bottom left in a clean format. When clicking on a type of media, instead of bringing up a window, it fills the event bar at the top of the page.

I really disliked that this used to be small and packed away in a corner, making it sometimes impossible to find what you were looking for. This simplification is a much needed change.

The content library is now in a far more accessible place.
The Content Library is now in a far more accessible place.

Apart from the Content Library the only significant change that affects how you interact with the UI is the addition of new buttons at the top of the page (which will be explained further down.) For the new iMovie user, it is now significantly easier to learn and start making movies on this piece of software. Past updates have often confused consumers who had never used video editing software before; this iteration of iMovie is probably the easiest to grasp.


1.Starting Your Movie With The New Options

In the last version of iMovie the way you started a project was either clicking on Start A New Project or pressing CMD + N, now you just simply need to click Create at the top of the page. By clicking this you are given two options depending on the type of media you would like to create.

The two creation options which are available to you.
The two creation options which are available to you.

The first is creating a movie, accessed by Command N or clicking Create > Movie. This option is more focussed towards the standard combination of clips, images and music. If you access this you'll be given a huge range of new and old themes to help give the movie a more definitive structure. You can even select the Event you would like to take the clips from, an addition which is great for starting quickly.

The normal project themes.
The normal project themes.

The second option is creating a trailer. This is accessed by Shift Command N, or clicking Create > Trailer, which a best way to get the themes you require. On the creation page you have a range of themes ranging from Superhero to Love Story and cast member numbers ranging from 1 up to infinity -- you are able to view a preview of the themes by hovering over them.

The trailer themes are all specific to a genre of movie.
The trailer themes are all specific to a genre of movie.

Previously, it was sometimes confusing because both these types of projects were combined into one page. With Apple splitting these two into separate sections it makes the process more direct.


2.Using the Improved Clip Trimmer to Adjust Clip Length

One of the more subtle changes to iMovie is the new way to clip your bits of media. In the last version, it was often hard to get the correct size with the interface not being very straightforward. Now, all you need to do is double click on the media in your timeline and the clip trimmer will appear above. You can then simply drag the length to the size you require.

The new clip trimmer is easy to use.
The new clip trimmer is easy to use.

The Inspector, which appeared before when double clicking, has now gone and this is the replacement of that action. A great addition which makes clip trimming easier.


3.How to Use the Enhance Tool and Adjust Tool

You will notice that at the top right of your screen there are now Enhance and Adjust buttons. These are now the tools you should be using to critically improve each form of media.

The Enhance and Adjust buttons are located at the top left of the screen.
The Enhance and Adjust buttons are located at the top left of the screen.

In the last version of iMovie, there was a quick fix tool that auto-corrected your audio, pictures or clips. This was a great way to improve your movie, especially if you were not confident in the changing the exposure or audio levels. The problem with this was that it was hidden away in the Inspector which caused many users to not use it that much. Apple has obviously realised this and dedicated a massive button on the main interface to this auto-correct tool and named it Enhance.

The Adjust button now possesses everything else you could do with the Inspector. There is a range of tools here including an improved way to add the Ken Burns Effect and change exposure. This is all available in a small bar at the top which allows you to visually see the changes you are making, with no bulky black box in the middle of the screen.

One section of the editing abilities in Adjust.
One section of the editing abilities in Adjust.

What Apple has sought to achieve here to make the movie making experience easier and that has definitely been done. Since this update my workflow time has reduced drastically. Nothing is difficult to find and everything you need is right in front of you.


4.Using the Ken Burns Effect With Panoramic Images

One great feature which I couldn't leave out was the addition of the Ken Burns Effect to Panoramic Images. If for example you had a brilliant panoramic image of a beach, you weren't able to add the Ken Burns Effect to it in the last version, however, now after adding the image the fantastic effect will be instantly applied. The automatic effect will scroll the image from left to right, but you can change this if you want something different.

The Ken Burns Effect with panoramic images.
The Ken Burns Effect with panoramic images.

While again, this is a subtle change it will please those who were annoyed by the lack of this in the past.


5.How to Edit Audio Outside of the Timeline

Sometimes your audio is too long for the media you've created and if that was the case you would have to add it to the timeline then trim it down. This isn't a problem with this update as you are able to reduce the size of your clip before adding it to the timeline. To do this click on iTunes in the Content Library, select your song and then it will appear at the top of the bar. You can play it through then click how much you would like to add, a + sign will appear and clicking on that will add it to your timeline.

Simply clicking this + sign adds the selected piece of audio to your timeline.
Simply clicking this + sign adds the selected piece of audio to your timeline.

This is a great example of iMovie cutting down your workflow time by completing something in one step instead of two.


6.Using the New Theater Mode to Add Your Movies to iCloud

Apple is constantly trying to get you to upload your items to iCloud so they can interact with all your other devices. Which meant it was always a matter of time till the ability came directly to iMovie and this comes in the form of Theater mode which is accessed at the top of the page. When in Theater you will be able to see all your finished movies and clicking the button in the top right corner uploads it to the cloud. You can also go into iMovie > Preferences and select Automatically upload content to iCloud.

At the touch of a button you can add your finalised movies to iCloud.
At the touch of a button you can add your finalised movies to iCloud.

For users who regularly like to share content through an Apple TV, Theater is a much needed addition to the iCloud package. Making it easier to share your work is always a good thing.


7.The New Way to Share Your Movie

If you don't want to upload your movies to iCloud you do still have the regular sharing methods, but this time in a much more organised format. At the top of the page you now have a Share button and pressing that you are given eight ways to distribute your final project. These are: Theater, Email, iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, CNN iReport and File.

The various ways you can share your projects.
The various ways you can share your projects.

Using the standard File option is also a lot easier too. In the interface that appears you can quickly change the name, description, tags and resolution. You also have a helpful area on the left where you can view the different parts of the movie, time, file size and its compatibility with your computer. Once you've decided on the options you just need to click Next and then Save. This interface, which appears after selecting a method is the same for each one.

Sharing is now an easy process to achieve.
Sharing is now an easy process to achieve.

Sharing has always been an arduous task in iMovie because you were given a bulky interface which confused even the most experienced users. Now sharing is an easy task which is enjoyable to do.


Wrap-Up

In this tutorial I began with an introduction into the new interface then showed you additional techniques which are available in this new update of iMovie. These included: using the clip trimmer, editing audio before adding it to the timeline and the new way to interact with iCloud. With these great new abilities your movies should now look better than ever and you should have a greater understanding on how to maximise the potential of iMovie.

Apple has worked hard on this new update and that is evident from the creation of a movie to the final export. iMovie was plagued with flaws in the past which most users just had to put up with, now iMovie is more professional than it has ever been before without adding too many extra features. Most consumers are attracted first and foremost to the appearance of software and then its accessibility, both of these factors are things Apple have aced. Gone is the boring and cumbersome interface, it has now been replaced with something brilliant.

Thanks for reading! Is there an invaluable addition I missed on the new update? Or is there still some aspects you would like changed? Let me know in the comments below.

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