Advertisement
  1. Computer Skills
  2. App Training
Computers

iMovie: Basic Editing

by
Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:

If you're looking to be more creative with video, on your Mac, then you need to be using iMovie. Included as part of the iLife suite of software, iMovie is capable of producing great movies. In my first tutorial I covered some of the basics of importing clips into your library and in this tutorial I will delve much deeper into editing them. I will cover the standard requirements for making a quality product. This includes adding audio and adding transitions. Read on to learn more about iMovie.


iMovie Editing

After learning the iMovie basics, it's time to start editing and creating a final project with your media. This tutorial will cover everything you need to start and finish a project. It will show you how to create interesting movies.


Starting a New Project

In the last tutorial, I showed you how to import your clips and organise these into events. Upon opening iMovie all these clips should be accessible in the default bottom left of the screen by clicking on the event to which you added them. Now you need to start your project.

Using either CMD+N or File > New Project to create a new project. Once clicked a drop down page will appear at the top with many different themes and options. Of course, themes make your movies a whole lot more exciting but for your first project I would highly recommend selecting No Theme. This will allow you to experiment with a basic structure before trying anything more sophisticated.

This is the drop down bar which will appear after selecting "Start New Project."
This is the drop down bar which will appear after selecting Start New Project.

To the right, you have a few important settings. The first is simply a name.

Second we have options to select an Aspect Ratio and you can either choose Widescreen (16:9) or Standard (4:3.) Here you must select the format in which your videos were filmed. This can be confirmed in your camera's settings.

Third, you have the frame rate and a choice between NTSC, PAL or Cinema. This setting is usually determined by your geographical location and may be set by default. Most cameras from North America are NTSC and in Europe most cameras are the PAL format. (A full list of countries and their video types.) The final format, cinema, is a type of video format which has become popular again in recent years and comes as an option with newer cameras. This frame rate gives a distinct effect which is popular among many videoographers.

The final option is whether or not you want to automatically add transitions. I wouldn't recommend this as you may want to add different transitions later on, and this really isn't a difficult process. I will discuss transitions later.

After creating your project a timeline will appear in the top left corner enabling you to start adding the video to your movie.


Creating a Rough Cut

In terms of video editing, a rough cut refers to stage of your project before adding transitions, effects and the more advanced special tricks. The rough cut involves clips, images and music. During this phase, your aim is match the audio to the visual content. Below I'm going to outline the methods of entering these three different types of media into your project.

Editing Video

Now that you have your project and events all set up you're ready to start piecing together your puzzle. Double clicking a clip will select it then you are able to drag it over to your timeline. Similarly, you can copy and paste the clips.

For many of my videos I like to remove background noise from the start. My personal choice being the addition of music to videos. The process for removing audio goes as follows. Right click on a clip and select Detach Audio, this will show the audio separately underneath the video. You can then just select the audio clip and delete it.

Detaching audio is done in this way
Detaching audio is done in this way.

If you want to play around with clips, however, you'll need to open up the inspector. This is done by double clicking clips. Here you can change speed and exposure, and control the audio. Experiment with the inspector and see how you can alter your video clips. There is a number of settings here which can enhance your finished video, and you will learn as you experiment.

The inspector is great for fine tuning your clips.
The inspector is great for fine tuning your clips.

Inserting Images and Applying the Ken Burns Effect

Another form of media which is great for adding to your movies is images or photos. These create a break period between video segments, or if you prefer you can use iMovie to only display images. It's probably a more capable tool than basic PowerPoint applications.

To add images click the camera button on the right hand side. This will display all your photos on your Mac and is great for quickly finding the image you're after. This is because it links to your iPhoto library and there is a helpful search bar at the bottom. Here I can find the image I want through my 4,000-plus pictures with ease.

When you click on the image button this interface will appear in the bottom right.
When you click on the image button this interface will appear in the bottom right.

Images can sometimes appear boring and bland if just shown abruptly within a movie. One quick way to fix this is by using the Ken Burns Effect. This gives your image an additional element helping the flow between video content and stills.

After adding your image iMovie will, by default, add a Ken Burns effect. The Ken Burns effect is the zooming in or out on an image. This default effect, however, may sometimes miss out or obstruct the focus of the image -- this is where you need to edit the effect manually. If you click the crop button in the middle bar you'll bring up a new interface on your image.

To change the Ken Burns Effect you need to resize and move these boxes.
To change the Ken Burns Effect you need to resize and move these boxes.

The three tabs at the top of here are Fit, Crop and Ken Burns. Clicking on Ken Burns you'll see a green box labelled Start and a red box labelled End. You can resize these boxes and change the angle in which the "camera" moves. By clicking the spacebar you'll be able to see whether you have configured the effect correctly. Tap Done when finished.

The Ken Burns effect is small but a beneficial addition to still images. Be sure to integrate it into your movies.

Adding and Editing Audio

The final element of a rough cut is the audio. If you're sticking with the audio recorded with your video, I would recommend detaching the audio at the start so you can deal with this separately. Again you use the inspector to fiddle around with the individual settings. Through this you can reduce background noise and have the sound fade in or out.

If you want to add your own audio to the video, you need to visit the little buttons at the right hand side. By selecting the music note, your whole iTunes library and the music on your computer will be accessible. You can view the Name, Artist and Time of track here, again there is a search bar for easy navigation.

In the music tab you have access to add any track from your library.
In the music tab you have access to add any track from your library.

When dragging music across you can either place it onto an individual clip or the whole piece. To drop the track over everything let go of it when the green background appears in your timeline, this will automatically add the audio to all your existing work.

This green box will appear around the clips when you  are in a position to add it to your movie.
This green box will appear around the clips when you are in a position to add it to your movie.

Finalising the Rough Cut

After adding the three different types of media above, don't jump straight into adding effects such as transitions, titles and chapter markers. These will come last.

At this stage you need to fine tune the work you have already done, this is the foundation of your movie. Play through everything at least three times on a full screen, observing each individual detail to make sure it's perfect. Once you're confident in the quality of your piece you can start moving onto the effects I mentioned earlier.


Finishing Touches

To enhance your movie still further, I'll show you how to add finishing touches such as transitions, adding titles and chapter markers.

Adding Transitions

Transitions add to the flow of your movie and reduce any awkward breaks between pieces of media. As mentioned before, these can be automatically added within the Start New Project phase but they'll create a bigger dilemma later on.

There is a wealth of transitions which you can access here.
There is a wealth of transitions which you can access here.

To add transitions manually you need to visit the group of five buttons on the right hand side and select the fourth button from the left. Here there are more than fifteen different variations. To preview these, hover your mouse over the transition. Simply dragging the transition into the middle of two pieces of media will complete the process.

Adding Titles

Titles are great for introducing, concluding or visually narrating a movie. Similar to transitions you need to use your five button toolbox in the middle bar and this time click on the T. Here you have a large selection of different titles with different effects.

You have a large variety of choice when adding titles.
You have a large variety of choice when adding titles.

After dragging your title into its place a new box will appear which allows you to pick the colour of the background. The final step is entering your text. This interface will appear once the background has been selected.

Adding Chapter Markers

If, for example, you are making the movie suitable for DVD and the footage is longer than a few minutes then I would recommend putting in chapters. These will allow the viewers to quickly skip to different parts of the finished item.

The first step is to bring up the chapter marker button. This is done by selecting iMovie > Preferences > Show Advanced Tools. Ticking this box will give you a new range of editing tools with which to work.

To make the chapter markers button appear you need to Enable Advanced Tools in the preferences.
To make the chapter markers button appear you need to Enable Advanced Tools in Preferences.

You might have noticed that two small orange boxes have appeared on the top left of your timeline video. The one that interests us is the right hand side button. Simply dragging the speech bubble with an arrow inside it to the start or end of an individual segment will create a chapter.

Bear in mind that if you've added chapters and then export to YouTube they will be deleted. Chapters are only compatible with normal export processes.


Data Export

You've finished your movie and now its time to export everything and turn it into something you can show others. The three main export formats are: for DVD, for YouTube and for Quicktime.

Export to DVD

The most simple way to export is to a DVD format. Going to Share > Export Movie will bring up the interface.

Going up to Share then Export Movie brings up the interface to export.
Going up to Share then Export Movie brings up the interface to export.

Here you will have a range of different resolutions which will work on different devices. Simply selecting the desired resolution and clicking export will finish your movie off.

Here you are guided on resolution to suit your needs.
Here you are guided on resolution to suit your needs.

Export to YouTube

YouTube is a website which has grown from strength to strength over the last few years with more users joining every day. Again, you need to go to the Share button and this time click YouTube. Here you can add your account, categories, title, description and even pick the perfect resolution.

This display makes it easy to upload videos to YouTube.
This display makes it easy to upload videos to YouTube.

For the keen YouTube user, this is a fantastic feature which really fast tracks the process of uploading.

Export to QuickTime Movie

The final way you might like to export your movie is by converting it to QuickTime format. This is the main video player on Mac computers and is a popular video file format.

Again you need to go to Share and then this time click on Export to QuickTime Movie. A drop down menu will then appear which will have the format as QuickTime Movie. You can change this to others if you desire.


It's a Wrap!

In this tutorial I've taught you how to first create a rough cut by adding video, images and music. Then I showed you how to enhance your movie with transitions, titles and chapter markers. These are the foundations of a great movie and will allow you to be far more creative with your editing workflow.

Through reading this tutorial you should now be able to import, edit and export a complete movie using iMovie on your Mac computer. Hopefully, creating work you're proud of in the process. Keep an eye on Mactuts+ in the future for more iMovie tutorial pieces.

If you have any questions about iMovie, or any tips or advice in using iMovie, please leave them in the comments below.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.