Quick Guide to iMovie

Quick Guide to iMovie

Download: http://support.apple.com/kb/dl859

Mac iMovie Guide: http://manuals.info.apple.com/en/iMovie_08_Getting_Started.pdf

Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMovie

iMovie is a video creating/editing software, included in Mac OS.X, iPod Touch 4th generation, iPhone 4 and iPad 2 releases. It contains features such as transitions, titles/credits, audio track, separate project files, movie themes, etc.

When importing footage into the program, a user can either choose to Capture Video (from webcam or external camera) or Import Movies to import existing video files into the user’s iMovie project files.  Accepted formats for import in iMovie include DV, DV Widescreen, HDV 1080i (25 and 30 fps), HDV 720p (25 and 30 fps), MPEG 4 Simple Profile and iSight.  However, iMovie uses QuickTime to process video and audio footage, so other formats may be compatible for import.  Files from video cameras, discs, VCRs, TV tuners, cell phones, and still cameras may be possible to import.  For more information on importing these file types, please read Apple’s iMovie tutorial on using footage from DV and non-DV sources.

After capture, any clip can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the project.  Once placed in the project, clips can be split, edited, further multimedia can be inserted, transitions and title screens can be added, etc.  The theme option offers predefined editing styles (titles, effects and transitions) for quickly creating movies.

How To Add Videos, Photos and Audio:

First open iMovie and select “File” and “New Project” (in some versions of iMovie, a theme can be selected which automatically includes titles screens and transitions).  This will create a new project file.  You can drag media into the new project file to create a new project.

Importing videos:

Click on “File” and several options will be available for importing video.

By clicking on “Import from camera”, the Camera Import Window will be opened, from which video can be either imported from an attached camera, or from the iSight or other attached webcam.  If you connect a video camera while iMovie is running, it should automatically open the camera import window.

To capture video from the built-in webcam, you must select “Capture” to begin recording the webcam video.  To capture video from an external video camera, you must begin playing the source and select “Capture” or “Record” (depending on the version of iMovie).

To use videos on your computer or on a removable drive, select “Import Movies” from the “File” menu:

If you are uploading from an external drive or flash drive, you can click on your device under “Devices” and find your videos on the drive.  Otherwise, locate your files on your computer to import them into your events library.

If you would like to import audio from iTunes or GarageBand:

Click on the music icon under the video output display:

Clicking on the music icon on the right side of the iMovie screen will pull up a number of programs from which audio can be pulled including GarageBand, iTunes or from pre-existing iMovie ’08 Sound Effects and iLife Sound Effects files.  Songs from your iTunes library can also be inserted.  If you have MP3s or other compatible sound files on your desktop they can also be dragged and dropped into the project file.  Please clarify copyright restrictions on any sound or music files you use before inserting them in your digital story.

How To Drag and Drop Videos and Pictures

Once video is imported, it will appear under the event library.  Clicking on the video in the event will display a yellow box, which you can drag to select the portion of the video you would like to insert into your project file.  When you have properly selected the video cut, drag and drop the yellow highlighted clips to the project file at the top where “Drag media here to create a new project” is displayed:

Similarly, photographs and images can be selected by clicking on the camera icon on the right side of the iMovie screen underneath the video display:

Once you’ve selected the image you’d like to insert, drag and drop the image into the place you’d like to insert it in the project file above.

How To Edit

You can edit your movie in multiple ways by right clicking the project file video for options such as detaching audio or splitting the clip, or by selecting buttons for inserting voiceover, cropping, rotating or putting in Ken Burns effects, adjusting audio, video, etc.  The precision editor can be utilized to edit small details.

How to Insert Title Screens:

You can insert transitions by selecting the “T” button on the right side of iMovie underneath the video display.  Drag and drop the selected title screen to the place in the video in which the title screen should be displayed.

How to Insert Transitions:

To insert transitions, click on the right most button underneath the video display and a series of transition types will be displayed.  Drag and drop the selected transition into the split video file to create transitions between segments.  “Cross Dissolve” is the most subtle transition.

How to Save

iMovie automatically saves your project file as you are working, however if you would like to compress or export your file to share it, you can select “Share” and select a method for exporting such as “Export Movie”, “Export using QuickTime” or “Export Final Cut XML”.  If you are backing up your project files or event files to an external drive, be sure to back up both the project files and the event files (original video files imported to iMovie).  Otherwise, the project files will not be playable without the event files.


Downloading pictures and music from the internet may be in violation of copyright. Please see the section Finding Content for Reuse for more information on finding content, which can be used for the purposes of a digital story.


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