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iMovie: Basic Editing

iMovie, Version: 10.1.8. Be aware that different versions of iMovie will vary in appearance and functionality. Full Guide: View/Download

Use the following methods to edit clips that have been added to the Timeline. These edits can be made to videos, audio, and photos. Edits made to clips in the Timeline will not affect the original media.

Expand each section below to see its content.

Movies are constructed in the Timeline. Add media to the Timeline to begin editing. To preview a clip, hover over it in the Browser and move the cursor from left-to-right. The clip will display in the Viewer. Alternatively, select the clip and press the Play button in the Viewer to watch the clip.

To add media to the Timeline, select it and click the gray plus button to the bottom-right. Alternatively, click-and-drag it from the Browser to the Timeline.

To add only a portion of a clip, click-and-drag the handles on the sides of the clip to highlight the desired portion.

showing three clips, were one is on topTo re-order clips in the Timeline, click-and-drag them left-or-right.

Clips can also be stacked on top of each other. Be aware that if visual clips are stacked, the top clip will cover the bottom clip. Stacked audio clips, however, do not cover each other up; they will play simultaneously and will all be heard playing at the same time.

Attachment Points

When clips are stacked, they automatically attach themselves to other clips via Attachment Points. Top-most visual clips will attach to the visual clip beneath it, and audio clips will attach to any clip thats above it. Whenever a clip that has other clips attached to it is moved, it will take the attached clips with it. However, the attached clips themselves can be moved freely without moving the clip theyre attached to.

To attach a clip to a different clip without moving it, press-and-hold the Command+Option keys and click the attached clip at the new desired point. The Attachment Point will reposition. This can be useful for rearranging visual clips without changing the placement of audio.

showing two examples of attachment points

Clip trimming refers to shortening or lengthening a clip to change the visible or audible portions in the Timeline. For example, if the last couple of seconds of a clip are unwanted, they can be trimmed out. 

To trim a clip, click-and-drag the start or end points of the clip. The start and end points are the beginning and ending edges of the clip.
  • To trim the beginning, click-and-drag the start point to the left
  • To trim the end, click-and-drag the end point to the right.
The portions that are trimmed out can be retrieved at any time by extending the clip back out. A red line at the start or end point of the clip in the Timeline will indicate its maximum length, beyond which the clip cant extend.

Clip Trimmer

Use the Clip Trimmer to fine-tune the duration of the clip. Unlike when editing the start and end points, the Clip Trimmer shows the visible as well as the unused portion of a clip.

To use the Clip Trimmer:
  1. Right-click the clip in the Timeline and select Show Clip Trimmer from the pop-up. A black bar with the clip in it will appear at the top of the Timeline.
  • Adjust the start and end points, which appear as white vertical lines, to change the duration of the clip.
  • Click-and-drag the portion thats between the start and end points to change which portion of the clip is visible.
  • When done, click Close Clip Trimmer to the top-left.

  • Splitting can be used to divide a clip into multiple clips, which can be edited and moved independently of each other.

    To split a clip:
    1. Click within the Timeline at the desired moment to move the playhead.
    2. Right-click the clip and select Split Clip from the pop-up. The clip will be split into two separate pieces.

    To fade clips in/out at the beginning/end:
    1. Hover the mouse over a clip in the Timeline. A fade handle, which looks like a gray dot, will appear at the beginning and end.
    2. Click-and-drag the handles inwards to create fades.
    • Fade-in: handle at the beginning.
    • Fade-out: handle at the end.
    As a handle is moved, an arc will appear on the clip, which indicates the volume change. The farther inward a handle is moved, the slower and more subtle the fade will be. Always play the clip to make sure the fade doesnt sound too short or long.

    By default, photo clips in the Timeline have a duration of 4 seconds. Lengthen/shorten photo clips by adjusting their start and end points. Depending on the selected iMovie preferences, photo clips added to the Timeline may have the Ken Burns effect applied to them automatically. The Ken Burns effect, named after the famous documentarian, is a slow zoom-and-pan over a photo. 

    • Keyboard Shortcuts
      • Spacebar: play and pause. 
      • Delete: select clips in the Timeline and press Delete to remove.

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    Keywordsproduction, video, editing, mac, cutting, splitting, trimming, stacking   Doc ID85229
    OwnerJanelle B.GroupPacific Lutheran Univ
    Created2018-08-24 16:22:33Updated2023-08-04 16:28:58
    SitesPacific Lutheran University
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