Better Your iLife (Part 3)

Better Your iLife (Part 3)

iMovie’s interface is simple to use, but contains some hidden power.




Unlock iMovie’s advanced tools for more precise control over your video masterpiece.

iMovie ’08 (4 of 5 stars) is all about easy editing, but it’s still got some hidden tricks aimed at more advanced editors. Our collection of three video tips and four audio tips will help you go past the more obvious basics and squeeze a little more professionalism out of your iMovie projects. Try them out, and maybe you won’t want to upgrade to a more difficult (and more expensive) editor like Final Cut Express.


Video Tips


1. Make Frame-Accurate Selections. Normally, when you click and drag your mouse to select video in iMovie’s Project window or its Library Browser, iMovie makes a selection using multiple-frame intervals. That’s fine for making many cuts, but won’t do if you’re trying to select a single particular frame for your video’s start or end point.


To make a frame-accurate selection, first click and drag your mouse to select the video as precisely as you can. Position your mouse pointer over either the start or end point of your selection, and then hold Shift and press the Left or Right arrow keys to trim or expand the selection by a single frame. Now you can move your selection to the Project window. Or, if it’s already there, choose Edit > Trim Selection to trim the video to your frame-accurate selection.


To add a single frame to the end of your selection, hold Shift and press the Left arrow key.


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2. Make Quick Edits to the Project Window. The standard way to edit video in iMovie is to select a video segment in the Library Browser and then drag it into your Project window. But if you’re making a quick series of edits, you can work much faster by using iMovie’s Advanced Editing mode. First, choose iMovie > Preferences and check the Show Advanced Tools option. iMovie will make advanced tool icons available on its tool palette. Then click the Edit button to turn on iMovie’s Quick Edit mode. Remember, to preview footage in the Library window, just skim your mouse across it without clicking.


When you see a video segment to edit into your project, just click and drag your mouse across that segment. Release the mouse button, and iMovie instantly edits that selection at the end of your project. Keep clicking and dragging other video selections to quickly edit clips into your movie.


Conversely, you can click (but don’t release) your mouse (but don’t drag) on a video clip in the Library Browser, and iMovie will automatically select 4 seconds of that video starting from the point where you clicked. When you’ve made a good selection, just release the mouse button, and iMovie will instantly edit that selection at the end of your project. You can change iMovie’s default 4-second duration by choosing iMovie > Preferences and adjusting the Click In Events Browser Selects setting.


When you want to get back to iMovie’s Standard Editing mode, just click the Arrow button.


The Edit button (circled in red) shows up in the tool palette after you check the Show Advanced Tools box in iMovie > Preferences.






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