Better Your iLife (Part 3)

Better Your iLife (Part 3)

3. Rearrange Music Tracks. If you need to rearrange the order of music tracks in your movie, it can be tricky to swap their positions by dragging them around in iMovie’s small Project window. Luckily, iMovie has a little-noticed feature that’s perfect for the job.


First, choose Edit > Arrange Music Tracks. Then, in the dialog, click and drag your unpinned music tracks to change their order. If you want to reorder a pinned music track, just select it and click the Un-Pin Track button first.


The Arrange Music Tracks dialog lets you drag and drop to change the order.


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4. Trimming Music Tracks. You can easily trim the length of sound effects by clicking and dragging their start and end points, but trimming unwieldy music tracks is handled through a custom Trim mode that’s easy for iMovie newcomers to miss. To get to the Trim tools, click the little stopwatch icon that appears at the beginning of a music track that you’ve already edited into the Project window. iMovie opens up its Trim window, which shows you the track’s entire audio waveform.


Position your cursor anywhere on the waveform and press the spacebar to preview the audio at that point. Click and drag the yellow in and out markers to select the portion of the song you want to play in your movie. You can click the Play Selection button to hear your precise selection. Click Done when you’ve made your edits, and iMovie will trim your movie’s music track to your specifications.


The Trim dialog lets you edit your music right in iMovie, so you don’t have to edit in GarageBand.


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A couple of months after launching iMovie ’08 (which is technically - and confusingly - known as version 7.0), Apple followed it up with a .1 upgrade. Normally these kind of updates stick to bug fixes, but Apple surprised us by adding some small but handy new features to the mix.


For instance, you can now create a still image from any video frame you’ve captured, and then easily set its play duration in your movie. When you want to copy and paste video effects from one clip to another, you can speed things up by pasting to multiple clips in one fell swoop, instead of one clip at a time.


Version 7.1 has some notable audio enhancements too. You can now manually set how long audio fade-ins and -outs last, up to 2 seconds. You also get more control when mixing different audio tracks together (for instance, balancing dialog over music). Just select any video clip, and set iMovie to reduce the volume of all other tracks by a percentage you choose. Being able to set a precise percentage is definitely helpful, but we still want more control over the time iMovie takes to raise and lower track volumes. Right now, the quick transition between loud and soft levels can still feel a little jarring.


Nonetheless, iMovie’s improvements are real. If you’re a former iMovie power-user who’s held off on upgrading to iMovie ’08, now may be the time to take a second look.


The interface may look the same, but Apple quietly added some new features to iMovie 7.1.




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