Learn About iMovie 11 and Its Editing Tools

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Get Started With iMovie 11

Many people are intimidated by iMovie 11, because it is unlike any other video editing program. But once you understand the layout it becomes easier to find what you're looking for and understand how the program works.

This iMovie overview will show you where to find different tools and features you can use for editing videos within iMovie.

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iMovie 11 Event Library

The Event Library is where you'll find all of the videos that you have ever imported to iMovie. The videos are organized by date and by event. The blue box in the top right corner indicates that the events are grouped by disk, which only applies if you have an external hard drive connected.

The small star icon in the very bottom left hides and shows the Event Library. The play icons control playback of videos from the Event Library. And the magnifying glass reveals the Keyword Filtering Pane, which helps you find footage using iMovie keywords.

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iMovie 11 Event Browser

When you select an event, all of the video clips contained therein will be revealed in the Event Browser.

In this window you can and add keywords to your videos and make clip adjustments.

The parts of the clip marked in blue have keywords attached to them. The parts marked green have been selected as favorites. And the parts marked orange have been added to a project already.

Along the bottom bar, you can see that I've selected to show clips that are either favorites or unmarked, but you can change that if you want to see rejected clips as well, or only favorites.

The slider in the bottom right corner lengthens or shortens the filmstrip view of your video clips. Here, it's set to 1 second, so every frame of the filmstrip is one second of video. This lets me make a detailed selection when I'm adding video clips to a project. But when I'm looking at multiple clips in the Event Browser I change it so I can see more videos in the window.

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iMovie 11 Project Library

The project library lists all of the iMovie projects that you’ve created in alphabetical order. Each project includes information about its format, duration, when it was last worked on, and whether it’s ever been shared.

The buttons in the bottom left corner control playback. The plus sign in the bottom right is for creating a new iMovie project.

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iMovie 11 Project Editor

Select and double-click on a project, and you’ll open the project editor. Here you can see and manipulate all of the video clips and elements that make up your project.

Along the bottom are buttons for playback on the left. On the right, I have the audio button selected, so you can see the audio attached to every clip in the timeline. The slider is set to All, so each clip is displayed in a single frame in the timeline.

The box on the top left corner contains icons for adding comments and chapters to your video project. You can use comments to make editing notes on your project. Chapters are for when you export your video to iDVD or a similar program. Add chapters and comments simply by dragging either icon to a specific spot in the timeline.

The other box in the top right - with the three gray squares - controls how your video is displayed in the project editor. If you select that box, your video project is displayed in a single horizontal row, instead of multiple rows as above.

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iMovie 11 Clip Editing

By hovering over a clip in iMovie you reveal a number of editing tools.

On either side of the clip you'll see a couple arrows. Click on these for fine-tune editing, to add or trim individual frames from the start or end of the clip.

If you see an audio icon and/or a cropped icon at the top of the clip, this means the clips has audio adjustments or cropping applied. You can click on either icon to make further edits to those settings.

Click on the gear icon and you'll reveal a menu for all sorts of other editing tools. The precision editor and clip trimmer allow for more detailed edits. The Video, Audio and Clip Adjustment open the inspector window, and the Cropping & Rotation button lets you change the size and orientation of the video image.

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iMovie 11 Preview Window

Whether you’re reviewing clips you imported into iMovie Events, or projects that you’re editing, all of the video playback happens in the preview window.

The preview window is also where you can make video adjustments like cropping or adding the Ken Burns effect. It's also where you preview effects and edit titles for your video project.

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Music, Photos, Titles and Transitions in iMovie 11

In the bottom right corner of the iMovie screen, you’ll find a window for adding music, photos, titles, transitions and backgrounds to your videos. Click on the appropriate icon in the middle bar, and your selection will open in the window below.