Edit iMovie Video Projects

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Start Editing in iMovie

An iMovie project is where you assemble your clips and photos; and add titles, effects and transitions to create a video.

If you're brand new to iMovie, you'll need to create a new project and import video clips before getting started.

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Prepare Clips for Editing in iMovie

Once you have some clips added to iMovie, open them in the Event Browser. You can add the clips to your iMovie project as-is, or you can adjust the audio and video settings of the clips before adding them to the project. If you know you want to make adjustments to the entire length of the clip, it's easier to do it know, before adding the video into your project. This article, Edit Clips in iMovie, shows you how to make these clip adjustments.

After making any necessary adjustments, it's time to select the parts of the clips that you want in your project. Clicking on a clip with the arrow automatically selects a portion of it (how much depends on your computer's iMovie settings). You can extend the portion that's selected by dragging the sliders to the exact frames where you want your trimmed clip to begin and end.

Selecting footage is an exact process, so it helps to expand your clips so that you can look at them frame by frame. You can do that by moving the slider bar below your video clips. In the example above, I moved the slider bar to two seconds, so every frame in the filmstrip represents two seconds of video. This makes it easier for me to move through the clip carefully and slowly, finding the exact spot where I want it to begin and end.

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Add Clips to a Project in iMovie

Once you've selected the part of your clip that you want in the project, click on the Add Selected Video button next to the arrow. This will automatically add the selected footage to the end of your project. Or, you can drag the selected portion to the Project Editor pane and add it between any two existing clips.

If you drag the clip on top of an existing clip, you'll reveal a menu that offers various options for inserting or replacing the footage, creating cutaways, or using picture-in-picture.

Once you've added clips to your iMovie project, you can easily rearrange them by dragging and dropping.

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Fine Tune Clips in Your iMovie Project

Even if you were careful about selecting the footage to add to your project, you may want to make some slight adjustments after it’s been added to your project. There are several ways to trim and extend footage once it’s in a project.

There are small arrows in the bottom corners of every clip in your iMovie project. Click on these to fine tune where your clip starts or ends. When you do, the edge of your clip will be highlighted in orange, and you can easily extend or shorten it by up to 30 frames.

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Edit Clips With the iMovie Clip Trimmer

If you want to make a more extensive change to the length of the clip, use the Clip Trimmer. Clicking on the Clip Trimmer opens up the entire clip, with the used part highlighted. You can move the entire highlighted portion, which will give you a clip of the same length but from a different part of the original clip. Or you can drag the ends of the highlighted portion to extend or shorten the part that’s included in the project. When you’re finished, click Done to close the Clip Trimmer.

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iMovie Precision Editor

If you want to do some in-depth, frame-by-frame editing, use the precision editor. The precision editor opens up below the project editor, and shows you exactly where your clips overlap, letting you make minute adjustments between clips.

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Split Clips Within Your iMovie Project

Splitting is useful if you’ve added a clip to a project, but don’t want to use the entire clip all at once. You can split a clip by selecting a portion of it and then clicking Clip > Split Clip. This will split your original clip into three - the selection portion, and the parts before and after.

Or, you can split a clip in two by dragging the playhead to the place you want the split to occur and then clicking Split Clip.

Once you’ve split a clip, you can rearrange the pieces and move them around separately within your iMovie project.

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Add More to Your iMovie Project

Once you've added and arranged your video clips, you can add transitions, music, photos and titles to your project. These tutorials will help:

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