I have a been a long-time user of Apple’s premiere movie editing program, Apple iMovie. I have edited everything from family birthday parties to professionally shot wedding videos.
With the release of iMovie ‘08, followed by the ‘09 update, Apple significantly re-designed iMovie, to the dismay of many long-time users like myself. Although I still use Apple iMovie ’06 from time to time, I have discovered many reasons why the latest version, iMovie ’09, is a useful program for managing, editing, and producing short form videos.
Event & Project Management
If you start shooting and editing movies on a regular basis, be it with the video camera on your cellphone or with your camcorder, iMovie is a useful program for managing and accessing your movie files in one place.
When you import files into the program, you can save the footage to either a new or existing Event. So for example, an event might be a vacation trip, birthday party, or YouTube presentation. After you create an event you can always add additional clips to it.
Also, events are organized by year, which is helpful for keeping track of clips. Right- or Control- clicking on an event provides additional options for managing and accessing files.
Similar to Events, Apple iMovie ‘09 allows you to organize all your movie projects within the application, rather than as complete separate files/projects outside of the program. You can select to save your projects to one or more storage drives, but you can access them all from within the program.
Mark As Favorites
If you’re working on a large project, you can mark individual clips as favorites. This is useful if your Event browser has lots of clips and you need a way to narrow it down. You can also reject individual clips, which means they are removed from the Events Browser but not deleted from your hard drive or the project itself. You can un-reject them at any time.
If you know how to make exposure adjustments and enhancements in programs like iPhoto, you might be surprised to know that you can make similar adjustments to your movie files in iMovie. Click on the tiny gear button of a clip in either the Event and Project browser to bring up the adjustment panals.
You get choices for making exposure and audio adjustments, as well as the ability to crop and rotate clips as you would still photos. And even better, you can copy adjustments you make on one clip and paste them to another.
Go to Edit>Paste Adjustments….
An advanced feature of iMovie ’09 does what some third-party plug-ins did for previous versions of iMovie. You can, for example, drag a selected clip or a portion of it from the Event Browser on top of one or more clips in the Project Story Board. You then choose from the pop-up window how you want the added clip to be used.
For instance, you can create a quick cutaway shot or picture within a picture.
Apple iMovie ‘09 makes it easy for you to select a group of clips or an entire project and perform a voice-over production. This is great for how-to or documentary videos.
iMovie ‘09 provides several export options for your completed projects. You can format projects for YouTube posting, your iPhone, Flash Video, QuickTime format, etc. You can also save projects in the Media Browser; these files in turn can be accessed from the Media Browser of other iLife programs such as iDVD and Keynote.
When you save a project to the Media Browser, iMovie compresses the movie according to your specifications. That way you don’t have to open iMovie in order to retrieve saved projects. With the latest version of iMovie you can also export movies to iDVD.
Edit To The Beat
When you want to create an advanced slide show, the Edit to the Beat feature of iMovie is very useful for getting the job done quickly. See my video tutorial for how to use this feature.
Before or after you begin a project, you can set default properties for automatic transitions between clips, the duration of transitions, the aspect ratio of clips, and the theme you want to use for a project. Go to File>Project Properties to make these settings.
Also in Properties, you can set the default for the duration time for transitions, titles and photo displays.
In iMovie‘s Preferences, you can create a collection of favorite fonts you use for projects. You’re not limited to the default set. Click on an existing font and change it.
There are several other advanced features in iMovie ‘09 that I didn’t touch upon. If you have shied away from movie editing because it looks too complicated, I can assure you that it’s possible for anyone to learn, using iMovie ‘09. Start with Apple‘s own tutorials and then experiment with many of the features described above.