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macOS – iMovie

This document is intended to demonstrate some of the basic and advanced video editing features available in iMovie, a free application for macOS.

  1. Open iMovie located in the Applications folder on your Mac’s hard drive.
  2. In the Projects browser, click Create New. If you’re currently editing a movie, click the Projects button in the toolbar, then click Projects again to open the Projects browser.

  3. Click Movie. Your new project will open, showing the browser, the viewer, and the timeline.

  4. After creating your project, add clips from events in the Libraries list, or add video clips and photos from your Photos app library. You can also import video clips, photos, and other media located on your Macs hard drive or cloud storage. Right click on your project, choose Import Media and browse for the files on your Macs hard drive.

  5. To start editing your video, drag clips from the iMovie browser to the timeline of your project. You can also drag clips into the timeline from the Finder and from the Desktop of your Mac.Clipping your video 
    Removing portion of recording from beginning or end of a video clipAfter you add video clips and photos to the timeline of your project, you can make a clip longer or shorter, change the sequence of clips, or split a clip into two separate clips.

    • To zoom in on the clip, choose View > Zoom In, or press Command–Plus sign (+) or pinch the trackpad. When you zoom in, you can see more detail in the clip, which can make it easier to edit.
    • In the timeline, hover your pointer over the beginning or end of the clip that you want to trim until your pointer becomes the clip trim tool .
      The arrows indicate which directions you can trim the clip:
    • To make the clip longer, drag the edge of the clip away from the center of the clip.
    • To make the clip shorter, drag the edge of the clip toward the center of the clip.

    Editing the sequence of clips
    You can change the sequence of clips in the timeline to change when a particular clip appears in your movie. With your project open, click the video clip or photo in the timeline, then drag the clip left or right depending on where you want the clip to appear in your movie:

    • If you want the clip to appear earlier, drag the video clip to the left, then release.
    • If you want the clip to appear later, drag the video clip to the right, then release.

    You can also move multiple clips at once:

    • Hold the Command key as you click each clip you want to select, drag a selection rectangle around the clips, or hold the Shift key as you click each clip.
    • Drag the clips to a new location in the timeline.

    Splitting a clip into two or more separate clips
    To split a clip to adjust the duration of each section, remove unwanted sections, or add different titles to each section:

    • Scroll in the timeline and position the playhead (the white line) where you want to split the clip.
    • If necessary, choose View > Zoom In or press Command + Plus sign (+) to zoom in on the clip.
    • To split the clip, choose Modify > Split Clip or press Command+B .

    Adding transitions between clips
    After you split a clip you can add transition effects such as cross fades and dissolves.

    Adding audio to your iMovie project
    You can drag audio files like .mp4, .mp3, .wav, and .aif files from the Finder and the Desktop right into the timeline of your iMovie project. Audio files dragged into the timeline behave differently depending on where you drag them:

    • If you want an audio file to stay with a particular video clip even if you move the video clip, drag the audio file just below the video clip so a bar connecting the clips appears. Use this to add sound effects or voiceover audio that you want to connect to a specific video clip in your project, no matter where the clip is in the timeline.
    • If you drag an audio file to the music well, indicated by the musical note icon in the timeline, the audio clip won’t move if you move any video clips in the timeline. Use this to add background or theme music that plays throughout the entire project.

    Adding voiceover narration to your video

    • In the iMovie app  on your Mac, position the playhead in the timeline where you want to start recording, and then click the Record Voiceover button below the viewer.
    • The voiceover recording controls appear below the viewer. Click the red button to begin recording. Click again to stop recording.


    Add titles to your video
    You can add title text to any clip in your movie using one of the many title styles available in iMovie.

    • In the iMovie app select Titles above the browser.

    • Do one of the following: In the timeline, position the playhead where you want to add the title, and then double-click the title in the browser. The title is added to your movie at the position of the playhead.

    • Or, Drag the title to the timeline, above the clip where you want the title to appear.


  6. When your video is complete, it can be exported as a file for use in other applications
    • In the iMovie app on your Mac, select a movie, trailer, or clip in the browser.
    • Click the Share button in the upper right corner of the toolbar, and then click Export File.

    • In the dialog box, give your movie a name and click Next
    • Choose a location on your Mac’s hard drive to save your movie

Additional information