CS 325 and Film 385: Introduction to Apple's iMovie (and GarageBand again)

Highlights of this lab:

  • What is iMovie?
  • iMovie Terminology
  • The "Shelf"
  • Importing Video, stored on your Hard Disk or via a DV Camera
  • Constructing Your Movie
  • Editing Your Movie
  • Adding and Manipulating Audio
  • Exporting To A Quicktime File
  • Export to GarageBand (hopefully!)
  • Assignment

:: What is iMovie? ::

iMovie is a video editing application created by Apple Computer. It is only available for the Macintosh Computer platform. iMovie is included with every new iMac DV, iBook, Powerbook, and Power Mac G4 computer.

We will be using this video for the in-lab discussion. Right click on it and save it to your folders.

:: iMovie Terminology ::

Here is some common iMovie terminology. The list looks long but not to fret, soon using iMovie will be as easy as velcro shoes!

:: The Shelf ::

iMovie places captured clips on the shelf, a temporary storage place for clips, to the right of its monitor. The shelf is the holding area for clips just captured or not currently being used in the movie. In order to import

:: Importing Video, stored on your Hard Disk or via a DV Camera ::

Importing video stored on your Hard Disk:

Images, digital video, and sounds can be imported into iMovie by choosing "Import File..." under the File menu.

Importing video via a DV Camera:

In order to capture video from your video camera, you must use a Digital Video or DV camera. DV cameras come equipped with a FireWire port. Firewire is also referred to as IEEE 1394 and i.LINK Connect the DV device to your computer. If you are using a camcorder, set the power switch to VCR mode.Click on the Play button on the play back controls or press the Space Bar on the keyboard to preview.

The Playhead moves across the scrubber bar under the monitor. You may drag the playhead to move anywhere in the clip. Clicking the Fast Forward & Rewind buttons several times in a row will preview the clip progressively faster in either direction.

Rewind to a few seconds before the desired footage. Click the Import button to start capturing or hit the Space Bar. Click the Import button or press the Space Bar when finished. The clips will now be on the shelf.

:: Constructing your Movie ::

Once you know the content of the clips, begin making a movie by moving the clips from the shelf to the movie track in the clip viewer. Each clip’s first frameis shown in the Clip Viewer.

Drag a clip from the shelf to the movie track. To move multiple clips, hold down the Shift key while clicking on the clips of your choice on the shelf or choose Select All in the Edit menu. Move all clips you want to the Clip Viewer.

Arranging The Order Of Clips

To change the clip order in a movie choose Select None in the Edit menu or click in the space above the Clip Viewer to deselect clips in the movie track. Drag a clip to its new location in the track.Release the mouse button to insert the clip in its new location before or after another clip in the Clip Viewer. Press play on the video clip above for a demonstration of this action.

Renaming Clips

iMovie gives clips a generic name upon capture. To rename clips, click the name under the thumbnail on the shelf or in the clipview and type a new name. This will help keep track of edited clips. Press play on the video clip above to see a demonstration of this action.

:: Editing Your Movie ::

To edit video clips in iMovie, click the Edit button.

In edit mode one can crop or split clips to the desired length, copy and paste sections of clips and arrange them into movies, add transitions between clips, and manage clips by renaming them in the shelf.


Often clips are longer than needed. Excess footage can be removed from a clip with the crop markers just below the scrubber bar under the monitor.

Click on the clip on the shelf, in the clip viewer or in the audio viewer. Click below the scrubber bar under the monitor & drag the crop markers to the beginning and end frames desired. Move one frame at a time by using the Left & Right Arrow keys on your keyboard. Choose Crop in the Edit menu.

Splitting a Clip

One clip can be split into two clips. This way an unused part of a clip may be kept on the shelf for later use. To split a clip:

Editing with Cut, Copy, Paste & Clear

Any element may be copied to the Clipboard, then pasted into a new clip or location.

:: Adding and Manipulating Audio ::

Background music from any audio CD, sound effects, voice narrations, or MP3 files may be added to a movie. The audio clip sequences may be arranged & their duration trimmed.

There are two ways to add music to a movie: recording music from an audio CD or importing an AIFF audio file.

Click on the Audio button:

To import an AIFF audio file move the playhead in the audio view to the beginning of the movie. (this sets the insertion point for the audio file), choose Import File from the Edit menu, select the AIFF audio file &, click Import to import the file. The music clip appears in the music track.

Adding Sound Effects

Sound effects may be inserted anywhere in the movie on the narration or music tracks.

To add a sound effect:

To delete a sound effect:

Adding Voice Narration

Record the voice by using a microphone connected to the computer:

Cropping Audio Elements

NOTE: Sound effects cannot be cropped

Adjusting Volume Levels

To adjust the master volume level drag the volume level to the right to increase or to the left to decrease the volume, or press the Up or Down Arrow keys on the keyboard.

NOTE: This master control adjusts the volume level of your computer system and does not affect the volume level of the files in the movie. The system’s volume level will reset to the original level when iMovie is quit.

Repositioning Audio Elements

Drag the element to any desired position on the narration or music track. Audio elements may overlap each other. To position frame accurately use the Left or Right Arrow keys after clicking on the marker to nudge the element frame by frame. Hold down the Shift key while using the Arrow keys to move in greater increments.

:: Exporting To A Quicktime File ::

Your final movie can be exported to a QuickTime file and used online for distribution over the Internet or on CD-ROM.

To export the movie to a QuickTime file:

So, now click export, name the movie & choose a destination for the file and click Save. Exporting a movie may take a few minutes depending on the length of the movie & the export format chosen. When the movie has been saved, double-click it to play it.

Exporting A Still Image

with iMovie you also have the option of capturing a still image of the video within your movie. To do this...do this ;-):

:: Import to GarageBand ::

With iMovie you have many options to add audio to your movie. You can simply add audio in iMovie or if you're more in-tuned with your inner GarageBand-musician-ness, you can export your movie to GarageBand and just like the lab we did last week, add audio clips in the GarageBand tracks and viola! ...you will have created your own score to go along with your movie.

Please note that this importing to GarageBand was not functioning for me when developing the lab.....so, I will be testing this functionality out with you in real-time for the first time!

:: Assignment ::

For this lab assignment I want you to play around with iMovie and GarageBand (again). Using the video in today's lab I would like you to edit the video according to your own creative abilities. Add music (from GarageBand or other), add titles, transitions, and apply effects where you think they re needed.

Submit your .mov file on Web-CT, in the assignments folder using the link for this lab assignment. Note, your movie files may tend to get quite large so please keep this in mind when you are editing your movie (Nothing over 25mb please). Due date is Nov. 1 at 11:00am Have fun!

:: Online Source(s) ::