iMovie HD
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Opening iMovie HD

Importing Video

Getting Comfortable

iMovie Editing

Trimming Clips

iMovie Safeguards




Import Photos

Import Audio

Record Narration

Add iDVD Chapters

Export to iDVD 5

Play Demo Movie

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Trimming Clips

Most of your editing work will come down to trimming the lengths of the video clips you select.  In other words, you’ve found the clip you want to use, but the timing’s off.  You’d like to isolate just that portion you want to use in your movie.

iMovie lets us make trims in several different ways.  Here are two methods you’ll find most useful:


Split allows you to slice any clip into 2 distinct pieces.  Think of this as snipping your footage with a pair of scissors.  When you’re done you’ll have 2 new clips.

  • Highlight a Clip (on the Timeline or in your Clips Pane). You can Split clips either before or after you add a clip to the Timeline.
  • The active Clip (now shaded blue) will open in your Monitor.
  • Drag the Playhead to the precise frame where you’d like to split your clip.

  • Go to the Edit menu > Choose “Split Video Clip at Playhead.”

  • If you’ve split a clip on the Clips Pane, the new clip will appear beside the old one (with a distinct name and number).  Drag just the portion you want down to the Timeline.

  • If you’ve split a clip on the Timeline, you’ll see two new tiles occupying the original position of the clip.  Pull out or reshuffle either clip.  You can even drag the one you don’t want back to the Clips Pane for safekeeping.

Tip: You can Split the automatic clips iMovie created when you imported your footage.  Then you’ll have smaller increments that make more sense to you.


Crop lets you snip off portions at the beginning and end of a clip simultaneously.  Use this tool to redefine where your clip begins and ends (i.e. in and outpoints).

In The Purple Way, we used Crop to isolate the useable portions of each take.  We could snip off the head of a clip (the actors getting into position) and the tail of the clip (the director calling “cut”).

  • Hover below the Scrubber Bar until the Triangle Tool appears.
  • Drag the Triangles to mark the new beginning and end points of your clip.
  • The yellow highlighted portion between the triangles shows you the footage you’re keeping.  The left-hand triangle marks your new in point.  The right-hand triangle marks your new out point.

  • Go up to Edit > Choose “Crop”

The ends you snip off will once again go straight to iMovie’s Trash.

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© 2005 David W. Wilson| iSchool | UT Austin | webmaster