How to Edit a Movie in iMovie | Film Connection (2023)

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Apple has gone to great lengths to show how their new phones are advanced enough to take movie-quality videos. But once you’ve taken a few videos, how do you go about putting the different clips together to tell a story? Apple has a solution for that, too: iMovie.

Want to start editing that footage? Open iMovie and you’ll see the following: media, options, and theater. To start editing from scratch choose options, create new, and movie.

If you first want to acquaint yourself with the functionality of iMovie, creating a trailer or two might be a great way to start. To do that select options, new, create new, and trailer. The trailer option comes loaded with templates which can enable you to learn the functionality of iMovie without too much of a learning curve.

(Video) How to Edit a Video for Class or School using iMovie or Video Editor [For Students and Beginners!]

This can be especially helpful if you’re a PC user who’s trying out a Mac for the first time. No matter how intuitive software, apps, or programs are, switching from one environment to another can be a bit confusing at first.

At the start, you’ll see a stage at the bottom of the screen, clips that have been uploaded to iMovie to the left, and folder contents in the upper middle part of the interface. When working with new clips, iMovie features a handy drag and drop action that allows you to work directly off of the desktop. It basically comes down to how you prefer to work – loading your clips to the iMovie library or dragging from the desktop.

Speaking of work, let’s get started and edit video in iMovie!

Organizing Scenes on the Screen

Grab the first scene of your project, either by clicking on it from your library or dragging the video to the desktop. When the clip is in place, you can adjust the setting slider near the upper right-hand corner of the stage. This gives you a closer look at the different slides in the video.

The space bar will be your friend when looking for specific parts of a video. It acts as both the pause and play button. The clip will play in the upper right-hand portion of the iMovie window. There are a few options here: a microphone for voice overs, rewind, fast-forward, and play/pause.

Start Editing
Now that you have a basic understanding of how to load video clips in the timeline, zoom in on a clip, and play or pause the clip, it’s time to try a few simple edits. After clicking on a clip and adjusting the slider, take a look at the earliest edge of the clip. There may be some dead space that you want to get rid of at this point.

(Pro Tip: When shooting a video, it’s always nice to leave a few seconds at the start and the end to give yourself a little breathing room when it comes time to fine-tune, add transitions, add audio clips and more. It’s also easier to leave room than trying to start or stop everything perfectly with a camera.)

(Video) Home Movie Film School: Video Editing Basics

Select the part of the video you want to get rid of by clicking it. Click command B (this is the clip trimmer), highlight the area, and delete. FYI, clicking command B enables you to split a clip from the rest of the video.

If you want to get rid of something in the middle of your iMovie project, click and command b at the start and the end of the clip, select the clip, and delete. Congratulations! You’ve made your first edit. To add other elements to the video, click the My Media button at the top left of the interface to find images, audio, or more video. Simply select what you want, then drag it to where you want it to in the timeline.

Adding Features
Next to the My Media button is an Audio button. There are several effects preloaded into iMovie such as video background music, sound effects, and other noises to add to your video.

Click the Import button to bring files into your event library for a custom picture or sound you’ve already created. Click and drag the effect and place it under the part of the clip where it belongs. You can adjust the volume of the clip from the stage to make sure it doesn’t compete too much with the primary video clip.

Playing the clip a few times will help solidify where you want it to go. You can also adjust the volume of the different layers by clicking the volume icon above the playback window of the video. This will give you more exact levels than trying to do it visually from the stage.

Titles, Backgrounds, and Transitions
If you’ve ever dealt with imaging software before, such as Photoshop, being able to add a title should be pretty straightforward. By clicking the title button at the top of the screen, you can choose where the title will appear and how it acts on the screen.

You can adjust the size, the color, the font, and other text manipulations from above the playback window. When you place the title on the stage, make sure it’s above the main video so it can be seen. This is known as an overlay. Backgrounds are treated the same way and transitions are added directly into the video layer.

(Video) Film School Lessons- Video 101: Editing Basics

Saving Your Work
iMovie also autosaves your work as you go. For those of us who like to power through a task or a piece of work, this feature is a godsend. Unfortunately, it also means your mistakes or bad decisions will be saved, too. That’s why there’s an alt (or ctrl) Z keystroke.

When you’re done editing the video, click the Share button in the upper right-hand corner of the window to finish editing. You can share it to YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook as well as saving it as a movie file. We recommend saving it as a file first and then sharing it. It’s just a more reliable process.

Take It To The Next Level

Just by reading this blog, you’ve already gained a little insight into what’s possible when editing a movie on your laptop or desktop computer with iMovie. Using simple keystrokes and preloaded effects are fine when creating a cat video for your friends. But there’s a lot more to learn if you think editing could be the career for you.

With the Film Connection Editing Workshop, you’ll learn how to edit a movie both technically as well as lyrically. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A good editor will squeeze out a few hundred more by understanding the story and utilizing the tools at their disposal.

You’ll receive one-on-one time with a professional editor, learning what it takes to make a career in the television or film industry. Your mentor will work on advancing your editing skills in addition to helping you learn how to use those skills to move the story along coherently.

If all you want to create is the next viral meme, that’s fine. You probably don’t even need iMovie to do it. But if you feel you have an eye for editing, an incredible work ethic, and are passionate about editing, consider applying to Film Connection.


Can you edit a shared iMovie? ›

Share or export your iMovie project on iPhone or iPad. Send your movie via email or text message, export your movie to watch on another device, or share your movie to the web. If you want to edit your movie after sharing it, open the saved project in iMovie, make your changes, then share it again when you're ready.

How do you unlink clips in iMovie? ›

So navigate to your clip on the timeline. Select it by clicking on it then right-click. And select

How do I edit an existing iMovie project? ›

To open a project to work on, double-click it in the Project Library, or select it and then click the Edit Project button in the upper-left corner of the Project Library.

How do I join independent clips in iMovie? ›

Here's how to use the Join Clips feature. After splitting the clips, holding down Shift and select the clips that need to join together to highlight them. Go to Modify and then select Join Clips, and then you will see the clips are merged as one.

Can two people work on iMovie? ›

It is possible for two or more people to work on one video if the edits happen one after the other. You can do this if you use the same account login.

How can I use iMovie on two computers? ›

The easiest way to do this is to copy (option-drag) your library from your Movies folder to a USB thumb drive (formatted for Apple -- Max OS extended, journaled), and then plug the thumb drive into the target computer, and then drag the library from the thumb drive into the Movies folder of the target computer.

How do I ungroup audio and video in iMovie? ›

Detach the audio from a video clip

With your project open, tap a video clip in the timeline to reveal the inspector at the bottom of the screen. Tap the Actions button , then tap Detach. A new blue-colored audio clip appears beneath the video clip.

What is detach audio in iMovie? ›

Detach audio from a clip in your movie

The audio is removed from the video clip and appears as an audio-only clip (with a green bar) attached below the video clip. The audio clip can now be attached to any other clip in your movie, or moved down to the background music well.

How do I separate audio from video? ›

How to easily separate audio from video - YouTube

How do I edit videos on iMovie Mac? ›

How to edit in iMovie on Mac (Edit your online course videos) - YouTube

How do you edit videos on iMovie on iPhone? ›

HOW TO EDIT in iMovie on iPhone (Step by step tutorial) - YouTube

Can you edit MP4 files in iMovie? ›

iMovie supports MP4 files that use MPEG-4 and H. 264 codecs only. If other codecs are applied in your MP4 files, you can't import them into iMovie for editing.

How do I join two videos together? ›

How to Merge Videos
  1. Upload Your Files. Select your video files (and/or photos and audio files) and upload them to the editor.
  2. Merge. Arrange the files on the video timeline in the right order. Use our cutter/splitter to trim the ends off any files.
  3. Export! Woohoo! All done!

Why can't I join two clips in iMovie? ›

You can only rejoin the clips if you haven't done other edits in the meantime, such as trimming out dead space. If you share out the split clips that will merge the segments, and then you can import the merged segments back into iMovie. You can create an auxiliary project for the purpose.

How do you merge videos together? ›

  1. Step 1 - Download PowerDirector - Free Video Merger App On iPhone & Android. ...
  2. Step 2 - Tap +New Project and Choose the Project Ratio with Best Video Combiner. ...
  3. Step 3-1 - Select Videos You Want to Merge/Combine. ...
  4. Step 3-2 - Select One Video First and Combine Another Video Later. ...
  5. Step 4 - Edit Transitions of Merged Videos.
13 May 2022

Can multiple people edit a video together? ›

With real-time collaboration, multiple people can edit the same video at the same time. This makes it easy for students and teachers to work together on a project, even if they're remote.

Can you work on the same iMovie on different devices? ›

You can share a movie or trailer as a video file, or you can share a project file that you can continue to edit on the other device.

How do I share a video editor project? ›

How to send your video project to someone else for editing
  1. Begin in the 'Timeline' screen - The 'Timeline' screen is the first screen you arrive at after recording or importing your video, before 'Overlays'
  2. Tap the 3 lines in the top left hand corner to expand the menu.
  3. Select 'Send Project'
  4. Select a team member.

Can I transfer an iMovie project to another Mac? ›

How to transfer iMovie Project Files Between Mac ... - YouTube

Can I move iMovie library to an external hard drive? ›

How To Move Your iMovie Library to an External Drive - YouTube

Where is the iMovie library stored? ›

iMovie will autosave all of its data and assets (video, images, audio) into a library file called iMovie Library in the Movies folder of the computer you are working on for the day. Every time you make a change or add to your project in iMovie, your project will autosave.

How do I separate audio from picture in iMovie? ›

Import the movie to iMovie and drag it to the iMovie timeline. Here, right-click the file and select the "Detach Audio" option. Now, the color of the detached audio will change to Green below the video clip. Now, drag and drop the audio to anywhere you want to unlink it from the video.

How do I merge audio and video in iMovie? ›

Open iMovie and tap the Create Project button. Now select Movie from the New Project popup window. Then tap Create Movie at the bottom of the app screen. Now tap on the area that says Tap + to add videos, photos, or audio to import your videos.

Why can't I move audio in iMovie? ›

How to fix audio not moving in IMovie - YouTube

Can you edit just audio in iMovie? ›

When you add an audio effect or background music to your movie in iMovie, you may want to make some adjustments. Luckily, iMovie provides features for editing your audio clips so that you can trim them, change the speed, and adjust the volume.

How do I equalize audio in iMovie? ›

Apply an equalizer preset

In the iMovie app on your Mac, select one or more audio clips (or video clips with audio) in the timeline. To show the equalizer controls, click the Noise Reduction and Equalizer button. Click the Equalizer pop-up menu and choose an equalizer preset.

How do I edit audio files? ›

How to Edit Mp3 Audio Files - YouTube

How do I separate background music and audio? ›

Want To Separate Vocals And Music From A Song ? Here Is How You ...

How do you remove background noise in iMovie on Iphone? ›

Go to the Effects tab of the iMovie app and select Audio Filters. Click on the Noise Reduction tool and drag the slider to the right to reduce background noise. There's also an equalizer which, if you know what you're doing, can reduce some of the noise.

How do I extract audio from a .mov file? ›

Drag and drop your MOV video to the timeline for editing. Right click on the MOV file. Then select Detach Audio from the drop-down menu. Wait for a second, the audio file will be extracted from MOV successfully.

Can I transfer an iMovie Project to another Mac? ›

How to transfer iMovie Project Files Between Mac ... - YouTube

Where are iMovie Projects stored? ›

iMovie will autosave all of its data and assets (video, images, audio) into a library file called iMovie Library in the Movies folder of the computer you are working on for the day. Every time you make a change or add to your project in iMovie, your project will autosave.

What is stored in iMovie library? ›

Understanding iMovie Libraries and Events - An in-depth look at where ...

How do I transfer an iMovie Project from Mac to iPad? ›

In the project details screen, tap the Share button , tap Options, tap Project, tap Done, then tap one of the following options: AirDrop: Share wirelessly to a nearby Mac using AirDrop. Save to Files: Save the project to your iPhone, iPad, or iCloud Drive, and retrieve it with your Mac.

Can I move iMovie library to an external hard drive? ›

How To Move Your iMovie Library to an External Drive - YouTube

Why can't I export my iMovie? ›

iMovie Export Failed

There are many factors that may cause export failure. Like lack of computer space, corrupted project, or wrong export file name. Solution: Check if the storage space is available on your Mac device to assure enough space for movie exporting.

How do I transfer an iMovie project to another IOS device? ›

Share to a nearby device using AirDrop
  1. Do one of the following: From the Projects browser: Tap the movie or trailer you want to share. ...
  2. Tap the Share button , tap Options, then do any of the following: Share a finished movie or trailer: Tap Video. ...
  3. Tap Done.
  4. Tap AirDrop, then tap the device you want to transfer to.

How do I organize my iMovie library? ›

In the iMovie app on your Mac, do any of the following: Sort events by name: Choose View > Sort Events By > Name. Sort events from newest to oldest: Choose View > Sort Events By > Newest to Oldest. When you sort events by date, events in each library are grouped by year.

How do you finalize a project on iMovie? ›

To finalize a project:
  1. Click to select a project in the Project Library, or open a project so that it's showing in the Project browser. ...
  2. Choose File > Finalize Project.

Do you need to save in iMovie? ›

As you probably noticed iMovie doesn't have any save option and that's because it automatically saves your project and your progress. iMovie allows you to edit and make changes to your videos without worrying about saving them each time as it saves them to your hard drive as you are working on them.

Can you copy and paste from one iMovie to another? ›

Choose Edit > Copy. The clip and its effects and adjustments are copied to the clipboard. Select the first clip or range to which you want to paste the adjustments.

How does iMovie library work? ›

Primarily, your iMovie library features the data from each of your movie projects: video, audio, and images of each project. Every time you make a change, they are saved automatically. To see what files are in your iMovie Library, do the following: Open Finder and, in the main menu, click Go -> Computer.

Where do deleted iMovie projects go? ›

iMovieApp/Data/Library/Caches/iMovie Backups. (If you don't see a Library folder after you click on Home, try holding down the Option key as or after you click on Home.) When you get to the backups folder you will see a list of backups of your Libraries. Click on one that is dated just before you deleted your project.


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