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How to Organize Clips by Event in iMovie Using iLife '11

Events are a handy way to organize your video clips in iLife — if you were shooting a movie, each day’s work could be organized as an iMovie event; if you took videos of a weeklong vacation, for example, the entire vacation could be a single event.

iMovie checks the date and time stamp as it imports clips, so the information is readily available. Each event appears in the Event Library, listed within its year — clicking the triangle for a year in the Event Library displays all the events in a single year. You can also merge multiple events, such as several days of shooting, into one event or split a single event into two events. If you would rather see the Event Library at the top of the iMovie window, you can swap that library with the Project Library by clicking the Two Arrows button next to the Camera button on the left side of the toolbar.

Here are some things you can do in the Event Library:

  • To browse an event’s video clips, select the event in the Event Library. The clips appear as filmstrips in the Event Browser (which fills the Source Video pane to the right of the Event Library).

    Browse an event’s video clips.
    Browse an event’s video clips.
  • To browse multiple events, hold down the Command key as you click the events in the Event Library. Select a year in the Event Library to browse all events within it.

  • To retitle an event, double-click the event’s title in the Event Library to highlight the title, and then type a new title.

    You don’t have to keep the date as part of the title. To show the date underneath the title of each event, choose iMovie→Preferences, click the Browser tab, and then click the Show Date Ranges in Event Library option.

  • To merge events, browse multiple events in the Event Library, and then choose File→Merge Events. A dialog appears so that you can type the name of the merged event. Type the name and click OK. After combining the dates for the clips, iMovie places the merged event in the Events Library, perhaps in a new position (depending on the dates).

  • To split an event into two events, select the event title in the Event Library, and click the video clip you want to make the first clip of the new event. When you click the filmstrip representing a video clip, iMovie selects four seconds of video beginning at the point, which is good enough for this purpose. Then choose File→Split Event before Selected Clip.

  • To move a selected clip (an entire filmstrip) or a selected portion of a clip from one event to another, drag it from the Source Video pane over the title of the other event in the Event Library.

If you used different hard drives to store imported clips, you can sort the Event Library by hard drive by clicking the Hard Disk icon at the top of the Event Library. You can then browse the events on a hard drive by selecting the drive.

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