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Knowing What You Can Do with iMovie

iMovie provides the basic, no-frills editing tools you need to put together a movie from a set of video clips. You can navigate freely from scene to scene, and save your edits and changes in digital format without the use of videotape. The result is a digital video movie you can save as a QuickTime file or dump back to digital videotape with no loss in quality.

If you aren't that familiar with video, the following list explains what you can do to create and produce a movie with iMovie. Although you may do these steps in sequence, you can go back and redo many of these steps repeatedly until your movie is exactly the way you want. With iMovie, you can do the following:

  • Shoot the video and transfer it to your computer. Use a digital camcorder to record video, which of course includes audio (unless you're making a silent movie or adding sound later). Whatever you shoot becomes the basis for your movie.
    iMovie allows you to import your digital video footage with one click, and it automatically separates the scenes for you into clips. You can then pick out the good parts, snip out the slow or boring parts, shuffle scenes around to your heart's content, and add sound.
  • Edit the video clips. Use iMovie to organize and edit your clips, and to trim unwanted parts at the beginnings and endings (but make sure you don't lose any important sounds by trimming). You can edit the scenes in the timeline viewer and synchronize the audio to the video. Import photos from iPhoto or create still images from video scenes to mix in with your movie. Find out how to do tight editing and how to establish a shot and create cutaways and cut-ins to make your movie more effective and interesting to watch.
  • Add special video effects and documentary-style effects for photos. You can spiff up your video with visual effects like Lens Flare, Aged Film, Letterbox, and Electricity. Want to sprinkle a glittering trail of fairy dust over a festive scene? iMovie lets you do that, and you can even decide at which point in the frame you want to use it. iMovie also enables you to add haunting visual effects, such as fog and ghost trails, to your movies in seconds. You can bring your photos from iPhoto to life with professional documentary-style impact, using pan and zoom effects.
  • Arrange the video clips in a sequence using a timeline, adding transitions between scenes. Use iMovie to flow from scene to scene just right. iMovie offers smooth transitions to make your video look professional.
  • Edit the sound. Video includes sound, and you can add even more sound to your movie in the following ways:

• Use one of the included sound effects to augment the sound from the video.

• Add a musical track from a CD, from your own iTunes library, or from a song you created in GarageBand and exported to your iTunes library. You may want to fade music behind the sound from the video and use it for transitions.

• Record your own voiceover. You can use iMovie to record directly into an audio track.

  • Add titles and credits. When you're done editing, you can add text as end credits, rolling commentary, or opening titles. You can choose from several styles and customize the text color and font.
  • Save the final version and make copies. You can copy your movie to digital videotape (such as the cassette used in your camcorder) or save it as a QuickTime file for publishing on the Web and distributing by CD-ROM or other methods. You can send the movie over to iDVD to create a DVD with menus and everything that can play on any DVD player. You can even copy the movie to conventional videotape, all with no loss in quality, because the information is in digital form.

Don't let the reduced image quality of Web video keep you from publishing videos on the Web. Even though image quality suffers when you shrink movies to put them on the Internet, video is a very effective medium for communicating your message.

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