How to Trim iMovie Video Project Clips in iLife ’11

By Tony Bove

Most of the work of producing a video consists of editing the project clips to make them more interesting or more effective at communicating. You may want to “tighten up” the project clips in iMovie so that they start and stop at exactly the right moments or remove unwanted beginnings or endings. The following commands and techniques are handy to know as you trim clips in iLife:

  • To quickly trim a project clip, select the frame range of the video in the clip you want to keep and then choose Clip→Trim to Selection.

  • If you trimmed too much at the end and want just a few frames of it back, choose Clip→Trim Clip End→Move Right or press Option-right arrow to add more frames at the end from the source clip.

  • If you trimmed too much from the beginning, choose Clip→Trim Clip End→Move Left, or press Option-Left arrow, to add more frames at the beginning from the source clip. As you add frames, they appear outside the selected frame range (at either the beginning or end).

  • To see the entire clip while trimming, select the project clip and choose Window→Clip Trimmer (or click the Gear icon pop-up menu at the beginning of the clip and choose Clip Trimmer from the menu). The Clip Trimmer appears below the Project and Viewer panes, temporarily replacing the Event Library and Event Browser. The Clip Trimmer shows the entire source clip, with the selected portion for the project clip highlighted. Drag the start-point or end-point selection handles to trim the selection for the project clip. To be more precise, click near the start point or end point and then press Option-left arrow or Option-right arrow to move the start point or end point frame by frame.

    Trim a project clip in the Clip Trimmer.
    Trim a project clip in the Clip Trimmer.
  • To preview the newly trimmed project clip before leaving the Clip Trimmer, click the Play button in the upper right corner of the Clip Trimmer. When you’re finished trimming, click Done.