Knight Digital Media Center Multimedia Training

Tutorial: iMovie

By Paul Grabowicz, Ellen Seidler, Pamela Reynolds

For updates and discussion on this tutorial, visit:
http://kdmc.berkeley.edu/tutorials/imovie/

Introduction

iMovie is a simple, easy to use video editing program that comes free with the Apple operating system (it has no Windows PC version).

Despite its simplicity, iMovie offers many of the same features - dropping clips on a time line, cropping them, adding transitions between clips, etc. - as more advanced video editing programs like FinalCut Pro or Premiere.

Before you start iMovie, if you want to import or capture video off your digital video camera, you first need to connect your camera to the computer, so iMovie will detect the camera and allow you to start capturing video clips.

Connecting the Video Camera to the Computer

To capture video off your digital camera you need to connect it to the computer with a cable - usually a 6 pin to 4 pin Firewire cable.

Firewire is the standard for Apple computers and a firewire port is built into each one. It also is used by Windows PC computers to do video capture, although in some cases you'll have to purchase a firewire card to insert into an expansion slot in your PC to create a firewire port.

You connect the 6 pin end of the cable to the firewire port in the back of your computer. Then connect the other 4 pin end to the firewire jack in your digital video camera.

On the Sony TRV900 and TRV11, the firewire jack is on the right front side of the camera under the gray flap. It's the jack for DV in/out and has an icon of an I next to it.

Then turn on the camera and put the mini-DV tape from which you want to capture video into the camera. Set the camera to VTR/VCR or playback mode,

When you launch iMovie it now will detect the camera and allow you to control playing of your mini-DV tape using your computer monitor, including selecting clips to capture.

Starting iMovie

Launch iMovie by clicking on the iMovie icon in the Apple menu or dock.

You'll get a prompt asking you if you want to open an existing project or create a new one. A project is a file you create on the computer to store the video you capture and then edit.

In this case since we're importing video for the first time, click on Create Project.

Give your project a name and store it on your computer's hard drive or on a portable firewire drive (you should set up a special folder on your hard drive to keep your projects).

The main iMovie screen now will appear on your computer.

The screen is divided into three areas:

Using iMovie to Play Video on Your Camera

With your camera attached to the computer via a Firewire cable, you need to set the blue Mode Switch on the left just below the Monitor section of the screen to connect iMovie to your video camera.

Click on the tiny camera icon on the left to set the switch to the DV mode and connect to the camera.

The other mode to the right is for editing clips (the scissors icon).

Now you can control your camera by clicking on the five buttons at the bottom of the Monitor screen.

These buttons will change depending on whether you are viewing video that is still in the camera (when the Mode Switch is set to DV - the camera icon), or video from the Shelf or Viewer (when the Mode Switch is set to Edit - the scissors icon).

The main buttons in DV Mode for importing video from the camera are, from left to right:

The main buttons in Edit Mode are, from left to right:

Shortcut for Playing in Edit Mode - rather than clicking on the Play button, you can simply press the spacebar on your keyboard to play the video, and press the spacebar again to stop the video.

In Edit Mode you also can move to a particular point in your video by clicking on the blue scrubber bar that is at the bottom of the Monitor screen and just above the control buttons.

When you click on a clip, it will be displayed in the Monitor screen, and a playhead, a tiny gray triangle, will appear on the scrubber bar just below the Monitor. You then can click and drag the triangular playhead to the right or the left to move the clip forward or rewind it.

Experiment at this point with the control buttons and the playhead/scrubber bar, moving back and forth between the video clips on your tape until you get the hang of using the control buttons, the spacebar and the playhead to start and stop playing of the clips.

Capturing Video

To capture a video clip - that is to download a segment of the video you have on your mini-DV tape onto the computer and store it there - you first should use the VCR-like control buttons to go to a point about three seconds before the beginning of the video segment you want to capture and stop there.

Then click on the Play button to begin playing the video.

Now click on the large Import button just above the Play button to begin capturing the video at that point.

The video you are capturing will play in the Monitor area and you'll also see an icon representing your captured video clip appear in the Shelf area to the right.

When you've captured all of this video clip that you want, click on the Import button again to stop the capture.

And stop the video by clicking on the Play button (or click on the Stop or Pause buttons).

You can then repeat this process and capture another clip by using the Play/Rewind/Fast Forward buttons to move to another segment of your video you want to capture.

At a point several seconds before that video clip, again start to play the video and then push the Import button. A new icon will appear in the Shelf area to the right for this second clip that you've captured. Cick on Import and then the Play button when you're done capturing this second clip.

Note: While you're capturing video, if there's a logical break in the footage - such as when you stopped recording with the camera off after shooting one scene and then turned record back on again to shoot a new scene - iMovie will automatically split that video into two clips in the Shelf area.

Creating a Movie

After you've captured the video clips you want to use, you need to assemble them into a movie.

Dog thumbnail iMovie exampleTo do that, drag one of the clips from the Shelf area in the upper right of your screen down to the Viewer area. The icon for the clip will appear in the Viewer.

Note: this will move the clip from the Shelf to the Viewer, and you will no longer have a copy of the original clip on the Shelf. That means if you make editing changes to the clip in the Viewer and then decide you don't like the changes you made, you won't be able to retrieve the original clip without going back and capturing it again off your camera.

So you might want to copy, rather than move, clips from the Shelf to the Viewer, leaving a copy of the original clip on the Shelf in case you need it. To do that, follow the procedure above for moving a clip, but hold down the Option key while dragging the clip. The icon for the clip will appear in the Viewer, but the original clip will be preserved on the Shelf.

Note: On the Mac, Option+drag always means "copy rather than move" -- this trick is handy when managing files in the Finder, copying selected regions in Photoshop, and more.

Now repeat the process for other clips, dragging them down from the Shelf to the Viewer. You should try to do this roughly in the order in which you want your clips to appear in your movie, although you can move them around in the Viewer if you want to change the order.

You can view the clips you've dropped into the Viewer in two ways:

You can play one clip in the Monitor window by clicking on it - its background will turn blue - and then clicking on the play button above (or pressing the space bar on your keyboard). To stop playing, click again on the Play button (or press the space bar).

You can view two or more clips by clicking on each one while holding down the Shift key - the borders around the selected clips will turn blue - and then clicking on the Play button in the Monitor window.

If you want to play all the clips, click anywhere outside the Viewer so that no clips are selected, then click the Play button (or press the space bar).

You also can use the Scroll Bar below the Timeline Viewer to scroll to different points in your movie.

And you can use the Zoom tool at the bottom left to zoom in on a particular clip by dragging it to the right. Or you can zoom out to see more of your movie clips by dragging the tool to the left.

Note: when clicking on clips to play them or to edit the video, you probably should uncheck the Edit Volume box at the bottom below the Viewer. Otherwise you may accidentally add audio editing points on a clip when you click on it, and thus could change the volume of the clip at those points.

Cropping a Video Clip

You can select only a portion of a clip that you actually want to play in your movie by cropping it - shortening it either at the beginning or at the end or both - and deleting the unwanted portions of the clip.

Note: If you make a mistake while editing a clip, just press the Apple/Cmd key and Z, or in the menu at the top of the screen select Edit...Undo, and you'll undo your previous move. You can undo the previous 10 steps.

Note: This is not an iMovie-specific trick. Cmd-Z always means Undo in Macintosh applications. On Windows, Ctrl-Z does the same thing.

To crop a clip, first make sure the Mode button on the left is in editing mode by clicking on the icon on the right that looks like a pair of scissors.

Now select a clip in your Viewer by clicking on it.

Notice that a blue scrubber bar appears just below the Monitor area where the clip is displayed. And on the top of the scrubber bar is a small gray inverted triangle, marking a point in the clip. This triangle is called the Playhead.

If you pass your mouse over the scrubber bar, you'll see two tiny triangles appear on the far left that are called crop markers. These are what you use to crop your video.

Click on the right crop marker triangle and drag it to the point where you want the clip to stop. The Playhead also will move to that point in your timeline.

Now click on the left crop marker triangle and drag it to the point where you want your clip to start. Again the playhead will move to that point.

You'll notice that the color of the video track above changes from blue to yellow as you drag. This yellow part is the part of the clip that you're saving.

Now in the menu at the top of the screen select Edit...Crop.

The blue parts of your clip on either end will be deleted and will disappear (this is another good reason for copying your clips into the Timeline Viewer instead of just moving them there, so you still have the original clip intact on the Shelf.)

Also notice that any clips that are on either side of the clip you cropped also have moved in to butt up against the cropped clip and preserve a continuous timeline.

Deleting or Clearing the Middle of a Clip

You can delete a portion of a clip, such as the middle of it, that you don't want to use in your movie by clearing a segment of it anywhere in the clip.

Click on the clip to display it in the Monitor window.

Then click in the scrubber bar on the right crop marker triangle and drag it to the end point of the portion of the clip you want to delete. The Playhead triangle will move to that point in your timeline.

Now click on the left crop marker triangle and drag it to the beginning point of the portion of the clip you want to delete. Again the Playhead will move to that point.

You'll notice that the color of the video track above changes from blue to yellow as you drag. This yellow part is the portion of the clip that you want to delete.

Now in the menu at the top of the screen select Edit...Clear.

The yellow part of your clip will be deleted and will disappear.

The remaining blue parts of the clip will snap together to preserve a continuous timeline.

in the Viewer Timeline these two clip segments will be designated as two separate clips.

For example, if you take out the middle of Clip No. 1, then the beginning section of the clip you preserveed will still be named Clip No. 1, but the ending section of the preserved clip will be renamed Clip No. 1/1.

Splitting and Deleting Part of a Clip

You can split a clip into two separate segments, and then delete one of the segments.

Select the clip in the Viewer to display it in the Monitor.

Click on the point where you want to divide the clip. The Playhead triangle will move to that point in your timeline.

Now in the menu at the top of the screen select Edit...Split Video Clip at Playhead.

The clip splits into two clips in the Timeline. If it's Clip. No. 1, it will split into Clip No. 1 and Clip No. 1/1.

Now in the Timeline select the clip you want to delete, and either press the delete key on your keyboard or in the menu at the top of the screen select Edit...Cut.

Note: You can also use this method of splitting a clip to insert a transition in the middle of a clip or add a title to only a portion of a clip. Or you can use this method to split a clip in two so you can move one segment to another section of your movie.

Grabbing Frames from a Video Clip

If you want to grab a single frame from your video to use as a still photo (in order to use the picture on a Web page, for example), move the Playhead to the frame you want to select.

In the menu at the top of the screen, select File...Save Frame As...

In the dialog box that comes up, type in a name for the frame and select the folder into which you want to save it.

From the Format picklist, choose jpeg.

Then click on Save.

Still Frames

If you want to use a single frame from a video clip in your movie - in effect freezing the motion on a particular image as your movie plays - you can grab a still frame from a clip.

To do that, move the Playhead to the frame you want to use. Then in the menu at the top select Edit...Create Still Frame.

The still frame will appear on the Shelf. By default, iMovie will create a still frame that is 5 seconds in duration (in other words, the same frame or picture will be displayed for 5 seconds in a movie).

Drag the still frame from the Shelf to the Viewer just as you would a video clip to add it to the Timeline. Once in the Timeline, you can change the duration of the still frame by editing it with the crop markers, just as you would edit a video clip.

Adjusting Audio

You can adjust the overall volume of the audio in a video clip. Or you can make the audio level change many times within a single clip.

First check the Edit Volume box at the bottom below the Timeline.

Then click on a clip in the Timeline to highlight it.

Make sure the audio sound box to the far right of the track for the clip is checked (the sound boxes are underneath a tiny speaker icon). An unchecked sound box mutes the audio.

And make sure the sound level bar to the right of the Play button is dragged far enough to the right so you can hear the audio (this bar only ajusts the playback volume of the sound you hear in the computer, not the audio level of the clip itself).

To change the overall audio level of the clip, click on the audio volume slider tool in the lower right below the Viewer.

Drag your mouse to the left to reduce the audio or to the right to increase the audio. Notice that a thin purple horizontal line on the clip shifts up or down as you adjust the audio.

You also can use this purple horizontal line to adjust the audio to different levels at different places within a clip.

Click on the purple horizontal line at any point and drag the line up to increase the audio from that point on, or drag the line down to decrease the audio. A small circle will be inserted on the line at the point you click on it.

Then click on the purple horizontal line at another point on the clip and again drag the audio level up or down from that point on.

In professional audio editing applications, this process is called "editing the envelope."

If you want to clear a point at which you've adjusted the audio, click on the small circle for that point, and in the menu at the top select Edit...Clear.

Separating the Audio Track from the Video

When you drag a clip from the Shelf into the Viewer, the video and audio appear as a single track in the Viewer. But you can extract the audio from the video, creating separate tracks for each.

You would do this if you want to use the video in a clip but with some different audio, such as voice-over narration describing the video.

Or you would do this if you just want the audio from a clip and don't need the video.

Thus if you want to add voice-over narration to a video clip, you could record the narration using the microphone in a video camera, with the lens cap on. Then capture the narration clip in iMovie, move the clip to the Timeline, and extract the audio. Delete the blank video track and drag the audio track to accompany some other video in the Timeline.

To separate the audio from the video, select the clip in the Viewer.

Then in the menu at the top select Advanced...Extract Audio.

In the Viewer Timeline display, you'll see that the audio is separated out and appears as a distinct audio track just below the video track (if your audio was recorded in stereo, then it will appear as two tracks of audio on the Timeline).

You now can move the audio track separately from the video by clicking on the audio and dragging it to the left or right along the Timeline.

You also can edit the audio track to eliminate some of it. Click on the audio clip and move the Playhead to a point in the audio track. Then in the menu at the top select Edit...Split Selected Audio Clip at Playhead. Now click on the segment of audio you don't want and press the Delete key on your keyboard to eliminate it. Repeat the process to edit other segments of the audio.

And you can change the audio levels on the clip just as you would if it were still part of the video clip, by manipulating the purple audio level line.

Or you can highlight the entire audio track for the clip and press the Delete key on your keyboard to eliminate the entire audio portion of the clip (or similarly you can highlight the video track and use the Delete key to eliminate it and only preserve the audio.)

Adding Transitions Between Video Clips

To add a transition from one clip to another, first move the Playhead to the point between two clips on the Timeine.

Then click on the Trans button in the button bar at the bottom of the Shelf area on the right.

Screen shot of transitions in iMovieIn the window that appears, you'll see a box listing the different types of transitions (each of which has a blue icon).

Select the transition you want, such as a Cross Dissolve. A preview of the transition will play when you click on it so you can see how one clip fades into the next clip using this particular transition. Or you can click on the Preview button to see the clips with the transition play in the Monitor to the left.

You can also adjust the speed of the transition - how quickly one clip will transform into the next - by dragging the button on the Speed slider bar. Drag to the left to make the transition faster, to the right to make the transition slower.

For some transitions, you also can use the little wheel to adjust the direction of a particular transition (click on the Push transition, for example, to see how you can adjust the direction of the transition using the wheel).

When you're done with your selections, click on the blue icon for your transition, drag it down to the Viewer and position it between the two clips where you want to create a transition (such as where you placed the Playhead above). Release it and you'll notice that a blue transition clip has appeared in the Viewer between your two video clips.

You'll also see a red line appear under the clip, with the red area moving slowly to the right. When transitions are added, the affected video must be regenerated, or rendered.

This red line shows the progress of the rendering process. It may take a few moments for the rendering to complete (particularly if you selected a long transition between clips, which will take a longer time to render).

When the rendering is done, you can move the Playhead to the first clip, click outside of the Viewer Timeline and then click on the play button to see your movie play, with the first clip now transitioning into the next.

You add additional transitions between other clips in the same way.

To remove a transition, simply click on it and press the delete key on your keyboard.

Adding Titles to Video Clips

Titles are a way to add short descriptive text to a video clip, such as the name of a person who is speaking on a clip.

Screen shot of iMovie title windowTo add a title, in the Viewer click on the clip to which you want to add a title.

Then click on the Title button in the button bar at the bottom of the Shelf area on the right.

In the window that appears, you'll see a box listing the different types of titles (each of which has a blue icon).

Select the title you want, such as a Subtitle...Subtitle. A preview of the title will be displayed when you click on it so you can see how it will appear on your clip.

Now type the words for your title into the top line of the field at the bottom of the window. For many titles you also can type in a subhead in the next field below.

Next select the font style for your title in the drop-down menu on the left that lists the available fonts.

Then select the size of the words in your title by dragging the button on the title size slider just below. Drag the bar to the left for a small title or to the right for a large title.

Each time you make a selection your video clip with the new title will play in the preview pane. Or you can click on the Preview button to see the clip and title play in the Monitor to the left.

You also can click on the box next to the word Color and use the color palette to pick a color for your title.

If you want your title to appear on a black background, rather than superimposed over the video, click on the small box next to the words Over Black.

And if you plan to export your clips as a QuickTime movie, you can check the small box next to QT Margins to ensure the title fits in the margins of the QuickTime movie.

You can adjust the speed or duration of the title by dragging the blue button in the sliding Speed bar near the top. Drag to the left to shorten the duration of the time your title will appear on a clip, or to the right to increase the duration of the title.

For some titles, you also can use the little wheel to adjust the direction from which a particular title appears on the screen (click on the Wipe title, for example, to see how you can adjust the direction of the title using the wheel).

When you're done with your selections, click on the blue icon for your title, drag it down to the Viewer area and position it just before the clip where you want the title to begin. Release it and you'll notice that a blue title clip has appeared in the Viewer. This is the portion of your video clip on which the title will appear. The remainder of the video, on which the title doesn't appear, has been split into a second clip.

You'll also see a red line appear under the clip, with the red area moving slowly to the right. When titles are added, the affected video must be regenerated, or rendered.

This red line shows the progress of the rendering process. It may take a few moments for the rendering to complete (particularly if you selected a long title between clips, which will take a longer time to render).

When the rendering is done, you can move the Playhead to the beginning of the clip and then click on the play button to see your movie play, with the title now displayed on the clip.

You add additional transitions between other clips in the same way.

Note: you will not be able to drag a title to the beginning of a clip if you've already inserted a transition there from the previous clip. To add a title to a clip after a transition, you need to split the clip in two.

To do that, move the Playhead to a point just to the right of the end of the transition. Then in the menu at the top select Edit...Split Video Clip at Playhead. That will split off a second clip right after the transition.

Now you can drag a title down and insert it just before the newly created second clip.

To remove a title, click on the clip that contains the title and in the menu at the top select Edit...Clear. That will eliminate the title but won't affect the underlying video.

Special Effects

You can add special effects to a video clip, such as adjusting the brightness or contrast, skewing the color scheme, or making the clip just black and white or sepia in color tone.

To add special effects, first select a clip in the Viewer area.

Screen shot of iMovie window special effectsThen click on the Effects button in the button bar at the bottom of the Shelf area on the right.

In the window that appears, you'll see a box listing special effects (each of which has a blue icon).

Select a special effect you want, such as Black and White. A preview of the effect will play when you click on it so you can see how it changes the clip. Or you can click on the Preview button to see the clip with the effect play in the Monitor to the left.

If you want the effect to fade in after your clip begins to play, drag the blue button in the Effect In slider bar to the right to adjust the timing.

If you want the effect to fade out before the end of your clip, drag the blue button in the Effect Out slider bar to the left to adjust the timing.

On some clips you can adjust the intensity or other aspects of the effect using the slider bars at the bottom of the window.

To apply the special effect to the clip, click on the Apply button.

You'll also see a red line appear under the clip, with the red area moving slowly to the right. When effects are added, the affected video must be regenerated, or rendered.

This red line shows the progress of the rendering process. It may take a few moments for the rendering to complete (particularly if you selected a fancy effect for the clip, which will take a longer time to render).

When the rendering is done, you can move the Playhead to the beginning of the clip and then click on the play button to see your movie play, with the effect now applied to the clip.

You add additional effect to other clips in the same way.

To remove an effect, click on the clip that contains the effect and in the menu at the top select Edit...Clear. That will eliminate the effect and restore the clip to its original appearance.

Adding Photos with the Ken Burns Effect

You can add photos to a movie, and use iMovie to create special effects for the photos.

One popular special effect is to pan across a photo or zoom in and out of a photo as it plays in your movie. This is known as the "Ken Burns effect," after the filmmaker who frequently used the technique in his documentaries.

First you need to grab a single frame from your video to use as a still photo.

Move the Playhead to the frame you want to select.

In the menu at the top of the screen, select File...Save Frame As...

In the dialog box that comes up, type in a name for the frame and select the folder into which you want to save it.

From the Format picklist, choose jpeg.

Then select the Desktop temporarily to store the file and click on Save.

Now open the iPhoto program and drag the jpeg picture you just created into the iPhoto library.

Note: if you have a photo from some other source, such as a digital still camera, that you want to use in iMovie, just drag it into your iPhoto library. It just has to be in jpeg format (and you can use Photoshop to convert photos to jpeg format).

Now go back into iMovie, and click on the Photo button in the button bar at the bottom of the Shelf area on the right.

You should see a thumbnail of your photo displayed (or click on Photo Library and navigate to a subfolder in your iPhoto library if you put the photo there).

You can adjust the time the still photo will be displayed in your movie with the slider bar that has an icon of a hare on one end for a quick clip of your photo clip, and a tortoise on the other for a longer photo clip.

You also can zoom in or out in the photo with the zoom control just above.

When you have the photo set the way you want it, click on it and drag it down into the video track on your Viewer Timeline.

You then can edit it as you would a normal video clip.

Ken Burns Effect

To add the pan or zoom to your photo clip, select the picture in the iMovie photo library and check the box at the top labeled Ken Burns Effect.

To apply a zoom, check the Start button and then use the Zoom slider bar to zoom in or out on the photo to the desired view.

Then check the Finish button, and use the Zoom slider bar to zoom in or out on the photo to a new view.

The photo then will open at the first zoom view, and gradually change to the second zoom view.

To apply a pan, check the Start button and move your mouse cursor over the Preview screen in the upper right until your cursor turns into a hand icon. Click and hold down on your mouse and you can move the photo from left to right or up and down to center it at a new point.

Then check the Finish button, and again move your mouse cursor over the Preview screen in the upper right until your cursor turns into a hand icon. Click and hold down on your mouse and you can move the photo from left to right or up and down to center it at a second point.

The photo will open centered at the first point you set and gradually shift to being centered at the second point you set.

You also can combine zooms and pans so you start out with a full view of a photo, for example, and then zoom in on one element in the photo.

Finally, you can adjust the time the photo will be displayed in your movie with the slider bar that has an icon of a hare on one end for a quick clip of your photo clip, and a tortoise on the other for a longer photo clip.

When you have the photo set the way you want it, click on it and drag it down into the video track on your Viewer Timeline.

You'll also see a red line appear under the clip, with the red area moving slowly to the right. When an effect is added, the affected video must be regenerated, or rendered.

This red line shows the progress of the rendering process. It may take a few moments for the rendering to complete.

When the rendering is done, you can move the Playhead to the beginning of the clip and then click on the play button to see your photo clip play, with the Ken Burns Effect now applied to the clip.

You then can edit it as you would a normal video clip.

Adding Sound Effects or Sound Recording to a Video Clip

You can add special sound effects to a clip from a pre-selected list of common sound effects that iMovie provides. Or you can record sound on you computer and add that directly to the iMovie Viewer Timeline as an audio clip.

Sound Effects

Sound effects window in iMovieTo add sound effects, click on the Audio button in the button bar at the bottom of the Shelf area on the right.

In the window that appears, you'll see a box listing different sound effects(each of which has a blue icon).

Select a sound effect you want, such as Standard Sound Effects...Hard Rain, and then click on the large play arrow below to hear the sound effect.

To add the sound effect to the Viewer Timeline, click on the blue icon for the sound effect you want, hold down your mouse button, drag the sound effect down to the Viewer Timeline and position it in the audio tracks below the clip to which you want to add it. Release your mouse button.

The audio will be added as a new audio track for your clip.

(you also can add the sound effect by positioning the Playhead in the Timeline Viewer at a point where you want the sound effect to begin, and then selecting the blue icon for the sound effect and clicking on the Place at Playhead button)

You now can move the Playhead in the Timeline Viewer to the beginning of the sound effect audio clip and click on the Play button to see your movie play with the sound effect added to the video.

Each sound effect has a pre-set duration, but once it's in the Timeline Viewer you can edit the audio clip to eliminate some of it. Click on the audio clip and move the Playhead to a point in the audio track. Then in the menu at the top select Edit...Split Selected Audio Clip at Playhead. Now click on the segment of audio you don't want and press the Delete key on your keyboard to eliminate it. Repeat the process to edit other segments of the audio.

You also can change the audio levels within a sound effect audio clip just as you would with any other audio clip (or audio that is embedded in a video clip). See the section on Adjusting Audio.

If you want to remove the sound effect, click on the audio clip to highlight it and press the Delete key on your keyboard.

Recording Audio into iMovie

if you have a built-in microphone for your computer or a separate microphone you can plug into the audio input jack on your computer, you can use the Audio section of iMovie to record sound, such as narration, to add to your movie. The sound will be added directly to an audio track in the Timeline as you record.

To do this, connect your microphone into the computer (or just use a built-in microphone if your computer has one). Notice that the level of the sound picked up by the microphone is displayed in a bar just below the Place at Playhead button.

Position the Playhead at a point on your Timeline where you want to insert the audio.

Press the red record button to the right to begin recording.

A new audio clip will appear on one of the audio tracks in iMovie, with the sound you're recording automatically inserted into that clip. The clip will continue to increase in size as long as you're recording.

To stop recording, press the red record button again.

You then can change the audio levels of our recorded clip just as you would with any other audio clip (or audio that is embedded in a video clip). See the section on Adjusting Audio.

Importing Audio

You can use iMovie to import audio you have created or audio tracks from a CD to accompany your video.

One form of audio would be simple narration - recording your voice reading a script to play with a video clip or a sequence of video clips.

Recording Audio on a Digital Video Camera

You can do this with a digital video camera - putting the lens cap on and then using the built-in microphone or an attached handheld microphone to record your voice narration. Then you can import the blank video and the audio track by connecting your camera to your computer and capturing the entire video/audio clip in iMovie, and then separating it into a separate blank video track and a separate audio track (and simply deleting the former, leaving only the audio track).

Recording Audio on Your Computer

Or you can record your audio narration through a microphone attached to your computer and import that directly into your iMovie.

To do that, in the Viewer area click on the point in your movie where you want to add the audio.

Then click on the Audio button in the button bar at the bottom of the Shelf area on the right.

Now click on the red record button to the right, and begin speaking into the microphone on your computer.

When you're done, click on the Stop button.

Recording Audio on a Mini-Disc Recorder

You also can use a mini-disc recorder to record your narration and transfer the audio to your computer using an audio editing program like ProTools. In these cases you'll create an audio file on your computer that you then can import into iMovie.

To do that, in the Viewer area click on the point in your movie where you want to add the audio.

Screen shot of file import menuThen select File...Import in the menu at the top of iMovie.

Locate the audio clip on your computer and iMovie will import the audio.

You'll see your narration added as a second audio track in the Timeline Viewer area.

Importing Music from a CD

Finally, you can import music from a CD.

To do that, in the Viewer area click on the point in your movie where you want to add the audio.

Then select File...Import in the menu at the top of iMovie.

Locate the audio clip on your computer and iMovie will import the music audio.

You'll see your audio added as a second audio track in the Timeline Viewer area.

In all these cases, you then can edit the audio, such as increasing or decreasing the volume.

Exporting Your Video

When your movie is complete, you'll want to export it as a compressed QuickTime movie for use on the Web. See the tutorial Exporting Video for the Web.

About this Tutorial

This tutorial is based on lectures Ellen Seidler gave in multimedia skills classes at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. It was written by Paul Grabowicz and edited and illustrated by Pamela Reynolds.

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