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:

  • At the top right is the Shelf. This is where you'll store clips you've captured from your video camera.
  • At the bottom is the Viewer. This is where you'll arrange your clips into a movie by dragging them down from the Shelf area and then editing them. The viewer has two different display modes:
    • Clip Viewer, which displays icons of each clip.
    • Timeline Viewer, which displays the clips along a horizontal bar that shows you the video and audio tracks for each clip (this is the mode you'll generally use for editing your clips).

      You toggle back and forth between these two views using the switch on the far left just above the Viewer that has icons for a film clip (Clip Viewer) and a clock (Timeline Viewer).
  • At the top left is the Monitor. This is where you use control buttons that resemble the controls on a standard VCR to play your video clips, whether they're still on the camera, captured onto the Shelf area or dragged into the Viewer area.