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Add Clips to the Timeline

We like to keep the original clips unaltered in the Clips Pane, then copy and paste segments into the Timeline (instead of dragging trimmed or cropped clips straight from the Clips Pane to the Timeline). This makes it easy to go back to the original, unaltered clips.

To copy and paste a clip

  1. Select a clip so it appears in the Monitor.
  2. Use the crop markers to select a range of frames that you want to add to the movie Timeline.
  3. Press Command C to copy the video selection.
  4. Click in the Timeline to select it.
  5. Press Command V to paste the video selection into the Timeline:

    If a clip of video in the Timeline is selected (highlighted in blue), the new video is pasted to the right of that selected clip.

    If a clip is not selected in the Timeline, the new video is pasted at the position of the Playhead. If the Playhead happens to be in the middle of an existing clip, the pasted video splits the existing clip.

To use the Monitor to trim or crop a clip that's already in the Timeline

After you've made a “rough cut” of your movie, you might need to fine-tune the duration of clips that are in the Timeline so you can sync with the beat of an imported soundtrack, or just to change the pacing of the movie.

  1. Click on a single clip in the Timeline so it shows in the Monitor.
  2. Use the crop markers beneath the Monitor's Scrubber Bar to select a range of frames in the clip.
  3. To crop the clip (remove everything in the clip except the selected frames), go to the Edit menu and choose “Crop.”
  4. To trim the clip (remove the selected frames), use the crop markers beneath the Scrubber Bar to make a selection of frames, then press the Delete key.

To trim clips directly in the Timeline

After you've made a rough cut of your movie, you'll may want to trim a little more footage from some of the clips in your movie. An easy way to trim a clip (remove footage from the beginning or end of the clip) is to do it directly in the Timeline: drag an edge of the clip towards the center of the clip.

Before you trim a clip in the Timeline, go to the View menu and make sure the “Show Clip Volume Levels” option is not selected. A clip volume level shows in the Timeline as a horizontal black line in the video track, as shown below. You cannot drag clip edges and trim clips in the Timeline when clip volume levels are shown.

When you position your pointer over the right edge of a clip, the pointer turns into an arrow that indicates which direction you can drag the edge. If the arrow points left, it means you can drag to the left to shorten the video clip. If the arrow points left and right, it means the video clip was previously trimmed; you can drag the edge to the right to recover the trimmed frames.

When you position your pointer over the left edge of a clip, the pointer turns into an arrow pointing right, meaning you can shorten the clip by dragging the edge to the right. If the arrow also points left, there are hidden frames of video to the left that you can recover by dragging the clip's edge to the left.

Notice that complete clips (clips that haven't been trimmed or cropped) have rounded edges in the Timeline. When you trim frames from one or both edges, the clip corners are square instead of rounded.

Recover deleted footage from a cropped or trimmed clip

Because iMovie uses non-destructive editing technology, you can recover footage that has been trimmed or cropped.

  • Select a clip. From the Advanced menu choose “Revert Clip to Original.”

    (If a selected clip has not been previously trimmed or cropped, the command “Revert to Original” is dimmed.)

    If the selected clip is in the Timeline, the clip width expands to show the extended duration created by adding video frames that had been trimmed or cropped previously.

    If the selected clip is in the Timeline, the duration numbers in the upper-left corner of the clip change to show the addition of recovered footage that had been trimmed or cropped.

Notice the edges of the clips in the Timeline. Complete clips (untrimmed and uncropped) have round--cornered edges. When frames have been trimmed or cropped from one or both sides of a clip, the edge of that clip has square corners. See the illustration on the previous page.

Keep track of your Trash

The Trash icon in the bottom-right corner of the window tells you how much data you've deleted from your project. You may want to leave the data there in case you need to recover some of it later. Empty the Trash to make more disk space available for your project—see page 139 for information about how to preview, recover, or empty the Trash.

Choose a Timeline View

There are two editing views available in iMovie: the Clip View and the Timeline View. Both of these views show all the clips that you've added to your movie Timeline, with a few differences. When you place a clip in one of the views, it also appears in the other view. To switch between the two views, click the view buttons.

Click the left view button (the film frame icon) to show the Clip View (below). Clips are shown as large thumbnails, making it easy to identify clips by their content or name. In this view you can drag a clip to another position in the Timeline to rearrange the order of clips.

Click the right view button (the clock icon) to show the Timeline View (below). This view is more versatile than the Clip View. It shows two audio tracks in addition to the video track. In this view you can rearrange clips, edit the volume of clips, turn a track's audio on or off, trim clips, split video clips, and more. This is the view in which most of your edtiting takes place.

About the Timeline

Use the Timeline to arrange the order of clips, add transitions between clips, add effects, create titles, and add extra audio to your movie. The Timeline is where you spend most of your time, so let's look at more Timeline details.

Add clips to the Timeline

  • Drag clips directly from the Clips Pane to the Timeline.
  • Or (as explained on page 142) copy clips or segments of clips and paste them into the Timeline.

    To copy and paste an entire clip from the Clips Pane, select the clip and press Command C (copy). Position the Playhead in the Timeline where you want to paste the clip, and press Command V (paste). The clip is now in the Timeline, yet still accessible in the Clips Pane.

Rearrange clips in the Timeline

  1. In either Clip View or Timeline View, select a clip in the Timeline.
  2. Press and drag the clip to a new position in the Timeline.

If the position to which you want to move the clip is too far down the Timeline to drag, use this procedure:

  1. Select the clip you want to move.
  2. Press Command X to cut it from its current position in the Timeline.
  3. Drag the horizontal scroll bar to the right until you can see where you want to paste the clip you're moving.
  4. Place the Playhead exactly where you want to paste the clip, then press Command V.

    If the Playhead is in the middle of an existing clip, the pasted clip splits the existing clip. If the Playhead is between two clips, all clips to the right of the Playhead move right to make room for the pasted clip.

Return clips to the Clips Pane from the Timeline

You may decide to delete a clip from your movie, but want to keep it somewhere in case you change your mind. If you used the copy and paste technique described on page 142, you can just select the clip in the Timeline and press the Delete key. The original clip is still in the Clips Pane when you need it later. If you originally dragged the clip from the Clips Pane to the Timeline, it's not in the Clips Pane any more. If you delete the clip, it goes to the Trash. You can recover it from the Trash as long as you don't empty the Trash first. But you can also just drag the clip from the Timeline back up to the Clips Pane and drop it there. Now the clip is available if you decide to use it later.

Use the Zoom slider to magnify clips in Timeline View

The Zoom slider resizes clips horizontally in Timeline View. When the Zoom slider is all the way to the left (the lowest zoom level), clips are squeezed horizontally so the entire movie is visible in the Timeline. When the Zoom slider is moved to the right (a magnified zoom level), the clips stretch horizontally and take more space in the Timeline. A higher zoom level can make it easier to place the Playhead exactly where you want, or to work with short clips that may appear tiny in the Timeline.

Renaming clips

When iMovie imports clips to the Clips Pane, it assigns sequential numbers as names—Clip 1, Clip 2, etc. You can rename clips so the name is more descriptive. Sometimes the thumbnail image associated with a video clip is misleading and doesn't really identify the main content of the clip. Or you may want to rename clips to reflect the order in which you plan to place them in the Timeline.

To rename a clip in the Clips Pane

  1. Click on a clip in the Clips Pane to select it. The clip's top and bottom bars turn blue to show that it is selected.
  2. Click on its title in the bottom bar to highlight the text.
  3. Type a new title in place of the highlighted text (shown below).

To rename a clip in the Timeline

  1. Double-click a clip in the Timeline to open the “Clip Info” window shown below.
  2. Type a new name in the “Name” field.
  3. Click the “Set” button.

Get information about clips

The “Clip Info” window (above) also provides other information about a clip, such as the original name (Media file), size, capture date, and duration.

Render clips

When you add transitions to a movie or add effects to clips, iMovie automatically renders them so you can see them. The render progress shows as a red bar moving across the bottom edge of the clip or transition.

Use bookmarks to mark key frames of clips

Place bookmarks to mark key frames in the Timeline where you want to sync an audio track with a video clip, or where you want to trim or place a clip. Press Command B to place a Bookmark at the Playhead position, or from the Markers menu, choose “Add Bookmark.”

See page 180 for more information about bookmarks.

Try this: Place an audio track in the Timeline, then play the track. As the music plays, press Command B at the downbeat of the music. Then adjust the duration of video clips so they start and stop at bookmarks. Preview the movie and watch the scenes change to the beat of the music. Music video! It's easy and it's fun.

Preview the assembled clips

To preview your movie, move the Playhead (the white triangle, circled below) in the Timeline to the beginning of the movie, then click the Play button.

Or click the double arrow button to the left of the Play button to jump to the beginning of the movie.

Notice that if you click on a specific clip in the Timeline, only that clip shows and plays in the Monitor. To load the entire movie into the Monitor, click anywhere except on a clip in the Timeline (click outside of the Timeline or on empty space in one of the audio tracks). Notice that when you click somewhere other than on a specific clip, the Scrubber Bar appears to be divided into many separate segments. Each segment represents a clip in the Timeline. When you see the Scrubber Bar divided like this, it means the entire movie is selected, not just a single clip.

To preview a movie (or selected clips) in full-screen mode, click the button to the right of the Play button. When you preview in full-screen mode, click anywhere on the screen to quit the preview and return to the iMovie window.

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