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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Create a Cutaway Project

Difficulty level: Easy

A common video editing technique is to cut between scenes while a consistent section of audio plays. For example, someone is being interviewed, and while you listen to them describe a place they visited, the image switches to video of that place. That clip is called a cutaway, and it's easy to create in iMovie. Cutaways are also frequently used as a clever way to hide visual flubs: If you're watching an interview and the camera cuts to the interviewer asking a question, chances are the subject being interviewed had to scratch his or her nose or take a drink of water just then.

Add the cutaway clip

If you've used a video editor such as Final Cut Express, you may miss the capability to overlay clips on multiple video tracks. iMovie offers just one video track—or does it? Although it's not immediately obvious, iMovie does support a second video track for things like cutaways and picture-in-picture effects. That makes implementing a scene like this vastly easier than chopping clips and inserting other clips to accomplish the same task.

Adding a cutaway

  1. In the Event browser, select a section of clip you want to use as the cutaway.
  2. Drag the selection to the spot in your movie where the cutaway begins, dropping it directly onto the clip.
  3. From the pop-up menu that appears, choose Cutaway (Figure 4.21).

    Figure 4.21

    Figure 4.21 Adding a cutaway

    The cutaway appears above the main video track. A shaded area indicates video is hidden in favor of the cutaway clip (Figure 4.22).

    Figure 4.22

    Figure 4.22 The cutaway in the project

    The advantage to this approach is that you can reposition or trim the cutaway clip without having to touch the base video clip at all. And because the cutaway is just a regular video clip, you can perform other edits and effects on it.

Edit the cutaway clip settings

You can also edit a couple of attributes that are specific to cutaway clips: whether it appears suddenly or with a fade-in (and disappears with a fade-out), and the opacity of the clip.

Applying a fade transition to a cutaway

  1. Double-click a cutaway clip, or select it and press the I key, to bring up the Clip inspector.
  2. Change the Cutaway Fade setting to Manual, and optionally change the duration of the fade (Figure 4.23). This setting applies to the start and end of the clip, and your only option is to fade the clip; you can't choose other transition styles.
    Figure 4.23

    Figure 4.23 Cutaway-specific settings

Changing the clip's opacity

In the Clip inspector, drag the Opacity slider to adjust how transparent the clip appears (perfect for scenes of ghostly apparitions).

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