How to Edit a Video

Learning how to edit a video is easier than you might think. With user-friendly editing software included on nearly all Mac and Windows machines, you can quickly stitch together a narrative by dragging clips onto a virtual timeline. Below, we’ve outlined the essential steps you’ll need to cut a video using iMovie. 
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Getting Started
  1. First, let’s go over iMovie’s basic interface. On the left side of the program, you’ll see the Libraries pane, which has shortcuts to all of your video clips, photos, and current projects. Within this pane, there’s also a Content Library at the bottom, and it provides quick access to your transitions, titles, music library, and other media. 

  2. Clicking on a video clip or other file brings up a preview in the Browser pane. There’s also a search bar, so you can look up files by name (or tags) and then see a preview, before deciding whether to use it in your video. Meanwhile, the Viewer pane provides even more information about a media file, including the date, resolution, and length. 

  3. At the bottom of iMovie, you’ll see a long visual timeline called the Project pane. This area is where you’ll assemble clips into a longer sequence, or add an audio track. Just drag the video or audio file where you’d like it to go in the project. 

Importing Video
Before learning how to edit a video, you’ll need some clips to work with. If you have some new footage that you’d like to bring into a project, just click “Import Media” from the File menu. A new Import window will appear. Attached cameras will be listed under the Cameras section — select the device, choose where you’d like the imported media to go (under “Import To”), highlight the clips you want, and then click “Import Selected”. 

You might also have clips on your hard drive that haven’t been loaded into iMovie. It only takes a few seconds to import them. Below the Cameras section, you’ll see sections for Devices and Favorites. The former allows you to search through your hard drive or a USB device, choose media files, and then import them. Meanwhile, Favorites gives you quick shortcuts to your user directory, Desktop, and Movies folder. 

Importing Audio
Using the same Import window, you can add audio files to your iMovie library. Simply click on the Devices section, find the audio files that you’d like to import, and then choose “Import Selected”. You can also select an entire folder and then choose “Import All”. Unlike imported video, your new audio files will appear in the Browser pane with green bars. 

Adding and Editing Clips
We’ve already explained how you can drag media onto the Project pane, but you can also add new clips by selecting them and pressing E (or clicking the Plus button). If you only want to add a certain section of the clip, simply click and drag over the desired area, and then press E. 

Once you’ve added them to the Project, editing clips is just as easy. First, clicking and dragging clips allows you to rearrange them in a new order. To edit a clip’s length, just click on the clip’s edge and drag it in the desired direction. You can shorten or lengthen clips this way. 

Inserting Transitions and Titles
Adding a few well-placed transitions and titles can elevate your video’s production quality, without spending a dime. Transitions can be found within the Content library, and there is a range of tasteful, fun, and tacky styles to choose from. When you select a transition, a preview will play in the Browser pane. If you like what you see, just drag and drop the transition between two clips in the project. 

Titles also have their own section in the Content library. When you’ve found an appropriate title style, you can drop it between two clips, or at the start or end of the movie. Then, double-click on the placeholder title to type in your new text. 

Exporting Your Work
When your masterpiece is complete, just click on the Share window at the top of the screen. You’ll see a list of icons, including Email, iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, and File.
  • Email: Send a smaller version of your video via email. This is great for sharing home movies among family, or getting a marketing video to your client base.
  • iTunes: Choose a size for the movie (up to HD 1080p) and then export it to your iTunes library.
  • YouTube: Export the video directly to your YouTube account, choose who can see it, and then add tags to make it more easily searchable.
  • Facebook: Share the video with friends and family on your social media profile.
  • File: Save a QuickTime version of the video to your hard drive. This can then be used to create an iDVD project.   
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