Warp time in iMovie

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If you work with iMovie much at all, you’re probably familiar with the keyboard shortcuts for quickly jumping through your project—Shift and the Left or Right arrow keys will move the pointer on your timeline backwards or forwards, 10 frames at a time. These are very useful shortcuts for navigating large projects—quick enough that you don’t spend all day moving about, yet slow enough that you can still get a sense for what portion of the project you’re currently viewing.

The only downside of this method is that you don’t see live video (or hear any audio). Instead, the timeline marker simply moves in 10-frame increments, and then displays the frame at the new location. But what if you want to watch some (or all) of your project, complete with audio…but do so in less time than would otherwise be required? In other words, you’d like to see a quick “proof viewing” that shows all titles, effects, audio, and video footage, but in less time than required to play the project at normal speed. Well, thanks to a couple of undocumented iMovie keyboard shortcuts, you can do just that.

Position the timeline marker where you’d like to start viewing your project, then press the ‘]’ key. Playback will start, although the timeline marker will not move. You’ll hear sped-up audio as your video plays back at roughly twice normal speed. For even more fun, try the ‘[’ key instead. Now your project will play backwards, also at twice normal speed—complete with audio, though you’ll be hard pressed to understand it (unless your project includes some special tracks ).

To end the high-speed playback, you can either press the same activation key again, or just press the space bar. Because the timeline indicator doesn’t move in this playback mode, it’s not useful at all for navigating your project. But it can definitely save you some time in the review stage.

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