The large Project pane at the bottom of the iMovie window is for assembling your movie. By default the Project pane displays clips in a fairly traditional timeline view, rather than wrapping clips through the pane as if they were part of a long ribbon. If you like the ribbon approach, choose View > Wrapping Timeline.
To add an item to the timeline, simply select it (or select a portion of it, in the case of a video clip) and either drag it into place or click the plus (+) button that appears in the bottom-right corner of the selected item. As with the previous version of iMovie, you can shift items in the timeline by selecting and dragging them to a new position.
If clips disappear off the edge of the pane when you look at clips in the traditional timeline view, use the Zoom control in the top-right corner of the pane. Drag it to the left, and preview increments increase—from, say, one thumbnail for every 5 seconds of video to one for every 10 seconds.
Next to the Zoom control is a pop-up menu for adjusting the clip’s height, width, or both. You also have the option of showing or hiding audio waveforms at the bottom of the timeline’s clips. I find it helpful to leave them on, as they provide visual clues about where sound stops and starts; but you can turn the waveforms off if you don’t find them helpful.
At the bottom of the Project pane is a music track area. If you’d like some background sound to accompany your video, just drag a sound file into this area.
The Viewer pane
The Viewer pane appears at the top-right of the iMovie window. When you select a media item in the Browser pane, information about that item will appear in the Viewer. For example, select iPhoto Library in the Library pane followed by an event in the Browser, and in the Viewer you see that event’s main thumbnail image, its date, and the number of photos and video clips it contains. Select a project, and you see the clip’s resolution and length. And if you choose an event, you can scrub through the contents of that event in the Browser and see the results in the Viewer.
Likewise, when you scrub through clips in the Project pane’s timeline, the Viewer displays that content. Select a point in the timeline and hover your cursor over the Viewer, and play controls appear that allow you to navigate through the project using Back and Forward buttons, play or pause the project, and view it in full screen.
iMovie 10 does its best to keep you from turning to menus for common commands by placing those commands in the toolbar at the top of the window. Here you find the following options.
Import: Click this button, and an import window appears. You can use it to navigate to media files that you’d like to import into your project. By default, the imported item is added to the event currently selected in the Libraries pane; but from the pop-up menu that appears at the top of the Import window, you can select a different event or add it to a new event. You’re free to select more than one item. (Any that are incompatible with iMovie are grayed out.) Alternatively, you can drag compatible media files directly into the timeline.
Create: Click Create, and you can create a new movie or a new trailer—a special kind of templated iMovie project that I’ll discuss in another lesson.
Share: iMovie 10 gives you plenty of ways to share your work with others (though there’s no direct export to Apple’s discontinued iDVD application). Click Create and you find these options: ‘Theater’, ‘Email’, ‘iTunes’, ‘YouTube’, ‘FaceBook’, ‘Vimeo’, ‘CNN iReport’, and ‘File’. We’ll talk about sharing in the future.
Library and Theater: iMovie’s default view is Library. Here you view your media assets and work on your projects. Theater is iMovie’s version of Photo Stream. In this case we’re talking about video rather than photos, of course, but it’s the same idea. When you add your finished movies to iMovie Theater, the movies are shared with any compatible Mac or iOS device that has the latest version of iMovie installed and is linked to your Apple ID. (Apple TV also bears an iTunes Theater channel.) iMovie Theater is also a subject for a later time.
Enhance: When talking about iPhoto editing, I explained that application’s Enhance feature. It’s essentially iPhoto’s “I don’t care how you do it, just make this look better” command. iMovie now has the same command. Select a clip in the timeline and click Enhance, and iMovie begins applying various corrections to the clip—perhaps increasing its contrast and pumping up its saturation, for example. You can undo this action by clicking Enhance again.
Adjust: Click Adjust, and a series of buttons appear at the top of the Viewer. They include ‘Color Balance’, ‘Color Correction’, ‘Crop’, ‘Stabilization’, ‘Volume’, ‘Noise Reduction and Equalizer’, ‘Video and Audio Effects’, and ‘Clip Information’. Click any one of them, and options appear below it for adjusting the setting. I think you know by now that we’ll examine these options carefully in a later lesson.
Far more to come
And that’s the lay of the land in iMovie 10. As we move through the next few weeks, we’ll look at importing media; the iMovie workflow; adding effects, transitions, and titles; and sharing the resulting work. There’s a lot to cover, but the results will be worth it.
Next week: Importing media into iMovie 10
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