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How to use iMovie’s Precision Editor to get better video cuts

Create seamless action sequences by cutting on the move with the Precision Editor in iMovie

MainWhen recording an event it can look a bit boring if the action unfolds as a single shot. Experienced filmmakers will change the camera position and vary the shot size to create a more interesting-looking sequence. To make multiple clips look like part of a single sequence you need the action to flow smoothly from one shot to the next. iMovie’s Precision Editor enables you to do just that.

To demonstrate the power of the Precision Editor we captured several shots of a woman bouncing on a trampoline. Because this type of subject features repetitive movements you can make separate shots flow as if they were captured by multiple cameras in real time. Once the action flows you can fine-tune the Precision Editor to cut (or dissolve) earlier or later.


Step 1

1 Import clips

Click the Create button. Click the Movie icon. Double-click No Theme and label it Action movie. Click OK. Click Import Media. Browse to select our two source clips. Click Import All.

Step 2

2 Trim the clips

Select and add the wide shot to the Timeline. Place the close-up clip after the wide shot. Trim three seconds from the end of the wide shot. Trim 3.9 seconds from the start of the close-up.

Step 3

3 Continuity of movement

Choose Window>Show Precision Editor. Slide the top clip until the girl’s bottom hits the trampoline. Drag the lower clip so that the trampoline begins to deform a frame later.

Step 4

4 Adjust the transition

The cut occurs as she hits the trampoline. By dragging the circular grey edit point left by -0.2s, the continuity is preserved but we cut earlier in the action. Click Close Precision Editor.

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