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iLife Tutorial: Edit with precision in iMovie

Use the power of the Clip Trimmer and the Precision Editor to make action flow smoothly

A skilled video maker can shoot a variety of clips and then cut them together so that they appear to unfold in real-time, even though minutes or even days may have elapsed between each clip. We filmed a horse jumping a fence twice – first in a wide establishing shot and then in a dramatic close-up. Because the shot size changes, we can cut between the clips, making it look like we shot the action with two cameras. This change of shot size also adds variety to the edited production. For the action to flow smoothly it’s essential that the position of the horse is the same in both clips, as we cut from one to the other. The Clip Trimmer and the Precision Editor enable us to fine-tune the cut to perfection.

1: Get started
Go to File>New Project. Choose an aspect ratio of 16:9. Click ‘Create’. Go to File>Import Movies. Browse to the footage from the Issue 90 disc and click ‘Import’.

2: Quick trim
Drag the first two clips into the Project window. Click on the first clip and Window>Clip Trimmer. Drag the yellow handle to make it end at 2:21.

3: In sync
Use the Clip Trimmer to make the second clip begin as the horse lands at 1:10. Play the sequence. It flows smoothly, but the second clip is too short.

4: Precision Editor
Go to Window>Precision Editor. Drag the blue dot left to start the cut nine frames earlier. Slide the cursor along the grey bar to preview the new edit.

5: Maintain continuity
The horse doesn’t jump as high in the second clip, so his legs are behind the fence. Drag the second clip two frames left to reveal his hooves. Click ‘Done’.

6: Sound bridge
Click the second clip. Go to Edit>Mute Clip. Click the first clip. Choose Edit>Detach Audio. Drag the end of the audio clip to extend it over the second shot.

7: Offset cut
Add clips three and four. Go to the Precision Editor (Command+/). Drag the bottom clip left by 1:08 seconds and the top right by -2:03. Click ‘Done’.

8: Detach audio
Use the technique in Step 6 to mute the fourth clip’s audio, then detach and extend the sound from the third clip over the fourth to make the action flow.

9: Cross the line
Add the last clip. In the previous shot the horse moves from left to right. To make it flow in the same direction, use the Flipped Video effect.

Click Image to Enlarge