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iMovie Precision Editor Mastered – Tutorial

Make a subject’s movement flow seamlessly from shot to shot

In TV documentaries people are often introduced with a wide-angle shot of them walking, before cutting to an interview with them. You can use iMovie’s Precision Editor to produce a more dynamic introduction to a person. Start by shooting your subject walking using a conventional wide shot, then get them to repeat their movement and film them from various angles using different shot sizes. You can then take bits from each take and stitch them together. Cutting smoothly between different walking shots can be a challenge, as the movement and position of the subject’s feet needs to match in each shot. We’ll demonstrate how the Precision Editor enables you to fine-tune the edit point until the cut works perfectly.

1: Import assets
Create a new 30fps project and import our five video clips into a new event (available from here). In this tutorial we’ll refer to each shot by its filename (‘Face CU’, ‘Low Angle’ etc).

2: Open Precision Editor
Drag ‘Feet CU’ to the project window. Add ‘Wide Shot’. Go to Window>Precision Editor. Click ‘Show next edit’ button. A blue oval will appear between the two clips.

3: Put your foot down
Drag the ‘Feet CU’ clip to the left to offset it by -0.8s. The girl’s right heel should just start to make contact with the ground.

4: Match foot position
Drag ‘Wide Shot’ left to offset it by 3.4s. In both shots the right foot should be in the same position at the edit point. Scrub in the grey bar to preview the edit.

5: Split clip
Click Done. Go to View>Playhead Info. Scrub forward to 3:11. Right-click and choose Split Clip. Drag the ‘Low Angle’ clip between the gap in the split Wide Shot clip.

6: Fine-tune edit point
Go to Window>Precision Editor. Click ‘Show next edit’ until the first two clips are above the grey bar. Drag the ‘Low Angle’ shot left to offset it by 1:28. Click Done.

7: Look left
In the project window, scrub to 4:28 and split the ‘Low Angle’ clip as the girl looks to her left. Delete the second half of the clip. Place ‘Face CU’ after ‘Low Angle’.

8: Match move
In Precision Editor, click ‘Show next edit’ to view the cut between ‘Low Angle’ and ‘Face CU’. Offset ‘Face CU’ by 0:13 so her head movement is the same in both shots.

9: Final cut
Click ‘Show next edit’ to view the last cut. Drag the ‘Wide Shot’ clip left to offset it by 4:27. This maintains movement continuity between the last two clips.

Click Image to Enlarge