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Tutorial: How to speed up your iMovie workflow with keywords

Discover how to automatically assign keywords to clips so that you can find specific video content in the blink of an eye

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When editing an iMovie project you can spend lots of time scrubbing the cursor across hours of unedited clips in the Event browser in an attempt to find a specific scene. But, if the scene was keyworded you would be able to find it in an instant.

In this walkthrough tutorial we’ll show you how to quickly assign keywords to unedited clips using the advanced Keyword Inspector. You’ll then discover how to use the Keyword filter to find specific clips quickly. By getting into the habit of assigning keywords at the start of a project you’ll save yourself loads of time in the editing stage.

1: Import clips

Go to File>New Project. Set the Aspect Ratio to 16:9. Click Create. Go to File>Import>Movies. Import the source files from our disc into a new event called Nature.

2: Advanced tools

Before you can assign keywords to the clips you need to turn on the keyword controls. Go to iMovie>Preferences and tick Show Advanced Tools.

3: Assign keywords

Click the Keywords tool icon (or press K). Click on the Inspector tab. Click on the shot of the dog in the Event browser. Tick Outdoor, Landscape and Pets.

4: Custom keywords

To add a new keyword (like the dog’s name), click in the field at the bottom of the Inspector and type in ‘Heidi’. Click Add to Clip.

5: Playhead Info

Go to View and turn on Playhead Info. A blue line over a clip indicates that keywords have been added. The keywords will appear in the Playhead.

6: Quicker keywording

Click on the Auto-Apply tab. Create a new ‘Birds’ keyword. Tick Birds and Outdoor. Move the cursor over a bird-related clip. A key-shaped icon will appear.

7: Auto assign

Click and drag the keyword icon across a clip to automatically add the two keywords to a particular range. Keyworded sections will contain a blue line.

8: Filter by keyword

Go to Window>Show Keyword Filter. Tick the green icon next to Birds to view the range of clips tagged with that keyword. Tick outdoors and the dog clip will be added.

9: Remove keywords

If you don’t want to see the dog appear in your search results, tick the red icon next to Heidi. Now you can only see outdoor bird shots.

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