iMovie '09 (1): Starting Up and Clip Imports
As with other parts of iLife I use, iMovie opens with a video tutorial to explain the basic steps and get a new user started. This can be dismissed, but I found this one particularly useful as I am not a frequent user of movie applications.
Sources for iMovie may be a camera with clips in memory, imported clips, or other media. Attaching a movie camera will open iMovie, or it may be started from the Desktop.
The main panel which is always displayed has two major sections: the project at the top of the screen and the media panels below; these can be swapped round using a switch button between the panes. A number of other control buttons are displayed between the two panels. To the far left is a camera icon that controls import of clips from camera. Alongside this and the switch icon, is a slider that adjusts the size of clips: both imported and project selections.
As well as the camera, card or other media imports, it is also possible to import video directly using the installed iSight camera using the "Camera Import" button. A selector in the panel that is opened allows imports from any camera attached and iSight is part of most Macs.
Clips from some older cameras may not be imported effectively and may need converting before they work properly in iMovie. Those that do work are DV, AIC, Motion-JPEG, Photo-JPEG, plus supported profiles of MPEG-4 or H.264 video along with supported audio compression formats. I found this information in the Apple forums.
When a clip is highlighted, four buttons in the centre which are normally greyed out, become active. These are for adding the selection to the movie project, marking the clip (perhaps for later consideration), unmarking a clip and rejecting a clip which deletes it from the import window. This may be undone via the Edit menu (or Command + Z).
Beside the microphone icon is an icon that allows us to adjust the clip itself by rotating or cropping. Fitting is also available here which makes sure the entire clip fills the frame for a better finished product. Alongside the Crop icon is the icon for the Inspector which I will examine next time along with the additional media that iMovie can access.
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