October 2, 2021
How To Edit Videos on iMovie

How To Edit Videos on iMovie

Apple’s video editing software application, iMovie, let’s you create movie projects, add video clips and images, and fine-tune them on your Mac and all mobile iOS platforms (iPod, iPad, and iPhone). With iMovie, adjusting the sequence of your clips and making them shorter or longer is very easy.

This article will only focus on how to edit videos on iMovie using your Mac. The process is similar on iOS devices, so you can easily follow along if you use an iPhone or other Apple mobile devices.

The Basics

You can create three types of projects when you start iMovie on your Mac. They are found on the top bar and include:

  • Media: This is a library that holds all of the different clips, images, and audio you use to create your videos. Audio tracks are colored green, while photos have a camera icon for ease of identification.
  • Projects: This is the main workspace where you edit, cut, trim, and create your movie.
  • Theater: This part holds your finished projects. You can share your movies from here. You can also play, rename, or delete them.

How to Make a Clip Longer or Shorter

Obviously, the first step in how to edit videos on iMovie is to add photos and video clips to your project’s timeline. The timeline shows your media’s movement from left to right on different tracks for audio and visuals (videos and photos).

Tip: Always start recording early and finish late when you make videos to capture all the action. You can cut off the excess length later.

clip longer or shorter screenshot
Image source: Apple Support

To edit the length of your clip:

  1. Open your movie project and, using the mouse, move the vertical line (play head) on the timeline to the spot you want to edit.
    • You can zoom in on the clip to see more detail to allow you to find the exact location to edit. Press Command and plus (+) sign on the keyboard or choose View > Zoom In to zoom in on the clip.
  2. Move the mouse pointer over the video clip in the timeline that you want to edit until the pointer turns into the clip trim tool.
clip trim tool screenshot
Image source: Apple Support
  • Click and drag the edge of the video clip toward its center to make the clip shorter.
  • Click and drag the edge of the video clip away from its center to make the clip longer.

Keep in mind that you can’t drag the edge of a clip if there is no extra footage at the end or beginning. For instance, you can’t make a 10 second video clip longer than 10 seconds.

How to Add or Remove Frames Using Clip Trimmer

Apple’s iMovie lets you add or remove individual frames from your video for more precise editing. To do this:

  1. Select the clip to be trimmed in the timeline.
  2. Choose Window > Show Clip Trimmer to make the video clip appear in the clip trimmer.
  3. Move the pointer over the selected clip that appears between the two white lines until the clip trimmer tool appears.
  4. Drag the portion of the clip to the left or right to create an unused portion where you can add new frames.
  5. Press the Return key on the keyboard to close the clip trimmer.

How to Split a Clip

Sometimes, you want to adjust a section of a video clip or remove unwanted parts. The easiest way to do this is to split the clip into two and make each section longer or shorter or delete the part you don’t want. You can even add different titles to each of the sections.

To do split a video clip:

  1. Move the play head (vertical line) to the position on the timeline where you want to split the video. Zoom in (Command and plus sign on the keyboard or View > Zoom In) if you want to get a better view.
  2. Press Command and B on the keyboard or choose Modify > Split Clip to split the clip.
  3. Alternatively, you can simply hover over the video clip and right-click on the exact moment you want to split, and then select Split Clip from the right-click menu.
  4. Now, go ahead and press the delete key on the keyboard to remove the portion you don’t want or follow the steps to make the individual clips longer or shorter. You can also add transitions between split clips.

Tip: You can edit audio clips using the same steps. The sound is represented graphically on the timeline, and you can use the setting slider to zoom in and out of the audio clip. This will allow you to trim out sounds you don’t want to be included in the final project. For example, you can cut out questions you have asked someone in an interview so that only the person’s responses will be in the finished project.

How to Change Clip Sequence

Your movie project is made up of different video clips arranged in sequence. But you can change when a particular clip shows up in your movie. After all, it is your movie, and you can edit it any way you like!

To do this:

  1. Open your project and click on the particular video clip in the timeline that you want to change its sequence.
  2. Drag the video clip to the right if you want it to appear later in the movie.
  3. Drag the video clip to the left if you want it to appear earlier in the movie.

But what if you want to move more than one video clip at once? Of course, doing that one after the other is a huge waste of time. To select and move multiple clips at the same time:

  1. Press down the Command key while you click on the individual clips you want to rearrange. You can also hold the Shift key as you select the clips or drag a selection rectangle around all the clips.
  2. Drag the selected clips to a different location (left or right) in the timeline.

While we are on the subject of how to edit videos on iMovie, you can check out this post if you are new to video editing and would like to learn more about some of the easiest editing software for a YouTube video.