iMovie is a media (video, audio and still images) editing program for Macintosh OS X. It is included as part of the iLife suite. With iMovie you may import video from external sources, edit video, add sound, such as background music, add transitions and titles, export clips for use on the Internet, iPods, and also prepare a movie to be burned to DVD using iDVD. External sources include iPhones, iPods, iPads, DV recorders, SD cards and many others. iMovie works together with iDVD, iTunes, and iPhoto to allow users to have very comprehensive media editing options.
When using a computer in an academic lab, you must be aware of specific things when working with iMovie. The files will be too large to save on your home directory so it is recommended that you use an external storage device such as a flash drive, SD card or external hard drive. Please DO NOT save iMovie projects to your home directory or the local storage on the machine.
Starting a Project
To begin working with iMovie you need to change the project directory from the default to your external storage device.
- First locate your external storage device. In this example the external device is a flash drive that's named iMovie Test (underlined in red).
- Right click (control + click also works) and click new project.
iMovie supports a variety of video sources including video captured with iPhone, iPod, and iPad, MPEG-2, MPEG-V, and DV sources amongst others.
- Connect your source to the Mac you're working on.
- Select File (located in the menu bar on the top right portion of the screen) --> Import From Camera if you've connected a camera or iOS device or Import --> Movies for video sources on a flash drive or external hard drive.
- In this example the video sources is an iPhone. By default iMovie has you import ALL movies from your iPhone. You can change this by changing the import settings from Automatic to Manual as indicated in the picture.
- Check the movies you'd like to import and click Import Checked...
- Select the size you'd like to import as.
- IMPORTANT Make sure that you save to your external storage device as indicated in the second photo below. Also make sure Optimize Video is selected.
It is beyond the scope of this article to provide details on how to use iMovie's editing features. Please see the following Apple website: Apple - iMovie
When you're happy with the editing you've done in iMovie there are several options for sharing your work. You can export the project as a .m4v file which can be played in Quicktime and VLC. You can also share your project to a variety of websites including YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and others. To export as a .m4v file follow the steps below:
- Select Share --> Export Movie (located in the top menu bar)
- IMPORTANT click the expander arrow (indicated by the small circle in the photo) to select an export location.
- In the left hand column find your external storage device. In this example it's a flash drive called iMovie Test (indicated by the red arrow in the photo). This is where you should export your movie.
- Give the project a name and select a export quality (in most cases, medium or large will be sufficient) and click export.