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How To Use iMovie - Preparations

written by: BMeredith•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 8/3/2009

This is a series of articles which include basic understanding as it relates to using iMovie. Articles will include video, music, photo and image gathering along with basic editing and sharing projects as podcasts, on You Tube and in other presentation mediums.

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    iMovie Basics? Understanding The Template

    So you have a new Mac and on it you have iMovie. If your Mac is like most it will include the following software which can all be integrated into the iMovie experience. Those pieces include Garage Band, iTunes, iPhoto, and iDVD. You should also get, if you do not have it already, Audacity (which is a free audio recording software) and Quick Time Player. Seems like a lot but together we will journey through how to use each of these to create professional looking podcasts or You Tube moments. First, lets get familiar with a few iMovie basics.

    It all begins by opening iMovie, which you should find on your dock whose default position is usually along the bottom of your screen. If it is not there open up the Macintosh HD, go to applications and find the iMovie logo. You can click on this and drag it straight to your dock where it will remain for future use. Putting it on your dock is much cleaner looking than as a shortcut on the desktop.

    Double click on the icon which should open up your iMovie. You will probably be greeted with a separate welcome screen that will encourage you to go to the Help pull down on the menu bar at the top of iMovie and in all honesty there are some very helpful tutorials here. If you uncheck the box in the bottom left corner, the welcome window will stop opening every time you boot up the iMovie.

    So let's get down to basics. The menu bar across the top is similar to every Mac menu bar in that it is your guide for opening, creating and sharing your iMovie creations. I would suggest you go through each of the pull downs and familiarize yourself with the different actions. Of special note are the File, Edit and Share pull downs.

    Next we look at the screen itself. The upper left hand corner is where you will drag all the different media to create your project. You will see five different panes and as you will see later you can put several different types of media in these panes.

    The lower left section is where your projects that are saved are stored. It is your library if you will. At the bottom of this section you will see a star and two play buttons. As you drag the mouse over these there use is self explanatory. If you highlight an event in the library then click on one of those play buttons it will play the selected event either in a pane or full screen.

    To the immediate right is the frame-by-frame view of your project as it develops. This place also allows you to cut and edit videos and pictures for placement in your project. The buttons on top of this display are all self explanatory as you mouse over each icon. Of special note are the music notes, camera, T (text), transitions and the world icon that adds selected backgrounds. I would encourage you to click on these to see what is available in your libraries and how these functions work. They will be important as we move into the next article for downloading and creating our projects.

    In the end knowing this template is essential to navigating and creating the kind of work you desire. The iMovie is a very user-friendly piece of software that can yield professional looking presentations. In this new technology we live in this can be an essential tool for success and can also be a great deal of fun.

How To Use iMovie

A step-by-step tutorial on how to use iMovie. Learn how to import media, create templates, use special effects, and create fantastic digital movies using this fun and powerful program.
  1. How To Use iMovie - Preparations
  2. How To Use iMovie - The Basics