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iMovie: Gathering Music, Videos & Pictures

written by: BMeredith•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 8/2/2009

This second part of our iMovie tutorial contains help and information on how to gather and download media into the iMovie platform for the purpose of developing individual projects.

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    Preparing for an iMovie Project

    In creating any project with iMovie there is a certain amount of work that must be done before creating your project can begin. It is always best to make an outline of what you are going to create. This allows you to decide what kinds of media you will need. It can be anything from pictures to music from the Internet, to videos both from the Internet and from your own camera. For this discussion we will focus on music and video downloading and importing.

    The first and easiest method is the direct download from your camera. It is important that you download pictures into the iPhoto platform. The reason here is that when you open iMovie and then click on the camera icon all of the pictures in iPhoto will be available for use in your project. By the same token any picture that you scan or use from the Internet should also be uploaded into the iPhoto software. If this cannot be done directly to iPhoto then create a folder on your desktop and save the pictures to this folder. Then you can go to iPhoto and import the entire file into iPhoto. As you look at the iPhoto content in iMovie you will also see any previous projects you have done. You can cut and edit these as well for use in a new project. Hint; If your Mac has a built in web cam you can go to PhotoBooth and snap your own pictures right where you sit. These are often used for family or more personal projects.

    Movies are much like photos from your camera except they should go automatically to your iMovie software. Again if they do not save them to the desktop and then import them into the iMovie. The way to import video from the Internet is to save it as a Quick Time movie and then go to the File pull down in iMovie to import movie and then click. It will lead you through the steps to import.

    Music can be a simple or creative as you choose to make it. If you download music to your iPod and it is synced to iTunes, when you open iMovie and click on the notes icon you can see all the music in your iTunes library. In addition you will find in this area iMovie elements like iMovie sound effects, iLife sound effects and Podcasts that are part of the iTunes software. In the event you want to create your own music you can do this a multitude of ways of which we will discuss later. However, whatever medium you choose, Audacity, Garage Band etc. your files will need to be in mp3 or wav format in order to import into iMovie.

    The final piece of this discussion is the voice over. This is important to understand in the event you are trying to produce Podcasts for informational or instructional purposes. In iMovie you will find a microphone icon. Once you have selected a clip in your presentation you can click on the microphone and record your voice over which will then play back over the music and clip for a personal touch. If you do not have a built in microphone on your Mac I recommend the Apple Snowball omni directional mic, which will plug into your headphone jack or audio jack on the side of your Mac. Another method for voice over is the use of Audacity. This is a free piece of software that you can download to your desk top. You can make your recording and then export it as an MP3 file into iMovie. Then you can place it where you want within your presentation. Hint; in doing voiceovers it is always wise to write down what you are going to say before recording.

    This may seem like a lot of prep work but in the end it will make creating your presentation so much smoother. Now we are ready to do some basic creation and editing and putting all of this information into motion.