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Importing Video Into Imovie

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By griffinta
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Ed Malinowski 11/10/10 Process Essay Importing video into iMovie

There are many different video-editing computer programs out there ranging from amateur to professional. Their level of complexity is usually reflected in the price. But I have found, for my simple needs, that nothing beats the interface of iMovie 2. Even though the program came out nearly ten years ago, it still offers a streamlined performance that remains compatible with popular movie formats in use today. I am still able to import video, if it can play in QuickTime, edit it, import and add up to two audio tracks, add transitions to video, edit audio, fade in or out, and export the completed movie into many different formats. I will explain how I do it so that if you’re interested, you can do it too.
First you need a few materials. Naturally, you need a Macintosh computer running at least Mac OS 9. If you’ve bought a Mac in the last ten years, it’ll probably be 9 or higher anyway. Next, you need the program iMovie 2. I bought the disc secondhand off of ebay for only ten dollars, but you may be able to find it available as freeware online. Next, you need to also have QuickTime 7 Pro, also available free with serial numbers online. Finally, you need a movie file and an audio file. It’s not important what format, with the exception of Windows Media Video/Audio, as they’re all convertible with QuickTime.
For my video, I’m going to look to youtube. After finding a video I like, in this case, a video of a babbling brook, I’m going to use savetube.com to download it. That’s a process in it of itself, so I’m going to recommend you find a video online that’s in .avi, .mov, .mpg, or .mp4 format. Try to keep it to a few minutes in length. My video is four minutes and already has a musical soundtrack that will need to be muted.
First things first, I need to convert the video. So open it with QuickTime Pro. Go to File and Export or ‘command E’. Now you must choose where to save the file and what format. Select “Movie to DV Stream.” Once completed your movie’s name will have a “.dv” suffix. Now you’re ready to open iMovie.
Once open, it will ask if you want to create a new project. Click “OK” and name the project/folder. This is where all the media files will be stored from no on. Still in iMovie, go to File and choose Import file or ‘command I.’ Now find the movie file that ends with “.dv” and click import. This may take a minute. Next, the clip will show up on the right side of your screen under “Clips.” Drag the clip from there to the timeline on the bottom of your screen. If you don’t see a timeline, click the clock tab in the lower left, then try again. Then you should see the clip selected on the timeline. You’ll know when it’s selected because it will turn yellow. But before we edit the video, let’s import some audio.
The proper format for audio is “AIFF.” If yours is an MP3, you’ll need to convert it with QuickTime again. It’s the same process as video conversion (command E), except you’ll choose AIFF this time. Now your song’s name will have a “.aif” suffix. For my soundtrack, I chose Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, op.46 otherwise known as “Morning.”
So I imported it in iMovie(Command I) and now it’s on the timeline below the clip.(Timeline 2). But as I said before, my clip has a soundtrack already. Since I don’t want the two songs to clash, I’ll select my video clip (yellow) and in the lower right side of the screen, there’s a volume display with “Fade In” and “Fade Out” on either side. So let’s lower the volume completely. Now my video has no sound effects though. So I must now import the sound of a flowing stream onto the third timeline. That’s set, but my song’s length is way too long for the video.
So I must now select the audio on “timeline 2.” It will turn a dark purple when selected. On both ends of it are arrows. I must click on the end arrow on the right and drag it closer to where the video’s timeline ends. Now press ‘Command K’ to crop off the excess audio you don’t need.
Everything should line up now. So press play and preview it. The sound begins and ends too abruptly. It’s an easy fix. Double-click the song timeline (#2) and check the boxes in the lower right; “Fade In” and “Fade Out.” Now the sound’s perfect.
But the video is also too abrupt so select the video timeline and click on the “Transitions” tab next to “Clips.” Find “Fade In” and drag it onto the beginning of the yellow video timeline. It will render that transition for about ten seconds. Now repeat this with “Fade Out” on the end of the timeline. Your movie is done.
But you must export it. Press ‘Command E’ and a window will pop up. Select “To QuickTime” and “Full Quality.” Next, they’ll ask you to title the saved file. I’ll call mine “Serenity.” Now I have something to watch when I get too stressed out. I’ll post it on youtube so that I can access it from anywhere. I hope you’ve found this process easy to follow and I look forward to seeing many more creative amateur movies online.

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