Creating Movies on the Macintosh
Macintosh computers come with a program called iMovie that can be used to create a wide variety
of movies from digital camcorders and cameras. Here are some steps to get started.
When you open iMovie, you’re presented with this dialog:
Click the button to create a new movie. You’ll be presented with this dialog:
This is asking you to give your movie a name and a place to save the movie. The Macs at SI are set
to automatically save the file to a shared location, so don’t change the location of your file. Do give
the file a name you’ll remember so you can get to it later. Remember that when you plan on
working on your movie again, you’ll have to return to the same computer or you won’t be able
to get to your movie.
Click Create and you’ll be presented with this window.
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To import movie footage from your camcorder, click the left side of the mode switch (with the
camcorder and scissors.)
In this case, the main preview area is showing that there is no camera attached. If you have a
camera attached, you’ll see this view.
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To start importing video, click the import button. As footage is captured, it will show up in the
Clips pane in the upper right corner. To stop importing, click the control under the import button
that looks like a square (the stop button.)
Once you’ve got all of your footage imported, drag the clips from the Clips pane into the timeline
at the bottom of the window.
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You can now play the movie by pressing the triangle (play) button. To stop or pause the video,
press the play button again or press the space bar on your keyboard.
Most clips that are imported will contain extra pieces that you’ll want to remove. To separate the
piece out from the rest of your movie, position the playhead (the upside-down triangle with the
timecode next to it below the Preview pane) where you’d like to split your movie.
Note that there is a timecode next to the playhead. Digital video is captured at 30 frames per
second and iMovie allows you to work directly with the frames. The timecode number reflects the
number of minutes, seconds and frames into the clip or movie at the location of the playhead. In
the view above, we’re at 0 minutes, 1 second and 2 frames. After getting the playhead where you’d
like to split the movie, choose Split Video Clip at Playhead from the Edit menu. Note that you can
also use the key equivalent of Command-t (hold down the * key and type a t) to do the same
thing... you’ll be doing this often, so this is a good key equivalent to remember. See the next page
for the result of splitting the movie at 5 seconds.
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If you’re cutting out a chunk of time in the middle of a movie, you’ll need to also split the video at
the end of the piece you’re trying to remove. Here’s the result of putting another split at 7 seconds
into this movie.
To remove this piece of extra video, drag it back up to the Clips pane just in case you need to refer
back to it or decide to put it back into your production.
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Most projects will require titles somewhere in the video. Titles can be added over the video or can
be placed over a black background.
To add a title over black, like you might at the beginning or end of your movie, click the Editing
button below the Clips pane and then click the Titles button near the top of the pane on the right.
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Make sure that the checkbox for Over Black is selected. Choose a type of title. Our example is
using Rolling Centered Credits to add some credits at the end of our video. To add a credit, click
the plus (+) sign to the left of the list of credits. Once you’ve got all of the credits entered, drag the
icon next to the title type you’ve selected to the Timeline and iMovie will add it to the project.
Drag from here:
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And you’ll get this:
Notice the red stripe at the bottom of the titles right after you’ve dragged it to the Timeline. This
means that iMovie is rendering (creating) the titles in your project. Once it’s finished rendering, the
titles become a little movie clip that can be edited like normal video footage.
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Exporting and saving video to turn in
Once you’ve gotten the movie the way you’d like it, it’s time to export the video to turn it in. Go to
the Share menu and choose QuickTime.
If you have an older version of iMovie at home, this used to be called Export in the File menu, but
it does the same thing.
Once you’ve chosen this option, you’ll see something similar to this:
At SI, the easiest way to do the export is to use QuickTime as all computers on campus can play
QuickTime movies. If it’s not clicked already, click the QuickTime button at the top of the window.
Choose CD-ROM from the pop-down menu so that it looks like the dialog above. Click Share.
You’ll notice that the default location for saving your movie is the Movies folder, but that’s not the
easiest location from which you can retrieve your movie. Click on Movies and choose Desktop to
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save your movie on your Desktop.
The sheet should look like this with the Desktop selected:
Click Save and iMovie will export your movie in QuickTime format.
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For longer movies, it will take a longer time to export. Figure on 2 minutes for every minute in
your movie as the computer has to do a huge amount of work to get the video from DV format to
Once you’ve saved your movie, it will show up on the desktop with the name that you gave it in
the steps above.
Burning Project To CD
To burn your project to a CD, insert a blank CD into the computer. You should see a message like
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Give your disk a name and click OK. The Finder will mount a CD icon on the Desktop. Depending
on how your computer is configured, it may or may not have the “.fpbf” extension on the name of
Drag the file you saved from iMovie onto the CD icon. Once it’s done copying, drag the CD icon to
the trash and you’ll see the trash change to a burn icon. Release the CD icon and you’ll see
something similar to this:
Click Burn. Once it’s done burning the CD, eject the disk and turn it in.
After you’ve burned your CD, PLEASE delete your movie files from the computer so others won’t
run out of disk space.
Burning Project To DVD
The flat panel iMacs on campus have DVD burners built-in. If you’d like to burn a DVD of your
movie, choose iDVD from the Share menu and use iDVD to create menus for your movie.
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We don’t have space here to go through the entire process, but here are the steps to complete a
DVD in iDVD.
1. Choose a theme.
2. Customize with photos or movie footage.
3. Burn the disk.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop by the Tech Center in Room 100 for assistance.
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