Editing Material From the Camcorder

The material Christopher shot is in iMovie for you already. If this were your own material, and you were going to make a log sheet for your videotape (described in Lesson 7), a good time to do it would be while you imported material into iMovie.

Once you've imported the video, you can turn your attention to the kinds of coverage that you'll be editing.

Setting Up the Basic Structure

In this case, we'll look at Christopher's footage, which focuses on four of the girls at the partyour "characters." Since you'll be watching their individual coverage as well as their interactions, it's practical to refer to each of them by name.

Here are our characters:






Open the Start_Project10 project from the Start_Project10 iMovie folder (in the Lesson10 folder).

By now you're familiar with iMovie and will notice there is one clip in the Clip pane.

Why only one clip? Didn't Christopher get a lot of shots? Yesbut as you learned in Lesson 7, iMovie gives you the option to break up material into discrete clips in the Clip pane based on the camera's starting and stopping points. In prior lessons, you saw the clips already broken into shots in the pane. But you also have the option of not breaking up material in that way; it isn't always helpful (as with the time-lapse video in Lesson 6)and it may be misleading.

As your skills increase, you won't need to rely on stopping and starting the camera to distinguish between shots. For instance, if you zoom from a wide shot to a close-up and then quickly move the camera to get a cutaway shot, all without stopping the camera, iMovie will see these continuously recorded but discrete shots as a single clip. If it gave you only one clip in the pane for these shots, you might inadvertently miss part of the coverage.

Consequently, before he imported this video, Christopher disabled the preference (iMovie > Preferences > Import) that tells iMovie to separate clips while it places them in the Clip pane:

In this lesson, you'll approach the video the way it is on the videotapeand move through the "single" clip, getting the pieces you need (to start with).


This clip is only 3½ minutes long and is pulled from the 10 minutes or so that Christopher actually shot at the partya necessary practicality. This makes the video easier to work with in this lesson, but it deprives you of all the coverage Christopher gathered for himself and slightly limits what you can build from this material.


Begin by watching the entire clip: Click the clip in the Clip pane and watch it in the Viewer, making mental notes about the coverage and which shots have a relationship to other shots.

One of the most important ways to get the best cut of something through editing is by being exceptionally familiar with the material you're using. Moments as short as 1 second are sometimes remarkably valuable when it comes time to solve a problem during editing. Fast-forward through your raw videotapes, and you'll often miss important shots. The only way you'll be able to use these is if you notice them, so it's a good idea to watch the raw material at least twice before you make any cuts.

The sound of the girls talking (the production sound) is really hard to hear, and consequently it's practically useless, as you might expect. When you watch the video, it's good to notice when you see people speaking, but don't be concerned with what they're saying. In a video like this, instead of dialogue you'll end up using background music (making a kind of music video) or a narration track (as you did in Lesson 8), which parallels but does not synchronize with the video. Either way, the actual words spoken are relatively unimportant.

Time to make your first cutbut where to start? Since you can add shots anywhere to the sequence at any time, there's no need at this point to focus on what you think might be the first shot. Instead, just start working with shots as they show up on the tape, in the order in which things were shot. You can decide on the order in which to place them as you build your sequence.

The first shot on the tape is of Alisonit starts as a medium shot and then zooms quickly to a close-up.


Cut 3 or 4 seconds of the medium shot and the close-up, and put them in the workspace.

Your goal is to find moments where the camera is steady and there is no zooming.

If you aren't already in it, switch the workspace to Clip view.

If you can't remember how to chop up these bits using Command-T and drag them to the workspace, review those skills in Lesson 6 or Lesson 7.


Continue working through the material of each girl, adding a medium shot (MS) and then a close-up (CU), until you have a series of shots of each of the four girls painting.

Your sequence workspace will look something like this:

You've created a little mess in the Clip panemostly trimmed bits you don't need, and one large piece that is still untouched. That's OK; it's a different kind of workspace. You may move shots back and forth from the Clip pane to the timeline in Clip view and sometimes back to the Clip pane. In the same way that you can rearrange shots in the timeline, you can pull out shots while you work.

It's a good time to change the names of the shots in your workspace. iMovie defaults to some pretty cryptic names. Finding material and working with shots is easier if the names are useful.


Click the first shot in your sequence workspace (which highlights the shot), click the name of the shot, and change it. Use the naming methods you learned in Lesson 9. You can also double-click the clip to bring up the Clip Info window and change the name there.

This first shot is a medium shot of Alison.


Proceed through all the shots in the timeline and rename them as follows:

This is a good start, but remember that the order in which you shoot has little to do with the order in which you will place the shots. Feel free to play through the sequence. The current organization of shots is a little dull.


Try rearranging these shots by dragging the clips to new positions in the timeline.

Without the addition of any new material, the same bunch of video can become something like this:

After this quick adjustment, the editing is beginning to create some feelings in the audience as they pick up on dynamics between the girls. The sequence begins with a medium shot of Jessica (the birthday girl), and in the same frame we can see that Rachel, on the right edge, is speaking to Chloe, who is off camera. Jessica is keeping an eye on their discussion. In the next shot, we see Rachel painting and speaking to Chloe, whom we can't see. Next the audience needs to see Chloe, who up to this point has been participating but hasn't appeared in the frame. And thus, we then cut to the MS Chloe shot.

The characters' eyes drive the direction of the edits. (An audience tends to want to see the things the characters are looking at.) Since this is a dynamic conversationwe can't really hear what they're talking about, but we can tell they're interactinglet's go back to Jessica, this time for something closer, more personal, more intense. It might have been too much to start with that intensity, but now that we've looked around, it's OK.

Again, Jessica is watching Rachel and Chloe. So we move on to Rachel painting in close-up, and then Chloe returning the looks. If there is back and forth between characters, it's often good to keep the characters the same size in the frame in shots edited together (keeping close shots cutting to close, or medium cutting to medium); this provides a good visual and emotional balance for the viewer. When you "punch in" to a close-up, you want to do it for a good reason (and not just because you have a close-up shot).

But what about Alison? Through the whole dialogue, Alison is hard at work painting on her own and is not participating in the conversation. The medium shot of her depicts this. In truth, the close-up of Alison is superfluous.


Drag the last shot, CU Alison, back to the Clip pane.

You may want it later, but you don't need it now.


When you want to play the sequence, it's generally easiest to pop back to Timeline view and drag the playhead to the point from which you want to start watching. Clip view is good for rearranging shots and seeing at a glance what material is present, but ultimately you will go back and forth in your workspace view while editing.

Adding Other Types of Shots

Now the stage is set for moving on, digging further into the material on the "tape" (in the Clip pane). Don't worry yet about the length of these shotsthey may be a tiny bit too short or too long, but you can trim them later. For now it's important to pay attention to the structure.


If the shots in the Clip pane get confusing, you can label the clips or delete the bits you are confident you don't need, or you can do some of both. Be sure to keep an eye on the big piecealmost everything here is a few seconds long, but one clip is more than 2 minutes long. Get familiar with looking at the durations of the clips to help orient yourself as to what is what. Bits of video you delete go in the Trash in iMovieas long as you don't empty the Trash, it's possible to restore the deleted pieces.


Go back to the big hunk of video in the Clip pane that you haven't worked on yet.

The next shot you come to as you play it is a close-up of some hands. It's a cutaway shot.


Cut out about 3 seconds of this shot and use it in the sequence.

Once it's cut, the question is where to put it. It doesn't make sense to drop it at the end of the sequence. This is a close-up of Jessica painting; it could go between a shot of Jessica and one of another girl, or you could break one of the shots of Jessica in two and drop it between them. Based on watching what is going on in each of Jessica's shots, it makes good sense to place it between the close-up shots.


Drag the cutaway shot to after the CU Jessica shot.

It makes sense here, as Jessica looks down in the close-up shot right before we move to the cutaway. If she were already looking up at Rachel at the end of the close-up, it might not work as well. It also fits nicely because when the sequence cuts to Rachel, she's painting, too.

After the cutaway of Jessica painting is one of Rachel painting.


Clip out another few seconds of Rachel's cutaway shot from the big piece in the Clip pane and place it in the sequence after the medium shot of Rachel.

Placing the shot here not only makes logical sense (we just saw Rachel painting, and now we can see more detail of what she is doing), but it also helps the pacing. It now takes a moment longer before Chloe responds to Rachel, so you begin to feel that they aren't having just a conversation, but one that's punctuated by painting and watching each other paint.

There's one more nice cutawaya top-down shot (a shot taken from overhead) of Chloe working on her cow picture. It begins with Chloe looking toward Rachel and ends with her looking down. The ideal now is to find a point that connects with these moments in the sequence you've built.


Play the sequence and look for a good place to put the cutaway of Chloe.

What you'll notice is that all the shots of Chloe begin with her looking up toward Rachel and end with her looking down at her plate. Consequently, the choice may be to place the cutaway after either the medium shot or the close-up of Chloe, and then trim the cutaway shot so that it begins after she looks down.


Insert Chloe's cutaway after the close-up.


Change to Timeline view and, using the Trim tool, shorten Chloe's cutaway shot to begin after she looks down.

Before shortening the clip

After shortening the clip

Now the cutaway is much too short.


Use the Trim tool again, this time on the tail end of the cutaway shot, to add more time. Keep an eye on the shot in the Viewer window to make sure you're adding the material you want to add.

This is pretty good. It's far more interesting to watch than the raw material, particularly now that the order has been changed. Remember that all the material for this short sequence was made from one shot of each girl, with a little zoom to create two bits of coverage per position. Add to that a tiny bit of cutaway detail, and the result is a rather compelling (and maybe emotionally realistic) 39-second scene.


For the sake of this lesson, spend a moment cleaning up the Clip pane. Selecting shots and pressing Delete on your keyboard, delete the trimmings that you aren't using, leaving only the CU Alison shot that we specifically placed here and the balance of the source material.


When you delete shots, they go into the Trash at the bottom of the windowyou'll notice that the number of megabytes grows as you throw out more material. iMovie will keep shots here until you empty the Trash. Unless you are out of space on your Mac, don't empty the Trash until you're done with your project, just in case you toss something you shouldn't.

More detailed trimming will be appropriate once you've completed a first pass of the whole scene. Then you can balance the length of the shots with each other and make the pacing feel inviting. But for now, the first part of this sequence is done, and it's time to move on to the next bit of coverage.

Apple Training Series iLife '06
Apple Training Series: iLife 06
ISBN: 0321421647
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 142
Authors: Michael Rubin

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