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iMovie: Getting Started

Additional Resources

There are many resources available to help you learn and work with iMovie. Below are some of the resources we recommed that provide complete overviews of iMovie, its features and tools, as well as step-by-step tutorials of the application.

What's in this guide?

Getting Started

  •    iMovie Overview
  •    Before You Begin
  •    iMovie Interface
  •    What's in this Guide?
  •    Additional Resources
  •    Guide Contributors

New Project

  •    Before You Begin
  •    Setting Preferences
  •    Creating a New Event
  •    Creating a New Project

Import Video

  •    Preparation
  •    Importing (from DV and miniDV tapes)
  •    Importing (using camera or SD card)
  •    Importing (using flash drive, external hard drive, or other storage device)

Edit Clips

  • Selecting, Moving, and Trimming Clips
  • Clip, Video, and Audio Adjustments

Add Media

  •    Adding Audio & Music
  •    Adding Images

Text, Transitions & Animation

  •    Adding Text Slides
  •    Adding a Transition
  •    Adding Animations 

 Saving, Moving & Exporting

  •    Preparation
  •    Export Master (Highest Quality - DVDs)
  •    Export H.264 (Compressed Quality - Streaming, YouTube)

Using iDVD

  •    Creating a New Project
  •    DVD Settings
  •    Burn DVD  

iMovie Overview

What is iMovie?

iMovie is a video editing application that is part of the iLife Suite, which is available for only Macintosh computers.

It allows users to quickly and easily record/capture/import clips, edit footage, and export.

iMovie is an introductory video editing application, yet still includes many additional features such as ready-to-use themes, transitions, and slides to help make your video look polished and professional.


iMovie is compatible with other Apple applications such as iDVD, iPhoto, iTunes, and QuickTime Pro. 

Note: iMovie ‘11 projects are mostly compatible with Final Cut Pro 7 and Final Cut Pro X, but not vice versa.  iMovie ‘11 projects can be imported into Final Cut Pro 7 and then into Adobe Premiere Pro, but not vice versa.

Before You Begin

  • Keep in mind that files saved on a university computer are not safe from deletion.  It is highly recommended to have an external hard drive or other device in which to store all your files.  External hard drives are available for purchase at the Computer Showcase.
  • It is recommended that you work on your project from your external hard drive.
  • iMovie ‘11 natively supports uncompressed SD and HDV, uncompressed HD, RAW camera formats, Panasonic P2, DVCPRO HD, and Sony XDCAM HD.
  • There is no manual save feature in iMovie ‘11; everything is saved automatically to your specified locations when you create a new project and event.
  • Learn more about iMovie ’11 by using the tutorials at  Learn everything you need to know about iMovie ‘11 by using the tutorials at on any designated library computer.

iMovie Interface

Guide Contributors

Special Thanks To:

University of Michigan

Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library for creating and sharing this guide

Stephen Ratkovich
Isabel Talsma

For their wonderful contributions and hard work!