iMovie is Apple's free video editing software that you can use to cut and edit videos, music, and graphics without changing any of the original files. It is only available for Apple products, either MacOS or iOS.  To download the program, see here.  This article will walk through the basics of using iMovie on a Mac, so to learn about iMovie for iOS, see here.  For more detailed information about using iMovie for Mac, see the Apple guide here.

Getting Started with iMovie

To create a video, you first need to create a movie project. By default, there’s no predefined theme with a Movie project (versus a Trailer), which is why it is recommended for general projects.

  1. Go to the Projects tab, which is located at the top of the window.
  2. Click on the Create New icon.

  3. Under the dropdown menu, click Movie.

Important: iMovie saves automatically as you work on a movie project; you don’t have to save as you go.

iMovie Workspace Layout

On the top left is the Media section, where all imported media will appear.  On the top right is the Preview Monitor, which is where you can view the videos.  On the bottom is the Timeline, which is where you will add and edit your media to create your project.

 Naming Your Project

  1. From within your project, click at the top of the screen. A screen will pop up to name your project.
  2. Enter the project name.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Then double-click on your movie project to get back in.

Importing Media

Once you’ve created a new project, you need to import your media for your video.

1. Click the import button or press ⌘ I.

2. Select the video and audio clips you want to edit and click Import Selected. You can also import pictures.

Editing Your Project

The editing process is where you cut and trim video clips and add any music and titles.

  1. Drag a clip into the Timeline

  2. Adjust and trim video clips by dragging the edges.  To split a clip into two smaller clips at the location of the playhead, press ⌘ B.  To remove an item from the time, click on the clip, then press Delete

  3. Add audio by dragging an audio clip underneath the videos in the timeline.  You can edit the audio in the same ways you edit video clips.  If you don't want to import audio, iMovie also has a selection of music and sound effects, which can be found under the Audio tab.

  4. To see how the edits look, press the Spacebar to play the video from the playhead.

Adding Transitions

  1. Click the Transitions tab at the top of the window.

  2. Click and drag a transition that you want to use into the timeline between two video clips.

  3. Edit the length of the transition double-clicking on it within the timeline.

Adding Titles

  1. Click on the Titles tab at the top of the window.

  2. Drag the Title template into the timeline above the video clip if you would like it to play with the video or drag it in front of or behind the clip to have it play as its own (for example, to create a title or credits screen for your video).

  3. Edit the text as desired.
  4. Edit the length of the title the same way that you edit the video clips (click and drag to lengthen or shorten).

Exporting Your Project

  1. Before you publish the project, preview it in the Preview Monitor by pressing the Play icon.  This way you can check for any issues that you would like to edit before publishing.
  2. When you are ready to export, click the export button in the upper right corner to open the drop-down menu.

  3. Click File, which will open a new window. This will export the video to your computer, which you can then share on whichever platform you would like.  You can edit the settings of your video export.  When you are ready, click Next.

  4. In the new window, you can edit the title of your video and select a save location.  When you are ready, click Save. iMovie will then begin exporting your video, which will take some time. Do not close iMovie while it is exporting.