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iLife '04: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Shortening Clips by Dragging

Almost nobody hits the camcorder’s Record button at the precise instant when the action begins, and then hits the Stop button the instant the action stops. Life is just too unpredictable. That’s why the first thing most people do when they get their clips into a movie is to trim them—to chop the boring parts off the beginning and ending of each clip before dragging them onto the timeline.

In previous versions of iMovie, you trimmed your clips by splitting them apart, by chopping off their ends, or lopping chunks out of the middle. That was OK, but things got messy if you later changed your mind; if, for example, you cut ten seconds off the end and later decided you wanted five of them back.

Those time-honored techniques—and all of their related problems—still work in iMovie 4. They’re described in the following sections.

Most of the time, though, you’ll want to adopt one of iMovie 4’s sweetest new features instead: nondestructive clip trimming. Instead of chopping off the ends of your clips, you can just hide the ends by dragging them inward, as shown in Figure 14-3. (This kind of nondestructive edge-dragging also works with audio clips. It’s a common technique in GarageBand, for instance.)

Tip

Here’s a great way to use this technique. First, play back the sequence. Using the arrow keys, position the Playhead so that it pinpoints the precise frame where you want the clip to end. In other words, you’re using the Playhead to mark the target for the drag-cropping ...

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