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iMovie: The Missing Manual by Aaron Miller, David Pogue

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Chapter 9. Stabilization, Color Fixes, Cropping, and Rotating

Not every piece of video needs fancy effects. In fact, most video is probably better off without a Dream filter or a Picture-in-Picture overlay. The unadulterated stuff straight from your camera usually looks best.

If your footage needs any help at all, it’s probably in the camera operator department. Don’t take this personally. Handheld shots, the most common kind of home video, are notoriously unstable, and that’s an instant giveaway that you’re an amateur. You can have the hands of a surgeon and still end up with shaky footage. This is true even with all the newfangled image-stabilization technology that comes in the latest cameras.

Don’t give up (and don’t resort to carrying a tripod everywhere). iMovie can stabilize your video after the fact—one of its most amazing features.

And stabilization isn’t the only way iMovie can fix your footage, either. The Adjust tool lets you make slight or gigantic changes to the white balance, skin-tone balance, brightness, saturation, and other image qualities of any clip.

For example, if a shot looks too dark and murky, you can bring details out of the shadows without blowing out the highlights. If the snow in a skiing shot looks too bluish, you can de-blue it. If the colors don’t pop quite enough in the shot of a winning soccer goal, you can boost their saturation levels.

In addition, iMovie offers two other features that make up for human error:

  • Cropping. If you’re just not close enough ...

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