Editing videos can lead to a great sense of fulfillment when you’re all done and showing off the fruits of your labors to a packed house of admirers, but you have to admit that the grunt work can be kind of a slog. Anything that makes the editing process a little faster or a little bit simpler has my vote for being a tip worth knowing about.
iMovie ’11 has a host of under-the-radar tricks that will help you take your editing workflow up a notch. One sweet trick that both saves time and impresses other video editors is using multitouch gestures right on the trackpad.
If you’re editing on a MacBook of any kind, you’ll have a trackpad. You could even have a Magic Trackpad with your iMac and we’d be totally jealous. To add new media to your iMovie project using the trackpad is simple. Go to the Event browser and click on a clip, or click and drag to select a portion of a clip that you want to add to the timeline, and use a three finger swipe up on your trackpad. The clip or portion you had selected will be added to the end of your project all magical and such.
Next, if you want to expand your view of the media you’re working with, either in the Event or Project browser, just move your mouse pointer above the media you want to zoom in on and pinch out with your fingers, much like you would when zooming into an image or web page on an iOS device. You can also do the reverse, with a pinching in gesture, which will contract your media view. This can be a bit tricky to do without actually moving the mouse pointer, so be sure to practice a bit.
One last way to multitouch your way to iMovie editing nirvana is to use a two fingered swipe to the left or right to scroll through your video masterpiece. Click anywhere in the clip you scrub through, then touch the trackpad with three fingers at the same time. Swipe in either direction to move the red playhead line to the left or right. This should help you make more precise edits than just clicking on where you think the edit should go, and then click-dragging the mouse along to move the playhead.