Find your way around iMovie for iPad

Steve Paris
14 September, 2012
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This iMovie for iPad tutorial is designed to help you understand how you can make the most of this extremely portable video editing tool. Even though the same app works on all iOS devices – iPhone, iPod touch and iPad – we’ll be focussing our attention solely on the latter: the canvas is bigger and makes for a more comfortable editing workspace. Although it’s true that you can’t put an iPad in your pocket, it’s still more portable than a laptop and the battery life is infinitely greater, making the iPad your ideal editing companion on the go.

In this tutorial, we’ll look at the interface and help you understand where everything is. We’re assuming of course that you’ve got clips stored in your iPad’s Photos app, either having taken them directly from your iPad’s camera, or having imported them from your iPhone, iPod touch or camera, using the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit.

Vital Info

Device: iPad
Difficulty: Beginner
Time required: 20 mins

What you need: 

iMovie ($5.49)
iOS 5.1 or later

Step 1: The front page

When you launch iMovie, you’ll be shown this image. Any previous project you worked on will appear as a poster, with its name and duration and the date it was created shown above it. To create a new project, tap the ‘+’ button at the bottom of the interface and select New Project.


Step 2: The clip library

Only the upper-left part of the main page has anything in it at the moment: it’s displaying all the video clips currently available on our iPad. Beneath that section are three buttons. They allow you to switch between your available video clips, photos and music respectively.


Step 3: Preview a clip

To get a preview of any clip, drag your finger over its thumbnail. This lets you skim through the footage, and a preview of the video will appear in the upper-right section of the interface. You can do the same with photos by tapping and holding. Music files have a Play button to preview them.


Step 4: Select a clip

Tapping on a video clip selects it: a yellow border appears around it. Tapping it again will add it in its entirety to your project, but this is often not what you need. Left and right of the border are two yellow bobbles. Drag them inwards to narrow down your selection and select only the part you want.


Step 5: Navigate the timeline

Tap on your selection and it will move into your timeline. The red line in the middle is your playhead. It doesn’t move. If you drag your clip left and right, you can preview your project in the top-right section. Tap on the clip to reveal yellow handles, which can further trim your clip.


Step 6: Build your edit

Use these methods to build your edit and add more clips to your timeline. To reorder them, tap and hold on one to ‘lift’ it out of the timeline. You can then drag it to another location and release it to reinsert it. If you release it out of the Timeline section, you’ve deleted it from your project.

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