Most video editing involves making cuts. Learn how to make cuts like a pro using iMovie in this post.
Video cuts can be used for a lot of reasons. They can trim your content to be laser focused. Cuts can get rid of unwanted content like bloopers or foot-in-mouth stumbles. Finally, video cuts can dramatically increase the flow of your video to help connect with your viewers.
Planning a Cut in iMovie
Cutting video isn’t a random act. Like I said before, you’ll want to decide the reason for your cut before actually slicing and dicing.
Most people make cuts based on audio, not visual content.
If you look at your timeline in the bottom window of iMovie, you’ll see the video clip you’ve loaded. Underneath that clip is the waveform of your audio. It looks like mountains and valleys. Where that waveform gets low is where most people make cuts. That’s because the sound is low enough where it won’t sound abrupt at the cut.
Some people go through and mark those then come back and do the cuts later. I like to just go ahead and make the cuts and adjust it if I need to.
Making Cuts in iMovie
To make a cut, all you have to do is line up the playhead (the vertical line that moves with the video as it plays) and either select from the menu >Modify>Split Clip, or simply press Command+B on the keyboard. Using the keyboard you can make cuts faster, so that/s what I do.
I go through my entire video and make all the cuts I plan to make, then go back a listen to the transitions between cuts. If I need to edit any of the cuts, it’s fairly easy to just grab the edge of the clip and slide it a little on way or another.
Type of Cuts
Most cuts will be simple cuts like I’ve just described. You can do a lot more in cuts than just abruptly end and start a clip.
The “J” Cut
A “J” cut is just one where the audio comes in before the video. An example would be when dialogue starts before you can see the speaker actually saying the lines. This is great for highlighting a visual cue while explaining it.
The “L” Cut
An “L” cut is just the opposite from the “J” cut. It starts the video and audio together, but then cuts to another visual while continuing the voiceover.
Creating Transitions in iMovie
Transitions are just cuts that have some kind of effect between the clips. You’ve seen these in movies and films. The most popular transition is the crossfade. A crossfade is just where you adjust transparency between two clips so that they morph into each other. In the middle of a crossfade, you can actually see both clips.
Other popular transitions like blurs and fade through color, are less common, but can be very effective in certain situations. I use a fade through black at the beginning and ends of most of my videos, just so that there isn’t an abrupt start or stop.
To create a transition in iMovie, juts clip the tab at the top of the browser window that’s labeled “Transitions.” Then choose the transition you want and drag it in between two clips. That’s it.
I hope this has helped you see how simple cuts and transitions are. It really doesn’t take much to make a cut. However, this really is something that gets better with practice. Try watching movies and pay attention to how they make their cuts. I use movie cutting techniques all the time in my professional video work, and now you can too.