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Cool iMovie Menus

Unlike most applications of equal power, iMovie has only four menus for your command-selection pleasure.

The Ever-Popular File Menu

In the File menu, several commands are similar to what you are used to from other applications, such as New Project, Open Project, Save Project, and Quit. Some commands that you might not have seen on a File menu before include the following:

  • Export Movie—You use this command when you are ready to create a movie to watch yourself (outside iMovie) or to distribute to others.

  • Save Frame As—This one enables you to save a frame of a movie as an image file.

  • Import File—This command enables you to import files into iMovie. For example, if you want to use a still image in your project, the Import File command enables you to bring it in.

  • Get Clip Info—This command opens the Info window for the selected clip.

Why Click Twice?

You can also open an Info window by selecting a clip and then pressing Shift+Cmd+I.

The New and Improved Edit Menu

As usual, the Edit menu contains commands that you use to edit the data with which you are working. This menu contains the usual Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Clear, Select All, and Select None commands. The following are the other significant commands:

  • Crop—This command causes everything except what is selected to be removed from a clip that you are editing.

  • Split Video (or Audio) Clip at Playhead—This command splits a single video or audio clip into two separate clips.

  • Create Still Clip—This one creates a still clip from the selected frame. You can use this to capture frames to use as transitions and for other reasons.

  • Preferences—Use this to open and set iMovie preferences (see Chapter 7 for the details on preferences).

Are You Advanced?

The Advanced menu, which was introduced in iMovie 2, contains several specialized commands that you might not use every day but that you will find valuable for specific tasks. These include the following:

  • Extract Audio—This command extracts the audio portion of a video clip and places it on the Audio track where you can edit it.

  • Lock Audio Clip at Playhead—Using this command, you can lock an audio clip to the Playhead location so that when you move the corresponding video clip, the audio moves too.

  • Reverse Clip Direction—Select a clip and choose this command to make the clip play in reverse. When you do so, a left-facing arrowhead appears in the clip's box on the Shelf to indicate that the clip will play backward.

  • Restore Clip Media—Use this to restore a clip that you have "improved" to the condition it was before you worked on it.

Help Is Available—Not That You'll Need It

Everyone needs a little help now and again, and iMovie stands ready to help you. Use the Help menu to access iMovie Help (see Figure 3.8). This help system is just like the Mac's Help Center; in fact, it uses the same application to provide help. The help system is fully searchable and uses hot links to make it as easy as possible to move around. If you have installed the iMovie Tutorial, you can also get help with it from the iMovie Help menu, as well.

Figure 3.8 When you use iMovie, help is only a click away.

Like most Mac applications, you can also access the Mac Help Center and Balloon Help from iMovie's Help menu. (Balloon Help can be useful when you forget the function or name of a specific button or tool.)

The Least You Need to Know

  • iMovie puts powerful video tools in the hands of regular people.

  • iMovie might work a little differently than most of the applications that you normally use. For example, you work with projects in iMovie rather than with documents.

  • The iMovie window can be a little daunting when you first see it, but after you use the guided tour in this chapter, you should understand how the various interface elements are used. You'll learn the details throughout the rest of this book.

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