When you’re new to video editing, you use the first thing you know or already have. If you’re a Mac user, learning how to use iMovie to edit videos is probably on your to-do list because anything else is just too complex, scary and expensive for now.

By the end of this tutorial you’ll know how to use iMovie to:

  • How to import a video into iMovie
  • How to crop a video
  • How to add text
  • How to add subtitles
  • How to add music

What Can You Do With iMovie’s Editing Tools?

Get the most out of this simple software by learning how to use the tools. Let’s say you want to how to create a basic video in iMovie. This means you'll have to learn how to use iMovie to crop, add text, music, trim video and add subtitles to your video.

First, here's how to import a video into iMovie.

  1. Open Finder
  2. Click on Applications.
  3. Locate iMovie and click to open it up.
  4. Click on the File menu on the top bar and then click on "New Movie."
  5. In the New Movie, click on the option to Import Media

How to Crop a Video in iMovie

Crop your iMovie video easily by clicking the crop icon right above your video

To crop a video in iMovie, go to the square-like cropping symbol appearing above your video. This will then bring up the fit, crop to fill, and ken burns options to crop your video. For this tutorial, you only need to worry about learning how to crop a video in imovie with the fit and crop to fill options.

Fit Crop Option
The fit crop option will take your video and expand it so it takes up the entire size of the landscape video. So if you have a square video or Instagram story-size video, it will blow up the video to cover all the space leaving no empty edges.

Crop to Fill
On the other hand, crop to fill gives you a bit more flexibility when it comes to cropping video in imovie. When you click on crop to fill you'll see a rectangle appear over the video. Drag the corner handles of the rectangle to define what will appear in your video. Click on the center (+) symbol in the center to move it around. Anything outside of the rectangle will not appear once you finish cropping your iMovie video.

How to Trim and Split Your iMovie Clips

Trim and split your iMovie clip with draggable handles and keyboard shortcuts like command + B

For anyone totally new to video editing, here are some basic definitions. Trimming a video is when you adjust the start and end times of the video. Splitting a video is like trimming except you are taking a clip and breaking it up in multiple segments.

Maybe you have something interesting in the middle of your video, this is where you would split your iMovie clip. If you want to split a clip in iMovie, move your mouse over the area of the video you want to split. Then,  you can either:

1. Go to Menu > Modify > Split Clip
2. Click Command (⌘) + B on your keyboard to split the clip

But maybe you also weren't ready in the first 2 seconds of your video and made an awkward fumble to turn the camera off at the end. This is where you would trim your iMovie video at the start and end points. To trim video simply click on the clip and then click and drag the ends of the video to your desired positioning.

How to Manually Add Subtitles in iMovie with Title Text

Manually add subtitles to video with iMovie's text titles

Learning how to add subtitles in iMovie can be a tedious manual task but it's doable. You can always skip it and opt to automatically add subtitles to video with a simple to use online video editor like VEED.

But if you're not afraid to roll your sleeves up, here's how to add subtitles in iMovie:

  1. Head over to the text titles menu  
  2. Select a text style. We like the lower-thirds option.
  3. Drag the selected option over the part of your video you want to start adding subtitles to
  4. Play the video to hear what's being said and type up your first sentence for your subtitles
  5. Select the text on the timeline and copy paste it to create a new line and repeat step 4 until you've manually added subtitles with iMovie to the full video.

How to Put Music on iMovie

Drag and drop downloaded audio to put music in your iMovie timeline. Easily trim, adjust volume, and create a faded audio effect with the audio controls.

Music can give your video personality and set the mood. You can use a site like MixKit.com to source quality music for free.

There, super easy right? Once you've put music on your iMovie timeline, you can do things like trim the audio, change the volume and fade in or fade out your iMovie music. Here's how to put music in your iMovie video timeline.

  1. Go to your downloads folder
  2. Click and drag the music file into your iMovie timeline

There, super easy right? Once you've added music to your iMovie, you can do things like trim the audio, change the volume and create a fade in/fade out effect.

How to Trim Music in iMovie
This works the same way as trimming your video. Go to the start and end points of your video so you can click and drag to your desired start and end times. You can also split the audio the same way. Just make sure the music is selected.

How to Adjust Music Volume in iMovie

To adjust the volume of your audio, hover over the center of the audio clip. You'll see two triangles appear positioned on top of each other. You can then pull up or down to increase or lower the volume.

How to Fade Out or Fade In iMovie Music

Hover over the center  of the video toward the start or end points of your music clip. You'll see two triangles appear here as well in a horizontal side-by-side position. You can drag these to the sides to create a gradual fade in or fade out effect with the music added to your iMovie clip. As you drag, you'll see a curved line inside the green music box on the timeline indicating you're applying the effect.

How to Export Your iMovie Video

Click the export button on the upper right-hand corner and then select file to export your iMovie video

Finally, to export your iMovie video click on the export button on the upper right-hand side. This will bring up a panel of options. Unless you want to import directly to one of the options that appear, you can select to download the file.

Now that you know how to use iMovie, you can begin editing your first video. Need a simpler all-in-one solution to edit your video online? VEED's online video editor allows you to automatically add subtitles to video, add progress bar animations, add text to video, crop your video for all major social platforms and so much more. You can start your first video project for free today! And if you need any help, we're just one chat message or Instagram DM away.

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