Using iMovie

If you prefer to use iMovie (it’s free for Mac users) for contributing to the blog, here’s how. Once your file is in a digital format, you can extract both clips and screenshots in iMovie. All of the clips will be stored in events and projects in iMovie regardless of whether or not you export the files for use elsewhere.

First, import the video into iMovie

  1. Create a new library in iMovie by going to File > Open Library > New from the main menu. Name the library and save.
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  2. A new event should have been automatically created. To rename it, double-click on the name. (Since I’m doing a TV series, I named the event “eps” for episodes.)
  3. Once the event has been renamed, either select the option to “Import” into the new event or drag and drop the film into the box from the Finder.
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  4. The screen should look something like this when the movie has finished importing.
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  5. Select File > New Movie  from the top menu bar.
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  6. The library should automatically be set to the one you’re working with.
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  7. The screen should look like this with a blank timeline at the bottom.
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  8. Select the filmstrip (or strips if it’s a TV show), then drag it down to the timeline.
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  9. You can adjust the zoom of the filmstrip with the slider.
    You can scrub just by hovering over the filmstrip with your mouse.
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  10. You’ll want to save the movie you just created as a project. To do this, select the Projects button in the top option bar.
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  11. Be sure to name the project something clear that you’ll be able to quickly refer to as you start editing and scrubbing for interface footage. For example, since this project will be the master of all of the footage where I do all of the slicing, I’ll name it “eps cut”.
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To slice the filmstrip…

Before you can extract video clips, you first need to slice the filmstrip.

  1. Click on the timeline where you want to slice and type Cmd+B. Continue to slice the beginning and end of each of your clips. All the way through the footage.
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  2. When you’re done, it should look something like this.
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To snag a screenshot…

To snag a screenshot, just click on the timeline to pick the frame. You’ll see a preview in the viewer. Then select Share > Image from the top menu bar and save as usual.

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Then to organize all of those clips by tech…

Grouping all of your clips together by each piece of tech can be a real time saver when you need to refer back to all of the clips during your analysis.

For iMovie, this is where the process begins to fall apart. iMovie is great for assembling movies, but not necessarily for disassembling them like we do for the blog.

You’ll need to create a new project for each piece of tech under the library you created previously. The easiest way I’ve found to do this in the latest iteration of iMovie, is to…

  1. Go to the Projects view and duplicate the project with all the sliced footage by either using the contextual menu, or by selecting the project and using the keyboard shortcut Cmd+D.
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  2. It will be automatically named, so rename it by tech type or interface. You can do this by either double-clicking on the project name, or selecting the option from the contextual menu.
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  3. Double click on the new project thumbnail to open it, and delete all of the sliced clips that are not part of that specified tech.

    This is an odd way of doing it, but after Apple’s “improvements” to iMovie, the drag and drop feature doesn’t work the way it did before.
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  4. Do this for each type of tech. In the end, your project library should look something like this.
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And extract a clip for animated gifs…

This will be similar to how you organize the clips by tech. You’ll start by duplicating projects and deleting the clips you don’t want.

  1. Go to the Projects view and duplicate the project that has the clip you want to extract by either using the contextual menu, or by selecting the project and using the keyboard shortcut Cmd+D.
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  2. Rename the project something that describes the clip. You can do this by either double-clicking on the project name, or selecting the option from the contextual menu.

    Since you can’t create subfolders to keep everything organized by type, it’s best to name the clips so that like stay together with like.
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  3. Delete all of the slices you don’t want in the extracted clip.
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  4. Export the clip by selecting Share > File from the top menu bar.
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  5. In the settings window that pops up, select the quality settings you want to use. I usually pick no more than 720 for the quality. Anything bigger will create a ginormous file.
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  6. The file will save as an mp4, so you’ll still need to take it into Photoshop or your preferred image editing tool for converting it to an animated gif.

And that’s it. If you know of better ways to use iMovie to organize your clips for contributing to the blog, feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll update the article.

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