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In iMovie '11 Essential Training, author Garrick Chow illustrates the process of creating high-quality video using iMovie '11. The course covers the entire post-production process, from importing audio, video, and still images to adding effects, creating trailers, and sharing your finished projects on social networks. Also included are tutorials on adjusting audio levels, automatically identifying clips that include faces, and using green screen effects. Exercise files accompany the course.
Another important tool you should know how to use is the Crop tool. The Crop tool is useful in a variety of circumstances. For example, maybe you have a great shot of the beach on your vacation, but it's ruined by some people walking around near the edge of the shot. You can easily get rid of them by cropping them out. Or if you have standard- sized footage that you're using in a widescreen aspect ratio and you want to avoid having black bars on the side of your image, you can zoom in on the shot using the Crop tool. Or even if your footage is in the same aspect ratio as your project, you might want to zoom in a little anyway to place more focus on the subject in your footage.
The Crop tool can also be used to rotate your footage, which is especially useful if you were shooting video with your digital camera and forgot that can't really hold the camera sideways when you're shooting videos like you can when you are shooting still images. So the Crop tool is an extremely useful tool to have at your disposal. Let's take a look at how it works. Let's go to the shot of our surfer entering the ocean, which is up here, and I want to make him more prominent in the shot, so I am going to use the Crop tool to zoom in a bit on him. To use the Crop tool, select the clip you want to crop and then click the Crop tool here on the toolbar.
As you see, Crop should be selected by default out of the three options available here in the corner of the viewer. Now you might see that the viewer now has green edges around it. The green box represents the current visible area of the clip; in this case we see the whole thing. To zoom in, drag in any of the corners towards the center. And I can also reposition that box as well. As I drag in, notice that the box stays in the aspect ratio of the project. I can't turn this into a perfect square or anything other than its widescreen ratio. So maybe I'll position it something like that.
Now, when you are happy with your layout, you can click Done. Now, we just see the zoomed in portion. But notice the preview of the clip in the Project area still shows the entire uncropped version. This is a nice way of reminding you that this is a cropped clip in case you forget, but you will also notice there is a crop button now that appears in the upper left-hand corner of the clip. And you can see this indicates that this is a cropped clip. So we've essentially zoomed in on our clip. Now just be careful about zooming in too much, or else your video will become pretty grainy and look just bad in general.
Now another time we might want to use Crop tool is if you're using footage that doesn't match the aspect ratio of the project. For example, let's go to File > Project Properties, and I am going to change this to a standard aspect ratio, and click OK. Notice that the viewer is now in the standard aspect ratio. But if I skim through my project, you can see my footage, which is widescreen, still fills the entire viewer area. That's because iMovie automatically zooms in on footage that doesn't fit the current aspect ratio, so I've effectively chopped off the right and left sides of my footage.
Of course, if all of your footage is widescreen, you would use the widescreen aspect ratio. But let's assume for a moment that the majority of my footage is standard but I do have some widescreen footage I want to use. Now if I want to make sure all the footage is visible, or even if I just want to adjust the position of the zoom that iMovie has placed on one of these clips, I can again use the Crop tool. So just click on the clip you want to adjust, or if you want to adjust them all, you can press Command+A all of your clips. I am just going to use the one to show you how this works. So I select the clip, and then I click the Crop tool.
Again, the green box shows me be the cropped area, and you can see how much footage is cropped out. Incidentally, this is a good illustration of how much of the picture you're not seeing when you watch Hollywood movies on cable TV on a standard television. Anyway, if you want to reposition the cropped area, simply drag it around until it shows the area you want to show. Or if you want to set it so that the entire widescreen image is visible, click the Allow Black button. This is called Letter Boxing, and on a standard 4-to-3 aspect ratio of television, you will see black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.
Some people don't like this look, but I much prefer a slightly smaller image than not seeing all the footage the way it was shot. But that's entirely up to you. I will click Done, and now when I play my project back, you will see that that clip is in letterbox, while the rest are zoomed in to fill in the standard aspect ratio. So everything is zoomed in here, and now we are seeing the full clip in this case, and then we are back to the zoomed-in version. One last other thing you can do with the Crop tool, as I mentioned, is to rotate your image.
Again, this is useful for those times when you fall asleep while shooting video and the camera lands on its side, or for when you might have been shooting with a digital still camera and forgot you can't turn sideways to shoot a video of the waterfall and you now have a waterfall going from left to right. Just select your clip, click Crop, and then click the left or right rotation buttons to put things in their proper orientation. Just be aware that you will probably end up with a weird-looking aspect ratio since you're essentially turning the video on its side, so you might want to use the Crop tool to zoom in a bit, if you can.
I am just going to click Done and switch my project back to the Widescreen aspect ratio, and now everything's looking better, the way it should. And we still have this zoomed-in version of our clip here, which I think looks nicer. So that's how you use the Crop tool, and I'll meet you in the next movie.
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