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In iMovie '11, you can synchronize your video clips, photos, and titles to specific points in your audio tracks. This makes it super-easy to edit your video to music, or to make sure a cut happens exactly when a music cue or sound effect occurs. And you accomplish this by adding beat markers. As an example, let me show you how you can quickly create a photo slideshow set to music. Let's create a new empty project first, so I will choose File > New Project. I will choose no theme. I will call it Snap to Beat, set to Widescreen, 24 frames per second, and I will click Create.
Now, let's look for some music. I am going to go to my Music pane, and I have Jingles selected in the iLife Sound Effects folder, and again, we can just sample some music here. (music playing) Okay, we will go with that one. Now this is going to be my background music, so I will just simply drag it into my Project pane. So now that I have an audio clip in my project, let's add the beat markers. I am going to click the audio clip's Action menu and choose Clip Trimmer, and now I see my audio waveform at the bottom of the window.
Now, it's just the matter of figuring out where I want the cuts in my video to occur by adding beat markers. Now there are a couple of ways of doing this. Give this a listen again. (music playing) So let's say I want a rapid fire succession of photos during that opening drum fill. Now, I can see where those hits are occurring by looking at the peaks on the waveform in this area, and I can add a beat marker by right-clicking or Ctrl+Clicking and choosing to add beat marker. So there is the first hit right there, so I will right-click, and I can choose add beat marker. You can see that puts a little marker with a tiny dot in right there.
I can do that again where this hit occurs, or another way I can do this is to drag a beat marker in, which is this little Note icon here. Simply just drag it and I can put that right where the next hit occurs, and I can quickly add a couple more here. But personally, if you are trying to sync your video to a music track, I think the best way is to tap out the beat markers in real time along with the music. As long as you have a decent sense of rhythm, this is the fastest and most fun way to add beat markers. All you have to do is let the music play and press the M key on your keyboard-- that's M, as in music--each time you want a beat marker to appear.
Let me show you how this works. I am going to play the music from the beginning, and I am going to press the M key periodically, and you'll see the beat markers appear as I add them. (music playing) Okay, so I went a little bit crazy at the end there, but let's go with it.
Now that I have my beat markers, I can add my photos to create my slideshow. First, I will click Done to close the Clip Trimmer. Next, I am going to go to the View menu and make sure Snap to Beats is checked, which it should be by default. Now, I am going to go to the Photos pane, and in here I can access my iPhoto Library, and let's grab the photos from my album of beach photos. I imported these in an earlier chapter. So I am just going to select the first one, hit Command+A to select them all, and I am just going to drag them all into my project. If you don't have your photos in iPhoto, you can also just drag them in from a Finder window. So it's now adding the photos to my project, and just like that, you can see that iMovie has automatically aligned each photo with the beat markers I added.
Let's see how it turned out. (video playing) Pretty cool! Now, I actually ran out of photos before I ran out of music, so you can see that's why it faded at the end there. But how cool is that? There is no faster way than that to edit an entire slideshow to music.
Now, you don't have to drag all your photos in it one time like I just did here. If you don't have them all in an iPhoto album, or if you just want to put a little more thought into the order of the pictures, just browse through your photos and drag them in one at a time. They will still automatically line up to the beat markers you created, and this works the same for video clips as well. Dragging clips in from your Event Browser will automatically sync them to the beat markers. But also be aware that the clips will be trimmed to sync to the beats. So if you are dragging in a 10-second video clip, but there is only 5 seconds between beat markers, your clip will be trimmed to 5 seconds long. If there are times when you don't want your clips to be trimmed, just go to the View menu and deselect Snap to Beats.
The clips you drag into your project will remain the length they were when you dragged them into the project, but you will still be able to manually sync other clips and photos to your beat markers. Just keep in mind that you can also sync titles and even other audio clips to your beat markers as well. Now, iMovie '11 also has a new effect called Jump Cut at Beat Markers, found under the Clip menu. This is an effect that automatically cuts the number of frames from your video footage, which makes the action look kind of jerky, but it can really look cool when it happens to the beat of background music. I am going to select all my photos, by selecting one and then hitting Command+A, and delete them from my project.
That keeps my background music there. I am also going to go to the View menu and deselect Snap to Beats because that will start trimming any video clips I bring in and that would conflict with the effect that I want to apply. Now, I am going to drag some video clips into my project. Go ahead and close my Photo pane here. So I am just going to select the entire waxing clip there. Let's grab all the boots footage here and the zipping up shot, maybe this one here, this one, and let's do one more here.
Now, you can see that my clips extend way beyond the length of the music, but that's okay because I am going to be cutting a lot out of them. Now unfortunately, you can only apply this effect to one clip at a time. So I am going to select my first clip and choose Clip > Jump Cut at Beat Markers, and from here I can decide how many frames I want to remove between 3 and 30 frames. The more frames you cut, the jumpier your footage will look. So I am going to go with 30, and right away, you can see that creates these separate clips out of that video. Let's play it so far. (video playing) So you can see that rapid succession of cuts.
Actually, I think that goes on a little bit too long after the cut, so let's select that last chunk of board waxing footage and just delete that. Now I will just continue adding this effect to the other clips. So on this next clip here, I will choose Clip > Jump Cut at Beat Markers, 30 frames, and let's see how that looks so far. (video playing) Probably too much there, too, so let's get rid of two of these boot-fitting clips. I'll select the zipping up clip here, 30 frames. Let's take a look.
(video playing) I like that so far. Let's keep going with this one. (video playing) Like that. Let's cut that last one there. Let's do this next one here.
(video playing) I'd like to see him throwing the board in there, so let's get rid of these two at the beginning, and then we have one more clip to split up here. Cool! Now let's see how this looks. (video playing) Not bad! Now bear in mind that you don't have to do this to your entire project like I am doing here.
It's probably a stronger effect if you only apply it to key moments of action. But I just wanted to demonstrate how easily and quickly you can add this effect. All right, so those are some very cool options you have for easily editing your project to the beat of your background music.
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