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Chapter 14. Building the Movie Track > Three Ways to Trim a Clip

14.3. Three Ways to Trim a Clip

Trimming out the deadwood from your clips, so that you're left with only the very best shots from the very best scenes, is the heart of iMovie—and video editing.

Beyond Undo: The Restore Clip Command

As programs go, iMovie is a forgiving one. Not only does it have an Undo command—it's a ten-step Undo command, meaning that you can undo the last ten editing steps you took. (You can even unimport a clip from your camcorder.)

Still, a ten-level Undo isn't always ideal. If you made a mistake eight steps ago, you can undo that step, but only by undoing the seven successful editing steps you took thereafter.

The Advanced → Restore Clip command can be perfect in such situations. Remember that every time you cut or crop a clip, iMovie doesn't actually disturb the clip itself—the file on your hard drive. Instead, it simply shifts around its own internal pointers to the portion of the clip that you want to use. As a result, it's a piece of cake for iMovie to say, "Oh, you want me to throw away those pointers and give you back the original clip as it came from the camcorder? No problem."

In short, the Restore Clip command gives you a convenient safety net, a chance to start with a clean slate on a clip-byclip basis.

When you use the command, iMovie displays a dialog box that lets you know what's about to happen, as shown here. If you click Restore, iMovie returns the clip to its original, precut, precrop condition, even if you've already placed it into the Movie Track. In that case, the clip's bar in the Timeline Viewer grows correspondingly wider, shoving other clips to the right to make room.

Note that if you've emptied the project Trash, as described on page 257, forget it—both the ten-level Undo and the Restore Clip command are unavailable. Emptying the project Trash empties iMovie's Undo and Restore Clip memory.

That's why some iMovie veterans are in the habit of duplicating clips before trimming and splitting them. After clicking a clip in either the Clips pane or the Movie Track, choose Edit → Copy, followed immediately by Edit → Paste. You'll see a perfect duplicate of the clip appear.

When you do so, you're not actually duplicating any files on your hard drive, so copying and pasting clips doesn't eat away at your remaining free space. Even if you whittle away at one of these copies by trimming it or splitting it, your original is safe in its full-length, freshly imported condition. If it turns out that you trimmed too much of your clip, you can return to the copy—your backup—without sacrificing the other editing work you've done since you made the copy.

If you decide to adopt this technique, be prepared for one other twist: As you cut or crop footage, your project Trash will always remain empty. That's because any frames you're cutting from one clip are still required by the other clip, so iMovie can't afford to put anything into the Trash in readiness for permanent deletion.



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