Instruct me on iMovie HD

I’ve said before that I’m a shooter, not an editor. I do have a copy of Final Cut Pro on my PowerBook, but I’ve no documentation for it. So I thought I might give iMovie HD a try. I mean, it’s bundled software so it should be easy, right?

I have a song by an obscure band that no longer exists, and I’d like to make a YouTube with it. It’s just for my own entertainment, and for educational purposes. To start out, I’d just like to have a still photo with the music playing over it, and a title saying what the song is and who it’s by. Baby steps.

I have the song loaded into iMovie HD, version 5.0.2 (111). I can click the arrow and it plays. So how about a title? I click on T. I put in the name in one box, and the band’s name in the other box. When I hit Preview it shows the title, and then if fades out after a few seconds. There’s a scale at the bottom of the window showing the time, and a slider so you can move about the track. In this area it says ‘Drag titles here to build your project’. OK. Where do I drag them from? Also, the preview of the title is just the preview of the title. The song plays over a black frame. The title and the audio are not related. It’s one or the other.

Make your title and click the “Add” button at the bottom of the title dialog area. It will show up in the track area at the bottom of the screen, and should be the length of the clip. Go to timeline view (the clock icon near the bottom of the screen, and just above the tracks.) If your title is not full-lenghth, you can grab the right side of its track and drag it over to the end of the movie.

Hm. I don’t see an Add button.

As for the title dialog area, I don’t see one – at least, not one I would expect. There are two single-line boxes where I can type stuff. I’d expect something more like a ‘frame’ where I can type freestyle. Let me describe my window:

Left side: Video window, about 70% x 70% of the window. Below that is a toggle: ‘film frame’ or ‘clock’. To the right of that is an option for ‘camera’ or ‘scissors’. Centered below the video frame is a ‘go to beginning’ button, a Play button, and ‘view clips’ button. Below the right corner of the video frame is the volume control. To the right of that (right side of the window) are options for: Clips, Photos, Audio, Titles, Trans, Effects, iDVD.

Below that is a time scale. Below the scale is a grey area that says ‘Drag titles here to build your project’. Below that is a white bar and grey bar. If I click in that area, both bars are highlighted. To the far right, straddling the division of these bars, is the filename of the song. There are three check boxes, arranged vertically, on the right. Below that is the slider. Under the slider is a slide control that varies the size of the blue oval in the slider. (Apparently a scaling tool.) To the right of that is ‘Clip’, a greyed-out box with 100%, and a speaker symbol.

Right side of window: At the top are two buttons" Preview and Update. Below those are cursor controls. Update and the cursor buttons are greyed-out. To the right of these controls is a preview screen. Underneath these are two slide controls: Speed and Pause. Pause is greyed out. Below this is an effects menu with such options as 3D Spin, Bounce Across, and Centered. Below that are the font controls Below that, above the Clips, Photos, Audio, etc. options are the two single-line text boxes.’s a screenshot of my iMovie interface, with the relevant buttons circled in red. I would guess that yours are the same, or at least with decipherable similarities.

Here’s mine.

Ummm… Did you try dragging the text from the bottom 2 lines of the text area? Or, is it that you drag the title from the menu (i.e., “centered title”) into the track area? Sorry, i just don’t remember. There should be a HELP menu item–which, admittedly, can be quirky and difficult to find things, but Add Title will probably give you relevant search results.

Oh, wait…maybe it’s that you drag the preview window down into the track area. Hell, just drag everything!

Aha. Dragging the effect description worked. Next step will be to find out how to make the title stick to the entire song instead of just six seconds of it. (Baby steps, remember.) But I’m not going to have time to play with it anymore this weekend.

And yes, ‘Help’ menus are rarely very helpful to me.

Thanks for the start.