Organizing clips

on Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Virtually all video-editing software stores clips in a grid-like area called a clip browser or album. Apple iMovie and Pinnacle Studio further subdivide clips by content. Each program has separate browser panels for video clips, audio clips, and still images. In Studio, you can access these panels using tabs along the left side of the clip browser or album, as it is called in Pinnacle’s documentation. In iMovie, you can access the panels using buttons at the bottom of the clip browser or pane, as Apple’s documentation calls it.

The clip browser doesn’t just store your clips, it also tells you some important information about them. One of the most important bits of info is the length of the clip. If you’re using the sample clips from the CD-ROM, you’ll notice the numerals 19.04 or 19:04 next to Scene 5. This tells you that the clip is 19 seconds and four frames long. If you don’t see names or lengths listed next to clips in the Studio clip browser, choose Album➪Details View. A video image is actually made up of a series of still images that flash by so quickly that they create the illusion of motion. These still images are called frames. Video usually has about 30 frames per second. The clip also has a name, of course, and you can change the name if you wish. If, for example, you think that “Bridge” would be a more descriptive name than “Scene 5,” click the clip once, wait a second, and then click the clip’s name once again. You can then type a new name if you want. When you’re done typing a new name, just press Enter or click in an empty part of the screen.

If you have a lot of clips in the browser, they might not all fit on one screen. In iMovie, simply scroll down (using the scroll bar on the right) to see more clips. In Pinnacle Studio, you can select different groups of clips from the menu at the top of the browser. If there are too many clips in a group to fit on a single page all at once, you can click the arrows to view additional pages.
In iMovie’s clip browser, you can manually rearrange clips by dragging them to new empty blocks in the grid. You can move the clips wherever you want. This handy feature allows you to sort clips on your own terms, rather than just have them listed alphabetically or in some other arbitrary order.