If you’re a Mac user wanting to edit home movies or basic YouTube videos, iMovie might be for you!

A duotoned dark purple and beige version of the Apple film strip emoji, in front of a light blue horizontal striped background

iMovie is the free film editing app for Mac users, and it does a pretty great job. It’s the only program I’ve ever used for video editing, and if I’m honest that’s because:

  • It’s free
  • It was already on my laptop
  • It’s easy to learn
  • …and did I mention it’s free?

Here’s a very meta walkthrough video (7min), where I talk through the iMovie editing process using a recent video (which is now live!):

The basic steps are:

  1. Record my ‘talking head’ video using an iPhone while simultaneously recording my screen with the Quicktime app
  2. Drop both movie files into iMove, along with an image file of the Producing Paradise logo
  3. Bookend the video with the logo, using a cross-dissolve transition at both ends
  4. Align the talking head with the screen recording (using the audio to find the perfect timing match)
  5. Detach the audio from both videos and delete whichever audio is worst quality — I usually go with my iPhone audio over the laptop, but it entirely depends on your equipment and setup
  6. Edit out the ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’ throughout, and make any other content tweaks along the way
  7. Export the audio to use in Otter.ai for subtitle transcription
  8. Export the video to upload to YouTube — I use 1080 resolution with ‘high’ quality and ‘better quality’ compression but that’s just to keep the export/upload timeframe reasonable (ie. I know I should probably export at higher quality but I go for efficiency over perfection!)
iMovie audio export settings
iMovie video export settings