How to Edit a Movie with QuickTime on the Mac

Movie Editing Quicktime Mac Featured

QuickTime for Mac is often thought of as no more than a video-playbook tool. However, QuickTime is more than just an application for watching your favorite movies. Did you know that QuickTime also works with audio files or that QuickTime can combine multiple video files? Here’s a look at all of the QuickTime hidden secrets you never thought to look for.

Rotate or Flip a Video in QuickTime

It’s a safe bet that a good number of iPhone users have captured a video only to have it rotate incorrectly in the Photo app. Once the video is transferred to the Mac, double click on it and it will open right into QuickTime. Now, click “Edit” and then “Rotate Left” or “Rotate Right”.

Movie Editing Quicktime Mac Rotate Video

It’s that simple to get these video clips back to their proper orientation. If you need to flip the movie right side up, go back to “Edit” and select “Flip Horizontal” or “Flip Vertical”.

Trimming Video in QuickTime

Another scenario is capturing a video that starts too soon or ends too late. QuickTime enables you to trim any unnecessary footage.

Movie Editing Quicktime Mac Trim Video

1. Open the video file in QuickTime.

2. Click “Edit -> Trim,” and you will see a simple trimming interface that is highlighted by a yellow rectangular box. On each side of the box are two vertical lines. These lines indicate where your mouse needs to be placed to properly trim the clip.

3. Drag the bars around until you have determined where they should be placed. You can check your progress by clicking on the Play button.

4. Once you have locked in your video clip, click “File -> Save” to remove the extra content. You can also select “File -> Duplicate” in the event you want to save your clip as a new file. This would allow you to leave your original clip as unedited.

Split Video Clips in QuickTime

Another of QuickTime’s editing functions is the ability to split a single video clip into multiple parts.

Movie Editing Quicktime Mac Split Video

1. Press the Play button and let the video play until you get to a part where you want to start the split. Pause it when you get to this point.

2. Go to “Edit -> Split Clip” from the QuickTime menu bar. A red line will appear showing you that the split worked.

3. You can now drag the red line to another part of the video clip and again click on “Edit -> Split Clip” to have multiple video clips. Alternatively, you can also go to “Edit -> Show Clips” and move the red line around to where you would like to make the split. Once again, select “Edit -> Split Clip.”

From here you can make as many video splits as you would like using either of these options. You can even rearrange the video clips by selecting any clip which will then highlight in yellow. Drag it around until you have it in the right place and click “Done.”

Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete in QuickTime

After making your first split clip, a new set of options is opened up for editing. The Cut, Copy, Paste and Delete options open up some different possibilities for video edits. If you want to paste one of the split clips into an entirely different video file, start by opening both video files. Select the split clip from the first video file so it’s highlighted in yellow. Go to “Edit -> Cut (or Copy)” and then “Edit -> Paste” anywhere in the timeline of the second video file.

Movie Editing Quicktime Mac Cut Copy

If you want to add it to the end of the second video file, go to “Edit -> Add Clip to End.” You can also insert and directly add a clip anywhere into a second video. Open both video files and “Edit -> Cut (or Copy)” on the clip you want to add to another file. Select a point in the second video file where you’d like to add the first clip. Click on “Edit -> Insert Clip After Selection,” and the original video clip will automatically be inserted.

Removing Audio in QuickTime

Removing audio from a file is incredibly easy. Whether it’s someone shouting or interrupting the recording or the audio is just poorly recorded, getting rid of it takes less than two mouse clicks.

Movie Editing Quicktime Mac Remove Audio

Click on “Edit -> Remove Audio,” and the audio is removed from the video clip. Now click File, Save or Export to ensure the edited video is preserved.

Shrink Video Files in QuickTime

In the event you want to email, upload or share your video, it might need to be reduced in size.

Movie Editing Quicktime Mac Shrink Video

Go to File and select Export. The Export menu will open up a few different options including 4K, 1080p, 720p and 480p. Obviously, the smaller the file size you select, the smaller the file size will be after it is done being transcoded. There is even an option to export the video file as an audio-only clip so you can share that file as well.

It’s easy to dismiss QuickTime as nothing more than a video-playbook tool. As you can see, that is not the full story. QuickTime adds a basic set of video editing features, and more, and it can even record your iPhone screen. What’s your favorite video editing tool for Mac?

David Joz
David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox