the only 'issue' with durations in iM is, as you mentioned, pulling frames from clip to allow a transition. professional editors do it it different - no handles, no dissolve.
so, for 99% consumers that automatism is fine.
another side effect of this method:
a transition can only have max the half length of shortest clip involved in this transition.
clip A 5sec, clip B 10sec = dissolve max 2.15
clip A 7sec, clip B 4sec = dissolve max 2s
In addition to what Karsten said, there is a command where you can change how this works. It only will help if your clips have extra unused frames on either side (these are called "handles" in Karsten's post above. See the portion of iMovie Help here that is titled "To Set How Transitions Overlap With Other Clips" at this link.
As a novice, ..I'm not quite grasping what your saying....sorry. Perhaps I should start from scratch and you could make a recommendation.
I want to make a movie with stills and video on top of a soundtrack. What methods should I use to get certain clips to match certain parts of the soundtrack ?
If I want ALL stills to be 2:50 seconds long, and transitions to be 1:15 long interspersed with video clips, how do I do this ?
Thank you SO much for helping me.....you are very kind !!
If possible, ....please try to dumb it down for me.....lol
The best way to line up photos precisely with music is to use the Beat Marker feature. It is also best to avoid the use of transitions. A beat occurs at a point in time, where a transition occurs over a range of time. If you want to use transitions, I would set your photos to whatever length you want and don't worry about the beat. Your audience will probably not notice that you are halfway through the transition on the beat.
Here is a Tutorial on the Beat Marker Feature.http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/imovie_09_stone.html#markers Scroll down past the part on Comment Markers and Chapter Markers.
Here is a sample video that uses beat markers to keep time with music.
You basically add your music track, add the beat markers in the Clip Trimmer by pressing M as you listen to the track wherever you want a marker. I line up the photos I want to use in an album in iPhoto or Aperture, and drag the whole album in. Everything should snap to the beat markers.
Here is another good sample video using beat markers from ldparkinson...
I don't need to hit any particular down beat of the song per say, ...I just need to have certain photos (ie...my wife holding our newborn) at slower moments in the song.
I think whats screwing this whole thing up is inserting the video clips. I've played around with lining up a bunch of stills, ...setting the default durations and "applying to all"...and it works fine. I have resonable control over pretty much everything until I drop some video in, or change one of the photos to Ken Burns....then things start to go haywire.
thanks again .....I just need to spend more time and do the research on this.
You can easily trim video to the length you need.
You can grab the end of the video and drag to make it shorter or longer, or you can select a portion in the middle of the clip and then EDIT/TRIM TO SELECTION.