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Video Creation with iMovie: Home

Create any kind of video with these basics from iMovie!


Welcome to this tutorial guide on how to create any kind of video with iMovie. This will walk you through the basics of how to put together video with b-roll, music, transitions and more.

The Basics

The first step to creating a video in iMovie is to go to File > New Movie. 

Importing: You can import video from anywhere on your computer in several ways.

a. Drag the file you want into the timeline from another location on your computer.

b. Go to File > Import Media and then search on the window that pops up.

c. Click the small button at the top of the iMovie window with a downward facing arrow, then search through the pop-up window. 

You can drag imported clips from the iMovie events at the top of the screen into the timeline, which is the empty space at the bottom of the screen. This will be your main workspace for the project. 


Main vs. B-Roll: When you have all of your videos imported to the media folder at the top of the screen, you can pick one clip to be your main video. The other clips will be placed on top of that clip. This is called B-roll, and it consists of short clips that relate to what the main topic is and usually have little to no sound.


Splitting Clips: When you encounter a section of a clip that you don't want to keep click the beginning of that section, right click, then select "Split clip." Do this again at the end of the section, then click to select that section and press delete. You can also split clips to detach the audio in specific sections, which we will get into in the sound editing section. 


You can also click and drag at the end of a split clip to remove video and add in video that you had previously cut. 

Video Playback: If you want to watch your video in fullscreen to look for things to edit without having all of the editing tools in the way, you can go to View > Play Full Screen. 

Sound Editing

Detaching Audio: You can detach the audio from the video by right clicking on it and selecting "Detach audio." This is helpful for editing audio without affecting the video, like if you want to remove a small blip of strange noise.


Adding Music: At the top of the screen, click on the tab titled "Audio." You can access iTunes, GarageBand, and Sound Effects. To add a song, select a segment of it that you would like to use and then drag it to the bottom of the screen. To create a fade in effect on audio or music, hover over the beginning until you see a small circle, then drag it to the right. This also works for the ending. To adjust volume, move the bar up and down until you reach a satisfactory volume. 



Titles, Backgrounds and Transitions

Titles: Head to the "titles" tab at the top to select a title that you like, then drag it over your main video. You can change the font and size in the window at the top right.


Backgrounds: You can place a background down before a title by selecting one from the top menu and dragging it on top of the main video. 


Transitions: These are also located at the top menu, and there are a lot of them. You can drag them between split clips to create a smooth transition between them. You can also right-click and select the Precision Editor in order to create longer transitions. 



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You can find all of the effects in the top bar of the upper right-hand window of the iMovie screen. Before you make an effect selection, make sure that the clip you want to change is selected. From left to right, the effects are are as follows:

Auto Enhance: This will allow iMovie to automatically enhance both the video and the audio in your clips through all of the options that are available on this top menu bar. This is helpful if you aren't confident with using the other features, but is not ideal to use if you want to tackle a specific problem with your video.

Color Balance: This will correct the color in your clip if it looks different than other clips you may use. You can click on specific colors in your video while using this setting in order to add a tint to your video that will even out the mixture of colors. 

Color Correction: Like color balance, this  changes the color of your video. However, with this tool, you can make colors warmer or cooler, colorful or black and white, and you can adjust highlights, contrast, and shadows. 

Crop: This tool can fit your entire video into the playback window, crop it so that it fits into standard video dimensions, or use a "Ken Burns" effect. This means that you can set a starting point and ending point for the video so that it moves from one corner of the video to another as the video plays. This can be great for when you want to include still pictures in your video and still have some movement. 

Stabilization: This tool will fix shaky video, or video that has a lot of movement due to shaky hands holding the camera or having an unstable tripod. You can adjust the percentage of how heavily you want this effect to apply to your clip from 100% down to 0%. You can also select "Fix Rolling Shutter" to fix image distortion due to shakiness as well.

Volume: Here you can adjust the volume of your clip or lower the volume of all other clips, or click "Auto" to have iMovie attempt to edit the audio for you. 

Noise Reduction and Equalizer: This tool can reduce background noise in a video, such as buzzing and people talking in another room. You can adjust how heavily you want this tool to work from 100% down to 0%. You can also use the Equalizer to make the audio effect focus on a specific audio element of the clip. There are options to focus on voice, music, hum reduction, and many others. 

Speed: This tool can speed up or slow down your video, and can also create freeze frames. It can reverse video as well. If you select "Preserve pitch," the pitch changes that normally happen when you change the speed of a video will not occur. 

Filter: This tool will let you add fun filters to your video, such as sepia, black and white, vintage, and film grain. There are many other options as well. Audio effects will also let you add fun filters to make the audio sound like a robot. muffled, echoed, and more. 

Information: This last tool is not really an effect, but it lists the file name of the clip you have selected and tells you how long it is, along with the runtime of the entire movie. 

Below the right-hand video you will also see a small microphone on the left side of the play button. This is your Voiceover tool. To use it, move the playhead (the line that runs through your video on the timeline) to the spot where you want to add a voiceover, then click on the microphone. You can adjust settings to the right before you press record in the middle. 


Saving and Exporting

Saving: Head up to the "Projects" tab and click on it. A window will pop up asking you to name your project. Once you do this, it is saved!


Exporting: Head to the top right corner and click the button with the arrow coming out of the square, or go to File > Share. In both of these places, you can pick where to save to. The easiest and most versatile way to save is to create a file on your computer by choosing "File." A window will pop up where you can name your video, choose quality and resolution, and then proceed. A circle will appear at the top right, letting you know that your video is exporting as it slowly changes color. You will then get a notification when it is finished. And you're done!