How to use iMovie

Steps to create your own home movie

Gather all the visual material you want to include in your movie:

  • Videotapes (Tip: when you’re on vacation, get lots of clips with everyone dancing – this goes great with the music later…)
  • Images (the higher the resolution, the better)
  • Awards/Certificates/Ribbons/Trophy Photos
  • theater tickets
  • Traffic tickets for humor if you wish (you can record your voice and explain your side of the story and insert it into iMovie along with your image)
  • Receipts from special places you’ve been
  • Stories that you or your children have written

Scan any non-digitized material

  • If you don’t have a scanner, they’re pretty cheap (we just bought a $30 scanner/printer/copier on sale at Wally World)
  • Kinkos or a local copy shop (yes, even WalMart) can scan items for you to store on a flash drive (500M or larger), CD, or to download from the web
  • Save it to a special movie folder created for this special project on your computer (make sure you have enough space to store AND to work with; iMovie will tell you how much you need if you’re running low on space)
  • Tip: 10 Gig stores about an hour of raw video and sound

Edit all your still images/scans in iphoto and/or printshop

  • Double-click the images you want in iphoto and use the editing tools to remove red eye, enhance dark photos/images, create blurry edges, retouch parts of images, etc.
  • At the print shop you can create special borders, soft borders, multi-image collages, different backgrounds, decorative lines and borders, reduce red-eye, remove facial blemishes, reduce pet eyes, remove scratches, and more.

Open iMovie on your Mac computer

  • Hint: In my opinion, iMovie 6 is better than later versions: it still has several quirks to work out, and it needs a huge hard drive to make it work.
  • Connect your camcorder to your computer with a firewire (USB if necessary, but firewire has better quality)
  • Watch your videos on your computer from your camcorder and import the clips you want
  • Import all the other still images you’ve collected from your special movies folder into iMovie’s Media/Photos section
  • Drag and drop all the video clips and images you want to the part of the timeline in iMovie in the order you want
  • Trim video clips to the selected parts you want in the timeline viewer by clicking the clip and selecting the split video clip in the playhead (or Apple key and T) at the points you want to trim

Add Transitions, Ken Burns, Chapters and Titles if you want

  • Click on the image/clip you want to add transitions or title to and select the edit button then transitions or titles and scroll through the different options until you have what you want and press add
  • Click the still image you want to add Ken Burns to (motion or pan and zoom) while the media/photo panel is open, then click “Show Photo Settings” – swipe to where you want the speed and how fast. near and far you want to start and end of each image
  • Continue through your movie to the end
  • Add a start and end title at least
  • Hint: keep the transitions the same throughout the movie for consistency (cross dissolve is best)
  • Tip: MAKE SURE you have all the videos and images you want prior to adding music and sound!
  • Add chapter markers by clicking on the clip/image where you want the chapter marker to start and selecting markers/add chapter marker (you can also see them by selecting the chapter marker button)

add music

  • Look at your pictures and videos and decide which songs would fit
  • Tip: Search Google for summer songs, Christmas music, sports music, etc. for any kind of music you want ( also has a list of musical ideas)
  • Tip: iLife has great background music options to choose from (select iLife media/audio/sound effects and scroll until you find what you want)
  • If you want your movie to “move” to the music, you can view the sound waves in the sound clip and crop the still images at points where the beat changes. However, this takes time and patience, so have a cup of coffee ready!
  • Hint: make sure your movie is within 20 minutes if you want to share it with others, longer and people will start to get bored and distracted.

Export to iDVD

  • Click Share/iDVD
  • The movie will open in iDVD
  • If you have extra raw and unedited footage that you want to include, you can click on media/movies and select the movie you want to add from a menu of extra features.
  • You can also add a slideshow to your menu that you create in iphoto as an album by selecting “%2B” in the bottom left corner and dragging and dropping photos there.
  • iDVD has preset music that plays with each theme, but you can change it to your own audio clip from any of your iTunes movies, audio clips, or music.

burn your dvd

  • When you’re happy with your project, click File/Burn DVD… insert a blank DVD and you’re done. You have a movie!
  • Put it in a DVD case to store when you’re done; you can even print on printable DVDs these days and get fancy slipcases to add class!
  • Advice: this is huge-instead of just burning directly to disc, select “save as disc image” and take the time (it takes me 3 hours to burn a 20 minute edited movie) to burn an image to your hard drive. This way, if there are any mishaps in the recording, you don’t have to start over and it also checks each disc so you don’t have to look at it to see if it works.

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