How to use iMovie

Steps to create your own home movie

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

  • Video tapes (Hint: when on vacation get lots of clips with everyone dancing – this goes great with music later …)
  • Images (the higher the resolution, the better)
  • Awards / Certificates / Ribbons / Trophy Photographs
  • 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 for special places you’ve been
  • Stories that you or your children have written

Scan any non-digitized material

  • If you don’t own a scanner, they are pretty inexpensive (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 more), CD, or download from the web
  • Store in 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 it will tell you how much you need if you are falling short)
  • Tip: 10 Gig stores about an hour of raw video and sound

Edit all your still images / scans in iphoto and / or at the press

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

Open iMovie on your Mac computer

  • Tip: iMovie 6 is better than later versions in my opinion; they still have several quirks to solve and it takes 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 other still images that you have collected from your special movie folder to the media / photos section of iMovie
  • Drag and drop all the video clips and images you want onto the part of the timeline in iMovie in the order you want
  • Trim the video clips to the selected parts you want in the timeline viewer by clicking the clip and selecting the split video clip on the playhead (or Apple key and T) at the points you want to trim

Add transitions, Ken Burns, chapters, and titles if desired

  • 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 hit add
  • Click on the still image you want to add Ken Burns (pan or pan and zoom) while the media / photos panel is open and then click “show photo settings” – swipe to where you want the speed and how close and far you want to start and end of each image
  • Continue with your movie to the end.
  • Add at least one starting and ending title
  • Tip: keep transitions the same throughout the film for consistency (cross dissolve is best)
  • Tip: MAKE SURE you have all the videos and images you want before adding music and sound!
  • Add chapter markers by clicking on the clip / image you want the chapter marker to start and selecting markers / adding chapter marker (you can also view them by selecting the chapter marker button)

Add music

  • Look at your pictures and videos and decide which songs would fit
  • Tip: Google summer songs, Christmas music, sports music, etc. for any kind of music you want ( also has a list of music 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” with the music, you can view the sound waves in the sound clip and crop the still images at the points where the beat changes; however, this takes time and patience, so have a fresh cup of coffee!
  • Tip: Make sure your movie is within 20 minutes if you want to share it with others, longer and people start to get bored and distracted.

Export to iDVD

  • Click Share / iDVD
  • The movie will open in iDVD
  • If you have additional 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 additional features
  • You can also add a slideshow to your menu that you create in iphoto as an album by selecting “% 2B” in the lower left corner and dragging and dropping photos there.
  • iDVD has pre-selected music that plays with each track, 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 voila! You have a movie!
  • Put it in a DVD case for storage when you’re done; You can even print to printable DVDs these days and get fancy cases to add class!
  • Tip: This is huge-Instead of just burning directly to disc, select “save as disc image” and take the time (mine takes 3 hours to burn an edited 20 minute movie) to burn an image to your hard drive. This way if there is a problem 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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