For several months I have been using Final Cut Pro for all my movie needs. It has some amazing features, and can help you to make movies that are a notch above what you can make with iMovie. But, a few days ago I had to use iMovie at work. Amazingly, I had forgotten just how good iMovie actually is in helping you to make great movies.
This article won’t go through using the built in themes – as that is almost too easy to figure out for yourself. This article is going to look at some of the more advanced tools built right into iMovie.
Firstly, you have to show your iMovie preferences. Do that from the menubar by choosing iMovie > Preferences (or just press cmd + , ). From the General tab, check the “Show Advanced Tools” option. You can now close the Preferences window.
This will allow you to do a little more with you movies than simply cutting your scenes and putting them together. Normally, in iMovie, you can add clips one after another. You can pull a song off your iTunes library and then create a soundtrack for your clips. But now that you’ve enabled the Advnaced tools, you can do a whole lot more with your movies.
Let’s say you have a movie being created on your timeline. You want to now insert a movie on top of your current movie to create a picture in picture type scenario. Simply pick up the clip from your Events browser in iMovie, and drag it on top of the movie you are editing in your timeline.
You will now be presented with the following popup window:
What you can now see is that with the advanced tools enabled, you have a lot more power at your fingertips. Look at the first 4 options. You can do replaces or inserts just by dragging in your Movie clip. You can choose just to take the audio, which is great if you want to replace the sound of a movie clip with another clip’s audio. You can choose Picture in Picture or Side by Side. Both of these features are great if you are making some sort of documentary or factual movie. The last 2 choices are my favourite, and means that you can act in from of a Green Screen or Blue screen. You can then pick up that movie clip and drop it on a suitable background. iMovie will then try to remove the green / blue background, leaving the subject matter superimposed on the background movie.
It’s worth experimenting with the advanced tools in iMovie. In the next few articles we’ll go through some actual examples of the advanced tools, and how they can lift ordinary movies into something quite special. Until then, fire up your iMovie and experiment!