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How to Use iMovie

Steps to Create Your Very Own Homemade Movie

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

  • Video tapes (Tip: when on vacation get lots of clips with everyone dancing-this goes great with music later…)
  • Pictures (the higher resolution-the better)
  • awards/certificates/ribbons/pictures of trophies
  • Theater tickets
  • Traffic tickets for humor if you want (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 you or your children have written

Scan in any undigitized material

  • If you don’t own a scanner, they’re quite inexpensive (we just bought a scanner/printer/copier for $30 on sale at Wally World)
  • Kinkos or a local copy shop (yes, even WalMart) can scan in items for you to store on a flash drive (500M or bigger), CD or to be downloaded 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 will tell you how much you need if you’re running short)
  • Tip: 10 Gig stores about one hour of unedited video and sound

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

  • Double click on images you want in iphoto and use the editing tools to eliminate red eye, enhance dark photos/images, create blurred edges, retouch portions of images, etc.
  • In printshop you can create special edges, soft edges, collages from several pictures, different backgrounds, decorative lines and borders, reduce red eye, get rid of facial imperfections, reduce pet eye, get rid of scratches, and more

Open iMovie on your Mac computer

  • Tip: iMovie 6 is better in my opinion than later versions-they still have several quirks to work out and you need a huge hard drive to make it work
  • Connect your camcorder to your computer with a firewire (USB if you must, but firewire has better quality)
  • Watch your videos on your computer from your camcorder and import clips you want
  • Import all other still images you have gathered up from your special movie folder into the media/photo section of iMovie
  • Drag and drop all video clips and images you want onto the timeline portion in iMovie in the order you want
  • Trim video clips to selected portions you want in the timeline viewer by clicking on clip and selecting split video clip at playhead (or apple key and T) at points you want to trim

Add Transitions, Ken Burns, Chapters and Titles if desired

  • Click on image/clip that you want to add transitions or title to and select editing button, then transitions or titles and scroll through the different choices until you have what you want and press add
  • Click on still image you want to add Ken Burns (motion or pan & zoom) while media/photos pane is open and then click “show photo settings”-slide to where you want the speed and how close and far you want beginning and ending of each image
  • Continue through your movie until the end
  • Add a beginning and an ending title at the very least
  • Tip: Keep transitions the same throughout the movie for consistency (cross dissolve is the best)
  • Tip: Make SURE you have all the video and images as you want before adding music and sound!
  • Add Chapter markers by clicking on clip/image you want chapter marker to start and selecting markers/add chapter marker (you can view them also by selecting chapter marker button)

Add Music

  • Look at your images and videos and decide what songs would fit
  • Tip: Google summer songs, holiday music, sports music, etc. for whatever type of music you want ( has a list of music ideas too)
  • Tip: iLife has some great background music choices to choose from (select media/audio/iLife sound effects and scroll through until you find what you want)
  • If you want to make your movie “move” with the music you can see the sound waves in the sound clip and trim still images at points where the beat changes-this takes time and patience though, so have a fresh cup of coffee ready!
  • Tip: Make sure your movie is within 20 minutes if you want to share it with others, any longer than this and people start getting bored and distracted.

Export to iDVD

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

Burn Your DVD

  • When you’re satisfied with your project, click on File/Burn DVD…insert a blank DVD and voila! You have yourself a movie!
  • Place in a DVD case for safekeeping when finished-you can even print on printable DVD’s these days and get fancy cases to add class!
  • Tip: This is huge-instead of just burning straight to a disc, select “save as disc image” and take the time (it takes mine 3 hours to burn a 20 minute movie edited) to burn an image on your hard drive. This way if there’s a hiccup in your burning you don’t have to start over and it also verifies each disk so you don’t have to watch it to see if it works.

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