3 iMovie tips for Mac users making movies with iPhones

Tips for Save box

Director Aaron Kaufman advises Balest during La Buena Muerte’s edit. I wonder if he knew about these tips?

You capture video with your iPhone, but use iMovie on a Mac because the application is capable of doing more complex edits on the computer. Here are three tips you’ll definitely need to know, if you don’t know them already.

Crop to zoom

I know that iPhone movies look better if you hold your iPhone in landscape view when you capture the video. And, like most people, I always forget to follow this advice.

There are some things you can do when you do film in portrait rather than landscape view, but you may be able to get a nice clip simply by following this tip:

  • Ingest the video into your Mac, probably by syncing Photos via iCloud.
  • Add the clip to your iMovie project and then select it in your Timeline
  • Click the Crop button above the Preview window
  • Select Crop to Fill and a preview window will appear above that clip – drag this window to show the best component of the video.
  • You can also zoom into elements of the image while in this mode.
  • When you’re done click the blue check mark above the box.

The video you captured in portrait mode will now be converted to a nicer to watch landscape view comprised of the elements of the video you chose.

Split that clip

Another thing most iPhone users do when filming is remember to turn their device to landscape view from portrait position half-way through filming.

This results in the creation of a clip part of which plays upside down.

The thing is, when it comes to editing that clip in iMovie the content may be fine (or at least redeemable) if you use the Crop to Fill control – but you will need to split the clips between the upside down and right way round views.

And this is simple:

  • In the Timeline, just right-click at the point you want to split the clip. Now you can edit all the elements of your clip, delete sections and more.

Don’t forget Instant Replay!

  • If there’s an element of the action you want to replay within a movie project, just hold down the R key and select the elements of the video you want to replay.
  • Next, move up to the iMovie menu and choose Modify>Instant Replay and set the speed of the replay, (10, 25, 50 or 100 percent).

iMovie will duplicate that portion of the clip and add it to the movie. The Modify> menu item also provides Slow Motion, Fast Forward and Rewind effects.

[Also read: The BBC’s tips for how to film movies with an iPhone]

Skip the chatter

The other thing we all do while filming is continue chatting to people we are with, the end result of which is a clip that may look fantastic but sound asinine.

The solution?

Delete the audio from the clips and then add a soundtrack.

To detach the audio from a clip, just right-click the clip in your Timeline and then select Detach Audio. The blue audio element of the clip will be detached and will appear as a green audio clip underneath the clip. You can now select that audio clip and delete it or move it elsewhere in your project.

You can also work with the audio in other ways, for example, when you add a soundtrack (tap Audio and use iTunes, Sound Effects or GarageBand as audio source).

If you just want to add a soundtrack to your movie but still want to hear what people are saying in the clip you don’t need to Detach the audio and can either use the audio level adjustment tools (the line running through each track under the Timeline) to raise and lower volume, or select a clip and then click the Lower Volume of other clips command to fade the music out when that particular clip plays – the music will play very quietly in the background.

These three iMovie hints should help you make something out of all the video you capture on your iPhone.

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Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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