Tech

How to Create an iMovie Project

Import videos, photos and music to create your first movie

It’s easy to create movies on Mac computers using iMovie. However, until you have successfully made your first film, the process can be daunting. Follow these instructions to start your first iMovie project.

Step 1: Gather your video, images, and sound

The first step to editing videos with iMovie is to gather all the necessary items on your Mac:

  • Video
  • Images
  • sounds
  • iMovie app

If the iMovie app is not already installed on your computer, download iMovie from the Mac App Store.

Identify the video you want to use for your iMovie and move it to the Photos app on your Mac. Connect your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or camcorder to your Mac and import the video into the Photos app.

You can also upload your video to a service like Dropbox or Google One Drive and then download it to your Mac.

Identify the images or sounds you want to use in your iMovie. Put pictures in the Photos & Sounds app in Apple Music (or iTunes if you’re using an older operating system).

Step 2: Create your iMovie project

Before you start editing, you need to open, name, and save your project:

Start iMovie and select the Projects language.

To select create a new.

iMovie with Create New Highlight

To select Movie to combine video, pictures and music into a movie. The app switches to the project screen and gives your movie a generic name, like my movie 1.

iMovie with Movie highlighted

Use the back arrow to go back to the Projects and enter a name for your movie to replace the generic name. To select OKAY to save the project.

iMovie with project back arrow and Name field highlighted

To access your current movie project for editing at any time, select Projects then select your movie from your list of saved projects.

Step 3: Import your video to iMovie

Earlier, you transferred your video to the Mac. It should reside in the Videos album in your Photos app.

Open your project and select Images in the menu on the left.

iMovie project with highlighted photos

To select albums and navigate to the location of your video.

iMovie Project with Featured Albums

Choose the video you want to include in your movie. Drag and drop the clip onto the work area, which is called chronology.

iMovie project with an arrow indicating to drag the video to the timeline

Step 4: Import photos to iMovie

When your digital photos are already stored in Photos on your Mac, it’s easy to import them into your iMovie project.

In your iMovie project, go to Images.

Browse through your images and drag an image you want to use onto the timeline. Place it where you want it to appear in the movie.

iMovie project with Photos highlighted and an arrow pointing to drag the photo to the timeline

Drag any additional photos onto your timeline.

iMovie project with an arrow pointing to slide the photo into the timeline

Step 5 – Add audio to your iMovie

Although you don’t need to add music to your video, music sets the mood and adds a professional touch. iMovie makes it easy to access the music and audio mix already stored in iTunes on your computer.

Select the Audio language.

iMovie project with the Audio tab highlighted

Scroll through the music list. To preview a song, select it and click Cheek.

Select a song and drag it to your timeline. It appears below video clips and photos.

iMovie project with a song dragged onto the timeline

If the music is longer than the movie, trim it by clicking the audio track in the timeline and dragging the right edge to match the ends of the clips above.

Step 5: Watch your video

At this point, you have added all the elements you want. To preview your movie:

Move the cursor over the clips in the timeline; you will see a vertical line indicating your location.

Place the vertical line at the beginning of your first video clip on the timeline. The first box will expand into the largest editing section of the screen.

iMovie project with a highlighted vertical line at the beginning of the movie

Click it Cheek icon below the large image to preview the movie you have so far, complete with music.

iMovie project with the Play button highlighted

Step 6: Add effects to your movie

If you like, add effects to your movie using the effects that cross the top of the preview screen. (Your project is saved as you work.)

Effects include:

  • Adjust color, skin tone, or white balance.
  • Change the saturation or color temperature.
  • Crop a photo or apply a Ken Burns effect.
  • Stabilize shaky video.
  • Adjust the sound volume.
  • Reduce background noise.
  • Change the speed of the video or run it in reverse.
  • Choose from a wide selection of audio clips and effects.

To add a voiceover, select the microphone in the lower left corner of the movie preview screen and start speaking.

Step 7: Share your movie

It’s easy to share your movie via email, YouTube or Facebook.

Select the Projects then select the icon for your movie project.

iMovie with project tab and movie selected

To select Later (Three points).

iMovie project with More (three dots) highlighted

To select Share the project.

iMovie project menu with Share Project highlighted

To select Email. Your mail application will open and you will be able to send the movie to the email addresses of your choice.

iMovie project options with Email highlighted

Or select Share the project > YouTube and Facebook and follow the prompts to upload to YouTube or share on Facebook.

iMovie project options with YouTube and Facebook highlighted

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