MacMost Now 427: Creating iMovie Templates

You can create iMovie projects that serve as templates for a future video or series. You can include titles, sequences and placeholders. Instead of starting from scratch with a new video project, you can then duplicate the template.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with Mac Most Now. On today's episode, lets look at creating your own iMovie template. So you have themes in iMovie, but you're just stuck with the few Apple gives you, you can't create your own. A lot of people ask me how I create these videos with having the same opening and closing credits and do I recreate a new movie each time. Actually, I have a template system where I basically have a sample iMovie project that has all the basics in it and I simply duplicate it for each episode. Let me show you. So lets say I am going to create a series of videos and I'm going to use the same opening and closing for each one. I've actually got in here in an iMovie event I have the opening sequence for MacMost and the closing sequence. So instead of dragging and dropping them into each new episode, I create a template where I put each of these into a sample movie like this and I do various things that I'm going to need. Like for instance, I know I'm going to want a titling sequence at the beginning so I'm going to do a lower third here, and this will be just before the opening credits. I'm just going to put a black background to it and I kinda put my name in here. And then I've got some transitions I'm going to add. Cross dissolve here and I also know I'm going to use videos that are going to go in between these, but I'm not going to worry about that for the template. So I've got this opening bit here that I don't want to recreate every time so I'm simply going to save this as a template. And you can see here the project is called "Template" and its right there and its a great starting point for creating each episode of MacMost or creating a series of videos that you may be making. So now, all I'm going to do to start a new project, instead of pressing the plus button here or file, new project I'm going to control click or right click on this project here and I'm going to select duplicate project. And then I'm going to rename it for whatever I want. Once I've renamed it, I go into it and now I can edit this video and customize it for how I want. One of the neat things you could do is...see I've got this area here that's just a black background with a title over it, I can take a video and I can drag and drop that onto it and select replace, to replace the blank spot there with what I want. So I can actually create these placeholders. You can even create more placeholders by using the titling here and simply dragging and dropping a bit onto it. And you can just select and get rid of the title itself, leaving this blank area here for you to fill in with something else. And if you want to get creative, you can actually create little images, say in Photoshop or something that say what the name of what you want in there like "Intro Sequence" or you know "commentary" or whatever and you would actually see that appear there on the screen in that clip and know that that's what you're supposed replace it. So you can actually create a template for somebody else to use that has markers telling them what they should put in each spot. You could put all sorts of different things in your template. Even things you don't think you might need in every single episode or whatever you're making. For instance, you can drag and drop some images, some different titling sequences in there, simply duplicate the template and then delete the part that you don't want and start off the new project. So I hope you liked this look at how I use iMovie with templates. Til next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 27 Responses to “MacMost Now 427: Creating iMovie Templates”

    7/21/10 @ 8:57 am

    Gary – really great piece. You’re thinking out of the ‘box’ – I like it!

    Edward Walsh
    7/22/10 @ 6:57 am

    Hi Gary:

    I really found this episode very interesting as I enjoy doing video editing, etc. Presently I am confined to doing it in Windows :-( until I am able to replace my computer in September/October with a 27″ iMac.

    That being said, I was wondering if the info you provide in this episode (all episodes for that fact) is discussed in your publication “Guide to Switching to the Mac”? Looking at the list of contents for your book it does cover iMovie, iPhoto, etc. but like most books I am thinking that it is the usual ‘basic’ features that make it to print. Or am I wrong (which I hope)?

    Thanks as always. Really glad I found your site as I begin my transition back to Mac.

    All the best….

    Edward Walsh
    Marystown, Newfoundland

      7/22/10 @ 7:04 am

      The MacMost Guide to Switching to the Mac is a beginners book, yes. Not all of the topics I cover in videos are in the book. And there are some topics I cover in the book that I have never done a video about.

    7/22/10 @ 9:18 am

    I watched this episode yesterday and I was like, [forehead slap] – If I had known about this months ago, I could have saved myself SO MUCH TIME!! So thanks for posting this. I’m about to start production on another batch of videos and it is going to save me SO MUCH TIME!!

    Matt Thomas
    7/26/10 @ 11:28 am

    I am a youtubber and a mac user, this will be a good way, thanks for this video.. I watch everything you have made.. awesome job

    10/24/10 @ 6:16 am

    thanks Gary, I can definitely use this !!!!

    10/30/10 @ 10:49 pm

    Thank you. This solved a problem I had been trying to work out-Thanks :)

    11/16/10 @ 6:25 pm

    Thanks, Gary! You are awesome! Your videos are so helpful and this one is no exception. I’ve learned a lot.

    1/9/11 @ 4:47 pm

    you rock!

    3/16/11 @ 5:16 am

    Hi Gary, thanks for the video. Question on importing videos into iMovie 11: I use Handbrake to convert the m2ts videos from my Sony HDR-SR12 camcorder so that I can import the movies/clips into iMovie. Once I start importing the movies into iMovie, which usually takes 8 to 10 hrs, the screensaver/display does not go to sleep even though the settings is configured for a minute. The importing of movies is taking longer as I am importing Soccer games. Apple support told me that the iMac not sleeping during the import is normal, as iMovie is using the graphics card. Any suggestions?

      3/16/11 @ 6:37 am

      Sounds right to me. 8 to 10 hours? Wow. When you convert in Handbrake, what are you converting to? Maybe try converting to something as close as possible to what iMovie uses. So the iMovie import doesn’t take as long because there is less to do.

    Coach Rollie
    4/1/11 @ 6:50 pm

    Thank you for this! It’s going to save me so much time when doing my workout videos for my site. I wish I would have found this about a month ago. I was manually recreating the intro titles each time. Thanks again!

    7/29/11 @ 3:36 pm

    You posted a link to this on a different thing and said it was all about how you put pre-recorded videos into a imovie!! But guess what hahaha its NOT! Can you please make a video on just that cause you said you did before and haha you DIDN’T!

      7/29/11 @ 4:09 pm

      I’m not sure what link you are referring to. Can you explain what, exactly, you are looking for and I will try to help.

    9/26/11 @ 1:06 pm

    Hi Gary, just purchased my first mac, can you recommend any great spots for free downloads of additional iMovie themes and/or trailers. I watch your video and will try to create my own…but curious to know if there are ways to increase the limited options that came with the mac.

      9/26/11 @ 2:11 pm

      You really can’t add any “themes” to iMovie.

    Eric S.
    9/28/11 @ 7:33 am

    This is great! We make our videos with a intro and outro video sequence. I have been dragging both clips into each new project. This will defiantly save some time. Thanks!

    10/23/11 @ 6:17 pm

    Hi Gary. Thanks for the great videos. I’ve run into a problem with iMovie 11 and titles in projects that I’ve duplicated. I currently have 4 versions of a movie (my own versioning system for when I’m making major changes and may want to go back to the previous version) Even though I duplicate the most recent version of the movie, the title text always reverts to the original project’s title text. The video, audio, and photos are fine – it’s just that the title modifications aren’t being saved. Any thoughts?

      10/23/11 @ 6:36 pm

      I’ve seen that happen before, but only a few times. I Duplicate projects all the time so I know it works fine most of the time. There is probably something that triggers it, but I don’t know what.

    11/23/11 @ 2:58 am

    Thx for your suggestion.

    Dante Hamilton
    1/13/12 @ 7:39 pm

    Gary, do you know where or how I can create a great Crowd Funding iMovie template? For instance say I was about to post a project on But I needed to make a “kick-ass” video. Is there a template somewhere that I can use for making this type of video in iMovie? If not, can I make one?

      1/13/12 @ 9:21 pm

      I’m not sure what you are looking for. A video like that would be like anything else you would make — you create something to fit the content, to tell the story, whatever. I don’t see how a template would be useful there.

    Rick fry
    3/31/12 @ 10:52 am

    Imovies trailor. Do you know how to customise or create new iMovie trailors. I want to set a challenge for a group to produce an iMovie trailor and there is not one that I like

      3/31/12 @ 12:05 pm

      I’m not quite sure I understand what you mean. You can produce all sorts of iMovie trailers. Maybe you mean templates for those trailers? If so, no, you can’t make your own templates. You have to use one of the built-in templates. If you don’t want to use those, just start a blank iMovie project and build something from scratch.

        Rick fry
        3/31/12 @ 3:17 pm

        Yes I do mean templates for the trailers. Its a shame if it can’t be done because so many people could make trailer templates. One day they might open this up.

        Thanks for your prompt reply

    6/4/12 @ 9:30 am

    Thank you, Gary! This was incredibly helpful! We are launching a massive, video review website and being able to implement a generic template for each video saves about 4-5min per video. Multiply that times 1,000 and we have a LOT of saved hours :-)

    6/12/12 @ 11:47 am

    This was very helpful and clear. Thanks for the information!

Comments Closed.