MacMost Now 473: iMovie 11 Video Effects

iMovie 11 offers a variety of new special effects, most of which are shortcuts to existing features. You can quickly implement slow motion, instant replay, rewind, freeze frames and filters.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On todays episode let's look at some of the new special effects in iMovie 11. So you can find a variety of new special effects under the clip menu in iMovie 11. So, for instance, let's look at this clip here and start with a slow motion sequence. So we wanna pick out this section here, the slide and change that to a slow motion. Here, we can pick the speed. Just do it at 25% and what will happen is it will instantly just basically take that section here and slow it down. And then go back to normal speed, we can just watch the entire sequence here. Which is the quick way to insert slow motion into your video. So the next thing you can do is you can also pick out a segment in here and set it for an instant replay. So we'll select instant replay here, and speed and kind of similar to what we had before. If we watch the video now you see it can go full speed but then you see the entire thing and then it does the instant replay. So here you see the slide and then it plays it back. In addition you get this title here. This instant replay title, which you can edit to be whatever you want so just set it to replay for instance or you can remove it completely by selecting it and hitting delete and you still get the effect of the replayed slow motion here and then back to normal. Another thing you can do is you can do fast forward and you can basically do the opposite of what you did before. Just sort of speed up whats there so we can select the entire thing and select fast forward and say do 4 times. And all it does is basically change the speed here of the video. Matter of fact, if we bring up the inspector here we can look at the speed here and see if the speed has been changed to 400%. So nothing really new there. Just a quick way to do that. There's also the rewind which will take the section you have selected and duplicate it but put it in reverse so you can watch it. You see it for the first time there and then it's going to quickly rewind it and then you see it again. That's an interesting way to highlight something in your video. There's an interesting one here, the Fade to dream which takes the video, splits it where you had it selected and inserts a dream filter to it. So you can watch it here, it fades quickly to that dream filter. So the interesting thing about this effect is that you can select that area that was created and go into it and look at the video effects and notice that you can change that to any video effect that you want. So for instance, if you wanted to change it to a black and white, that's all you need to do and now I've got the same thing going on but it changes to black and white for that segment. So you can use these quick little fade to's and substitute your own filter not just one of these three. Now here's one that can highlight the specific moment like where the base is tagged right there. You can select special effect and then flash and hold last frame. And what this will do is it will stop the motion right there, transition quickly to a flash, freeze it and do a cropping effect. In this case Ken Burns, where it goes back to normal so you can watch it there and then the video continues. If you select that and hit c for cropping you can see there's the exact Ken Burns effect. You can actually customize it or change it to a fit or crop instead. Now we can watch it here. So you can also manually set a lot of different effects. Going into the clip inspector here and then you can select a video effect and there's a whole variety, these are really filters more than anything else. And then you can also change the speed to 800% or all the way down to 12.5% switch it to forward or reverse for the clip. You can even set a specific duration so, for instance, if you wanted this to be exactly 8 seconds long you could and it will figure out the percentage for you. So there's a look at some of the video effects that you can quickly implement in iMovie 11. Till next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 42 Responses to “MacMost Now 473: iMovie 11 Video Effects”

    11/5/10 @ 6:38 am


    Is there a way to layer video effects, for example, can I put a film grain effect with a vignette effect? I think one way is to just export the clip with one effect than add that new clip to the project and add an effect to that clip. Just wondering if you can select two or more video effects without having to go through all that trouble.


      11/5/10 @ 12:02 pm

      I believe you can. Just give it a try and report back… :)

    11/11/10 @ 3:51 am

    is there a program similar to magic bullet for i movie 011 ? Thanks

      11/11/10 @ 7:35 am

      No. iMovie doesn’t accept plug-ins. If you need something at that level, it is probably time to add Final Cut or Premiere.

        11/11/10 @ 2:44 pm

        Thanks a lot !!!

    4/23/11 @ 5:56 am

    can u suggest to me topics on which videos can be made?
    i’ve made one on football tricks already but i want to use this app more…..

    5/24/11 @ 5:11 pm

    Is there a way to have more then two clips playing at the same time in one picture? Side by Side effects allows two, but I’m looking to have more then that. Also, is there a transition where one video pushes the other out of the picture (so you see one video leaving while one arrives)? Thank you so much. Very much appreciated!

      5/24/11 @ 5:15 pm

      No, two is the limit. The only transitions are the ones you see there. It sounds like you might be ready to graduate to something else like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut.

    7/17/11 @ 6:48 pm

    I’m having trouble with getting a picture out of a video. I know you can add still frame to project but then how do you get the still frame into your documents?

      7/17/11 @ 6:51 pm

      No good way to do that anymore in iMovie. I would just view the video in QuickTime Player, pause it where you want. And then use screen capture keyboard shortcuts to grab it. Then paste it into your document.

    9/2/11 @ 1:11 pm

    Ok Im pissed!!! lol
    I can not locate the date and time title in imovie 10???
    Is it gone???

    I need that for my investigations lol

      9/2/11 @ 1:13 pm

      Date and time? Can you be more specific? Of Events? Of Projects? A titling effect? And which iMovie (there is no iMovie 10)?

    9/25/11 @ 11:45 am

    Gary –

    iMovie ’11 / 27″ iMac

    I have 3 WMP files that I want to convert to edit in iMovie. The files will all be compiled into one project. I simply want to have the option to speed up the entire project clip as a whole.

    I first converted the WMPs to MP4s. When I select the entire clip of the project (even after stabilizing) I do not get any option in the Video/Clip adjustment tabs to slow or speed it up. I think this is due to it being MP4.

    Is there a specific file type for iMovie ’11 that can be sped up or slowed down when added to a project?

    I want to know what file format to convert the WMP files to so I will have the option when importing into iMovie.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

      9/25/11 @ 4:49 pm

      Perhaps you simply didn’t enabled Advanced Tools in the iMovie prefs? Or, maybe when you imported the videos you didn’t choose to import them as “optimized.”

    10/2/11 @ 1:40 am

    Is there an effect for picture in picture and greenscreen?
    I saw it in other videos but I can’t add a part of my video over the other part…
    Please help!

      10/2/11 @ 10:37 am

      I don’t think you can do both at the same time. Other videos are probably using something more powerful than iMovie. Or, they do the Green Screen first, export, and then do the picture-in-picture in a new project using the exported video.

    12/8/11 @ 7:14 pm

    How do you highlight just one person or do something to emphasize that person

    12/14/11 @ 1:57 pm

    Gary I have inserted the circle around the player however when I press play to view the video the circle does not appear. Any suggestions?
    Thank you

      12/14/11 @ 2:07 pm

      Hard to tell what might be wrong from afar. Just check and recheck everything.

    David Lennon
    1/26/12 @ 10:18 pm

    Hi Gary,

    Why can’t I change the speed on video clips taken w/ my iPhone 4s? Apple’s help section says “must be converted before making a speed change”, however I see no prompt as they suggest should exist to convert the video. Nor do they allude to what you are supposed to be converting to.

    Help!! My little boy is anxious to see his movie trailer!

    Thanks so much,

      1/26/12 @ 11:24 pm

      You should be able to change the speed on iPhone videos without a problem. Just go to change the speed and see what it says. If it asks for you to convert them, just press the button. It does it for you.

        1/27/12 @ 8:54 pm

        10-4. I figured out that apparently there are restrictions when you’re using the trailer templates. I was trying to manipulate one of those and I presume they have set parameters. When I tried a new project of my own it gave me every option, including the elusive conversion button & speed adjustment.
        Thanks for your reply and your GREAT site!

    2/12/12 @ 12:41 pm


    3/26/12 @ 7:47 am

    Hi there! This is kind of off topic but not exactly..

    I’m making a video in imovie 08 and basically what I want to do is take footage from two different videos and sort of put them together and blend the image to give it a special effect (I suppose it’s what they call video in video). Now obviously imovie 08 doesn’t support that so I was wondering if you could suggest any easy and free (or not) mac program to do this with while I work the rest of the project in imovie 08!

    Thanx in advance! x

      3/26/12 @ 8:18 am

      If what you want is in iMovie 11, then why not get iMovie 11? It is very cheap.

        3/27/12 @ 10:12 am

        Cause I’d have to get Lion as well.. I’m on 10.5.8

          3/27/12 @ 10:31 am

          Technically, you could get Snow Leopard. The requirements for iLife 11 are Snow Leopard.

    Eric Hempsall
    4/7/12 @ 10:56 am

    Hi, I’m trying to do a white flash between clips. I used to be able to do this on older versions of imovie, but I can’t figure out how to do with imovie ’11. The only option I find is to do a white flash which then holds on the final frame of the video for a few seconds. Not what I want to do. I want a white flash as a transition between two clips. Thanks for your help.

    Charles Barker
    4/24/12 @ 5:11 pm

    Hi Gary,

    I’m trying to get an effect in iMovie 11 where I can have text (in bulletin style) on one half of the screen while the other half has video. I’m working on a voiceover piece similar to the following video ( and I would like to recreate the same effect. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Joe O
    4/27/12 @ 12:32 pm

    I was wondering what happened to the control of the effects?
    EX: starting with a photo adding ken burns and slowly fading in/ adding a sepia filter/effect to it? all in one shot?
    Am I missing something?
    Thanks Brutha

      4/27/12 @ 2:48 pm

      All in one shot? Not sure what you mean by that. You can do all of those things at once if you like, yes. Just implement each of the parts: sepia, ken burns, transition fade.

        5/18/12 @ 9:27 pm

        Hi Again,
        Sorry I guess I meant the “effect” In and Out point.
        Ex: starting a full color picture with a ken burns effect, while moving becoming a sepia tone picture at the end of the transition or ken burns effect.
        Does that Make sense?

          5/19/12 @ 3:55 pm

          So gradually go from normal to sepia? I’m pretty sure there is no way to do that in iMovie. You’ll need to graduate to something more pro for that.

    6/22/12 @ 1:43 pm

    Hi Gary i have a question..
    I was wondering if in Imovie 11 we can flash a scene of a clip so it goes with the beat of the song?

    7/25/12 @ 7:15 pm

    Hello Gary- I am making a highlight video of a soccer play on iMovie 11. Wanted to see if there is a way to highlight only him in a clip when he is on the field so we know who we are supposed to be watching in the clip. Or even if you can put a circle around him or an arrow?

    8/10/12 @ 6:48 am

    You have got great videos! Thanks so much! I will probably be watching a lot more. I just got a new 15 inch quad core i7. I finally upgraded from a 2005 13 inch core duo running Tiger! So there is a lot of new things I don’t know how to do. I make videos so your iMovie vids will help. thanks!

    9/26/12 @ 10:06 am


    How can I convert files from a Canon GL2 Camcorder with a green screen to iMovie, and then put the image on the green screen? And what file type, like mp3 or mp4, would be best?

Comments Closed.