iMovie Transitions

Learn how to put transitions between your video clips in iMovie. You can specify exactly where each transition starts and ends with the precision editor. You can also quickly apply transitions with a keyboard shortcut or have them automatically fill in as you add more clips. Special iMovie themes have custom transitions that work in special ways.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: iMovie Transitions.

Hi this is Gary with Let's take a look at using Transitions in iMovie.

So I am using iMovie 10 here. I have a sample project where I have just dragged three clips into the project timeline. You can see there are no transitions between them. Just these black bars which means going from one to the other it is just a quick snap transition right there. Nothing fancy about it. I want to add some transitions to make it go a little smoother between these clips.

So to bring up Transitions I go to the Content Library and I click on Transitions. If you don't see this left sidebar then you have to show it using this button up here. The transitions appear here and you can see kind of little previews of what they look like and you can even scrub left and right and see this preview area here will show them.

If you want to use a transition, like say let's use the Doorway transition right here, all you need to do is drag it and put it in-between some of these. You can see it actually goes to both sides of this clip here. If I wanted it to only go onto one, undo, I can simply drag and drop it right in here like that and then I can drag and drop another type of transition here. Now I've got some more interesting colorful transitions between these clips.

For instance we can see what it looks like now using this Doorway transition between this one and this one.

Now for more exact control over these we can go into the Precision Editor. So let's select this transition here and under Window we can go to Show Precision Editor. It is quicker to do Command/. Now we can drag these clips left and right here to change where the transition occurs in each clip. In addition to that we can even lengthen the duration of the transition. So now it is longer between it.

If we select the transition here we can, we'll just double click and close it, and select the transition, go to the adjust menu here I N you can see exactly how long the transition is for the swap. Then I can go and change it to say four seconds instead of six. As long as I go to less and there is plenty of space here in this transition, extra space here and extra space here, I can go more as well. So, for instance, you can see there is at least a second on either side. So if I were to close that up I could go to five seconds. But if I tried to go to ten seconds there is not enough video to cover so you can see is just concatenates it to 8.4 seconds, the maximum it can go. Then I could go into Precision Editor if I want and add more time to either side if I want to increase it.

Now if you want to remove a transition you can select it and hit the Delete key on the keyboard.

If you want to add a quick transition one thing you can do is select the clip there and then you can go, under the Edit menu, to the Command T command there which will add the default transition for the theme. This theme is no theme for this movie here so Cross Dissolve is going to be the default. I do Command T and you can see it adds it to both sides. If I were to select the end of a clip like that, just click on it and you see that little white line there, I can do Command T and you can see it adds exactly to the beginning but not to the end there.

You can also make transitions automatic. Let's go to look at the Movie Properties or just use Command J and go to Settings and I can turn on Automatic Content. One of the things it does is it adds the default transition for the theme, in this case Cross Dissolve, to every spot a transition can go into.

Now if we were to look at adding another clip in here, let's say add this one, add it to the end and it would a transition there at the end. So you can keep adding clips now and it will always use that default transition as long as you are using automatic content there.

You can also set the default time for a transition here. It was set to one second before and we can change that to something a little more if we wanted to and then it would automatically have each transition that.

If you wanted to select all the transitions in the video you can do that with Edit and then Select a Movie and you can select Transitions and you can see it selects all those transitions there. So I can do some adjustments with all the transitions now that are selected at once.

So one more thing about transitions. I've gone in here to the Project Settings and I've changed the theme to Scrapbook. When you use one of these specialized themes you get a different set of transitions here at the top that are special for that theme. I've applied one of them here. Now when I select it you can see these little numbers here. That is because the transition uses all these different little still frames from the video to populate the transition. Here I've got exactly where it is taking those from. So if I want I can adjust it so I can have the fourth part come from somewhere else and the sixth part come from somewhere else and it will eventually update. You can see it updating right here to change which of these still frames are put inside of which of these photos. Several of different themes have transitions like this so when you select them you see these numbers that is what they are.

Comments: 4 Responses to “iMovie Transitions”

    Marc Lavin
    5 years ago

    I am making a slideshow and playing around with the different themes. I had put in the “scrapbook” theme and it applied the specialized transitions for that theme in different places throughout the slideshow. The problem is that when I change the theme to something different, it still has the “scrapbook” transitions embedded throughout. How do I get rid of them? Do I have to remove them individually? And then when I go to another theme, I can’t always get the new themes specialty transitions?

    5 years ago

    Before Imovie 10.0 if we had no transitions between photos in a slideshow the ken burns effects from one photo to another would smoothly move from one photo to the next. Now, for each photo the ken burns effect starts and finishes completely before the transition to the next photo, i.e., I cannot have a smoothly transition from one photo to another without adding a transition. And I cannot simply find where to remove the transition “space” between each photo. Any hint? Thanks in advance.

      5 years ago

      Go to Movie Settings (Command+J an then Settings button) and change the default Photos Placement from Zoom to something else. Then when you add photos, it won’t have the Ken Burns Effect set automatically. For existing photos, select them and edit the properties to remove the Ken Burns Effect and set it to Fit or Crop.

Comments Closed.