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Create a Side by Side clip in iMovie

Play multiple clips onscreen at the same time by modifying iMovie’s Video Overlay settings

One way to make a stimulating video sequence is to play multiple clips simultaneously, courtesy of iMovie’s Side by Side video overlay setting. This enables you to share a montage of clips in a more interesting way than by simply cutting from one shot to the next. The Side by Side command is perfect for creating slick title sequences, or for enhancing dramas by showing the action unfold from different camera angles.

In this lesson we’ll demonstrate how to modify the Side by Side command to make clips slide in and out as they share the screen. You’ll also learn how to swap the position of clips so that you can see the appropriate half of each inserted shot when it shares the screen with a background clip.


1 Create new event

Go to File>New Event. Label the event ‘Side by Side’. Click Import Media. Browse to our source clips and Shift-click to select. Set the Import menu to Side by Side. Click Import Selected.


2 Add a cutaway

Double click on the ‘Bridge’ clip and drag it to the Timeline. Double click to select ‘Insert01’ and drag that to the Timeline. It will automatically be added as a cutaway clip that overlaps ‘Bridge’.


3 Choose Side by Side

Set the Cutaway drop-down menu above the main viewer to Side by Side. Click the Right button to place the inserted clip to the right of the frame. This suits its composition.


4 Create a smoother transition

Play the sequence. The two clips jump jarringly into position. Set Slide to one second. Now the clips slide smoothly into position as they share the screen simultaneously.


5 Add second clip

Trim three seconds from the end of ‘Insert01’ to shorten it. Add ‘Insert02’ as a second side-by- side clip. Trim two seconds from the end of that clip. Click the Left button.


6 Make it slide

Set the ‘Insert02’ clip’s Slide value to one second. Play the sequence. The two inserted clips slide in and out while the background sequence plays continuously.


7 Add a title

Click the Titles browser and drag the Line title onto the Timeline. Position the title and adjust its duration so that it appears over the two inserted side-by-side clips.


8 Modify the text

Modify the placeholder text to read ‘River Life’. Double click on the ‘Life’ text field and click the B icon to make it bolder. This text adds an extra layer of content.


9 Add music

Click on the Sound Effects browser and go to the Jingles folder. Drag a track such as daydream into the Timeline. Trim the end of the jingle to finish as the title sequences does.