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How to fine-tune your iMovie transitions on your Mac

Take control over the speed and duration of your iMovie video transitions and perfect their timings

MainWhen you drop clips into the timeline, iMovie cuts from one clip to another. By adding transitions you can wipe, dissolve or ripple between clips and make them flow more effectively. However, transitions can obscure particular actions if they occur too near the start (or end) of a clip, so we’ll demonstrate how to fine-tune the start or end point of a transition so that key events in the adjacent clips aren’t obscured.

In this nine-step walkthrough we’ll also show you how to change the duration of transitions to create slow relaxing links from one clip to the next, or produce faster transitions that complement the movement of subjects in a shot (such as a vertical wipe that follows the movement of flying birds, for example).


Step 1

1 Import assets

Choose File>New Event. Label the event. Click the Create button. Choose Movie. Choose No Theme. Click Create. Click Import. Browse to our folder of source clips. Click Import Selected.

Step 2

2 Add two clips

Double-click to select ‘water’ and ‘close’, then drag them to the Timeline. The shots cut from one to the next. The combined duration for the two shots is a total of 25.6 secs.

Step 3

3 Add Ripple transition

In the Content Library panel, click on Transitions. Drag a Ripple between the two shots in order to add a transition that complements their water- themed contents.

Step 4

4 Increase transition duration

For a slower transition, double-click on the transition icon in the Timeline. Type a Duration of 4.0 sec. Click Apply. A warning box will appear, saying the clips will be shortened. Click OK.

Step 5

5 New duration

Notice that the programme’s total duration is now 4.0 seconds shorter at 21.6. This is because iMovie has overlapped 4.0 seconds of footage to create its slower and longer transition.

Step 6

6 Add birds clip

Add the ‘birds’ shot to the Timeline. Add a 3.0 sec Cross Dissolve between the ‘close’ and ‘birds’ clips. After the dissolve finishes, too much time elapses before the birds fly into the shot.

Step 7

7 Fine-tune the timing

Click at the start of the ‘birds’ clip and drag the cursor right to trim 1.5 seconds from the start of the clip. Now the birds will fly into the frame as soon as the dissolve finishes.

Step 8

8 Match the action

Add the ‘reflection’ shot. Add a Wipe Up transition. Trim the end of the ‘birds’ shot by 7.02 seconds so that the wipe moves up to chase them as they fly out of the frame.

Step 9

9 Cut with continuity

Add ‘swan wide’ and ‘swan close’. Click on ‘swan wide’ and click Adjust. Click Video effects. Use the Flipped effect to make the swan look in the same direction as it does in the last clip.

Click Image to Enlarge: