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How to master audio & video effects in iMovie

Enhance your edited footage by adding slick post-production audio and video effects

If your project’s source clips were shot on a dull day, they might look drab and suffer from a flat contrast. By creatively adjusting each clip’s colours and tones you can give each shot more impact. We’ll show you how to use iMovie’s colour-correcting tools and one-click video effects to give this walkthrough’s source clips a professionally graded appearance.

When shooting on location your camera’s microphone may suffer from wind noise or lack audio altogether. We’ll demonstrate how to add depth and texture to your footage by plundering iMovie’s collection of audio assets. Sound effects can also help the action in separate shots flow more smoothly together. This combination of video and audio effects will help create a much more polished production. Download the source files first.

Step-by-step: Learn audio and video effects


1 Import clips

Go to File>New Event. Click the Import Media button. Browse to our folder of source clips. Shift-click to select the clips and click Import Selected. Choose File>New Movie>No Theme.


2 Add clips to Timeline

The shots will import in the order that we want to edit them. Double-click on the first clip to select it. Click the ‘+’ icon to add it to the Timeline. Repeat this action for the other clips.


3 Adjust contrast

Click on the first clip in the Timeline. Click the Adjust icon. Click the Color correction button. Drag the Adjust contrast slider left for blacker shadows and brighter highlights.


4 Adjust colour

Drag the Adjust color slider right for richer colours. Add a warm hue by dragging the Adjust temperature slider right. Click the Video effects icon and choose Vignette.


5 Edit multiple clips

Go to Edit>Copy. Shift-click on all the clips in the Timeline and choose Edit>Paste Adjustments. Choose All. This adds the colour correction and vignette effect to every clip.


6 Into reverse

Click on shot03. The car is reversing but we need it to go forward. Click Adjust. Click the tortoise-shaped Speed icon. Tick the Reverse button. It now drives into the shot instead.


7 Add transitions

In the Content Library panel, click on Transitions. Drag a Cross Dissolve between shots 03 and 04. Now add a Puzzle Left transition between the last two clips.


8 Mute audio

Select shots 01-04. Choose Modify>Mute clip to hide the wind noise. Click Sound Effects. Go to Transportation. Drag Sports Car Passing under shots 01 and 02.


9 Sound effects

From the Sound Effects folder, use the Horse Snort and Horse Whinny sounds to enhance your project at appropriate moments. Add a music track to link the clips together.



In-depth: Adding effects

Click the image to full it full-size