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iLife Tutorial: Add slo-mo special effects in iMovie ’11

With iMovie ’11 add interest and character to your projects by using slow motion and other speed effects

Manipulating speed is made much easier by the technology behind digital video. When working with analogue tape, slowing the speed of playback could cause unwanted side effects like wobble and jitter. With digital source material, however, the computer can easily alter the number of frames per second. Slow motion in movies is often used in action scenes to show things that happen very quickly in more detail, which enhances the dramatic tension. For home movies it can also be useful for changing the pace of a scene, or simply to make a short clip last a bit longer than its original duration for the purposes of filling out some time.

1: Import your footage
Import footage from camera, iPhone or DSLR. It’s likely to be a high frame rate (25 or 30fps). To check the project frame rate, go to File > Project Properties.

2: Open the Inspector
Select a clip in the project, but not in the source bin. Only when a clip exists in a project can you modify its speed

3: Open the Inspector
Click the ‘I’ button in the toolbar or choose Window > Clip Adjustments. This is contextual and will show properties for whichever clip you select.

4: Convert the clip
Before clip speed can be changed, the clip must be analysed by iMovie. Click the button marked “Convert Entire Clip” in the Speed section to do this.

5: Change the speed
Use the Speed slider to change the speed, or, in either box enter a numerical value for a percentage of the original speed or a new value in seconds.

6: See the results
You should see the clip extend itself on the timeline as it now occupies more space. Try playing it back. It may look a little more jerky but it should be slower.

7: Try a new value
For extreme slowness, choose a low value. You can also go to the Clip menu and choose Clip > Slow Motion and then use a preset value of 50, 25 or 10%.

8: Save the sound
You may notice that the sound is also slowed down and may sound odd. To avoid this, before you slow the clip, right click on it and choose Detach Audio.

9: Move the sound
The video may be slower but the sound is the same speed, pitch and length and no longer covers the length of the clip. Add sound to fill the gaps.

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