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iLife Tutorial: Get to know iMovie’s creative video effects

Follow this guide to find out how to use special effect presets to change the colours, tones and the speed of your video clips in creative ways.

As well as the usual colour and tone-changing effects in the Inspector’s Video Effects pane, iMovie 11 has a new Clip menu that includes some extra special effect commands.
We’ll demonstrate how to plunder this new menu to add effects like an instant action replay for comical or sporting moments. If you’re editing to music you can use the Clip menu’s Special Effects command to create snappy pop video-style effects and make footage automatically flip horizontally, or jump forward in time on each musical beat. We’ll also show you how to fake the effect of a camera flash that turns clips into stills, which you can use to highlight important events in, for example, wedding videos.

Step 1: Split clip
Import ‘’ and pop the clip into a new project. Scrub forward to 2:22. Right-click and split the clip just as the dog gets up to chase her tail.

Step 2: Optimize clip
Right-click on the second clip featuring the spinning dog. Choose Optimize Video – Large. iMovie will convert the clip. Choose Clip>Instant Replay>50%.

Step 3: Instant replay
iMovie ‘11 will then create a copy of the last clip, slow it down and add an animated Instant Replay caption so you can enjoy special moments again!

Step 4: Beat effects
Import and Add ‘’ to a new project. Choose the Breakbeat Short track from the iLife Jingles folder as the project’s background music.

Step 5: Add beat markers
Click the clip’s Gear icon and choose Clip Trimmer. Hit the spacebar to play the music and tap M to add a beat marker at a couple of points. Click Done.

Step 6: Flip to the beat
Click on the video clip in the Project window. Go to Clip>Special Effect>Flip at Beat Markers. The boat will now flip back and forth on the beat markers.

Step 7: Auto time jump
Alternatively, you can make the footage jump forward at the beat markers. Choose Clip>Jump Cut at Beat markers, then choose a time amount.

Step 8: Photo effect
To quickly create the effect of turning moving footage into a still photo click on a clip and choose Clip>Special Effect>Flash and Hold Last Frame.

Step 9: Fade effects
For a quick fade effect drag to select the end of a clip in the Project window. Go to Clip>Fade to and choose an instant effect like Sepia or Dream.

Click on the image below to zoom in on the annotations.

To complete this tutorial, you’ll need the video files mentioned in the steps above. These can be downloaded from the Issue 94 tutorial files page.