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iMovie tutorial How to create a cool picture-in-picture shot

If you like video, why not put a video inside your video? Follow our simple, step-by-side guide to creating picture-in-picture clips using a few tools in iMovie.

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Featured

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Sidebar
iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Featured
We can only imagine how tough it must have been to create picture-in-picture videos when working with tape; luckily those days are long gone and iMovie will now do all the hard work for us.
You may be wondering what on earth you might use this technique for, but it can be applied to anything really as it just offers a way of presenting another point of view along the main narrative of a video. It’s incredibly impressive that iMovie is able to do this, as it’s a technique generally reserved for so-called professional apps, like Final Cut. What’s even more surprising is how easy it is to create and edit. Of course there are one or two things you’ll need to look out for, but that’s exactly why we are here. So let’s take a look at picture-in-picture and how to perfect it…

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Step-by-Step

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Step 1

Step 1: Prefer it

To kick off, use the top iMovie menu to access the Preferences option. Click on it to bring up the Preferences interface window.

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Step 2

Step 2: Tick time

Now you need to check the Show Advanced Tools button and this will activate the professional features that are normally hidden in iMovie.

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Step 3

Step 3: Drag and drop

As simple as it sounds, the first thing you need to do to create picture-in-picture is drag one clip onto another in the main editor at the top of the interface.

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Step 4

Step 4: Magic menu

As you let go of the clip a contextual menu will appear. On the list that presents itself, there’s no prizes for guessing which option you should choose…

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Step 5

Step 5: Here it is

You should now see one clip above another in the editor on the left and the picture-in-picture preview in the screen on the right, just like in the screenshot.

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Step 6

Step 6: Move it

You can drag the picture-in-picture along the original clip at any time to make sure that it comes in, and of course leaves, at the perfect points.

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Step 7

Step 7: Some sound advice

As you’ll have noticed from playing it back you now have two audio sources too. Use a right-click on the clip to access this menu and select Detach Audio.

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Step 8

Step 8: Separate sounds

The detached audio now sits at the bottom of the arrangement, which means that you can play with the levels if you want to keep it, or follow the next step.

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Step 9

Step 9: Bin it

Alternatively, you can make use of the Delete key if you want to get rid of the audio altogether. This leaves the original clip’s sound intact and untouched.

(Click on the image below to zoom in and view the annotations)

iMovie - Picture-in-Picture - Annotated