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Learn iMovie Week: Add Film Noir effects to your movie

In this second installment of Learn iMovie Week, we'll pay homage to the Film Noir genre by replacing colour clips with high contrast monochrome shots.

iMovie autorail - Film Noir - 15-minute intermediate tutorial
iMovie autorail - Film Noir - main
The Film Noir genre has a variety of striking features that you can easily emulate using iMovie’s Clip and Video Inspector.
Classic Noir movies featured a lone protagonist investigating a crime in a high contrast black and white location. This contrast helps emphasise a scene’s shapes in a dramatic way. iMovie’s Clip Inspector enables you to add a vignette to make the corners look darker and more mysterious, but you can’t then apply the Black & White effect without losing the vignette. We’ll show how to easily combine the Clip Inspector’s effects with the Video Inspector’s colour and tone tweaking tools to achieve a classic, moody Film Noir look.

iMovie autorail - Film Noir - Step-By-Step

iMovie tutorial - film noir - Step 1

Step 1: Import clips

Create a new project with a widescreen aspect ratio and choose File>Import>Movies. Browse to the Noir Source Files folder on the disc. Click Import.

iMovie autorail - Film Noir - Step 2

Step 2: Add clips

The clips have been shot in order, so drag them into the project window. Hit the spacebar to watch the hero arrive and explore the location.

iMovie autorail - film noir - Step 3

Step 3: Trim clips

At the end of clip 4 you can see the cameraman’s reflection in the car’s bumper. Drag the fine-tune duration icon back 10 frames.

iMovie autorail - film noir - Step 4

Step 4: Add vignette

To make the clips look more atmospheric shift click to select them all, then press I. Click on Video Effect then on the Vignette thumbnail.

iMovie autorail - film noir - Step 5

Step 4: Add vignette

To make the clips look more atmospheric shift click to select them all, then press I. Click on Video Effect then on the Vignette thumbnail.

iMovie autorail - film noir - Step 5

Step 5: Monochrome makeover

With all the clips still selected, go to the Video Inspector. Drag Saturation to 0%. Pop Contrast up to 70% for black blacks and whiter whites.

iMovie autorail - Film Noir - Step 6

Step 6: Add a retro wipe

Film Noir movies featured simple transitions like wipes and dissolves. Drag a Wipe Left transition between shots 1 and 2. Set the Duration to 1:00 sec.

iMovie autorail - Film Noir - Step 7

Step 7: Circle close

Place Circle Close at the end of the project to end the sequence with another retro-style transition. Set the Duration to 1:00 sec.

iMovie autorail - film noir - Step 8

Step 8: Music and sound

Shift click to select the clips. Choose Clip>Mute Clips. Add the Ocean Surf effect from the Ambience folder. Make the Investigation Long jingle start at Shot 02.

iMovie autorail - film noir - Step 9

Step 9: Tweak sound levels

The Ocean Surf sound is too loud. Click on the horizontal line above the audio waveform and drag it to 32% to produce a more subtle background sound.

Click the image below to zoom in and view the annotations.

iMovie autorail - film noir - annotated

 

To complete this tutorial, you’ll need to download the Issue 99 tutorial files.

This tutorial is the second in our Learn iMovie Week series; for more articles just like this, visit the Learn iMovie Week tag. At the end of the week, we’ll be giving away a prize to one lucky person who gets in touch with a question or problem related to iMovie on Mac or iOS. To get involved, simply tweet your question, plus the hashtag #LearniMovieWeek, to @iCreateMagazine or post on our Facebook wall.

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