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Transition Timing in iMovie – An Advanced Guide

How to keep the length of transitions, and your project, the same

When you add a transition to a non-themed project, it has default duration of half a second. You can click on the transition’s gear icon and use the ‘Transition adjustments’ command to extend its duration, but this takes time. Themed project transitions automatically run for 2 seconds, which gives you more time to enjoy the mix or wipe from one shot to the next. We’ll show you how to extend the default 15-frame duration in a non- themed project so that every transition you add will automatically run for 2 seconds. Transitions can eat into the total duration of a project and shrink it. We’ll show you how to change the way transitions overlap so that you can preserve the original duration of your edited programme.

Step 1

1: Create new project
Go to File> New Project. Choose an Aspect Ratio of 16:9 and a Frame Rate of 30 fps. Choose No Theme. Untick ‘Automatically add Cross Dissolve’.

Step 2

2: Import clips
Go to File>Import>Movies. Browse to the Transition Sources folder on our disc. Click ‘Create new Event’. Tick ‘Optimize video’. Click Import.

Step 3

3: Project Properties
To change the default transition from 15 frames, go to File>Project Properties. Drag the Transition Duration slider to 2:00 seconds. Click OK.

Step 4

4: Adjust Preferences
Our source clips vary in length. To make them all last 5 seconds, go to iMovie>Preferences. Set ‘Clicking in Event Browser selects’ to 5:00.

Step 5

5: Add clips
Click on each clip in turn and drag a 5-second selection to the Project window. As each clip runs for 5 seconds, we have a total project duration of 20 seconds.

Step 6

6: Add transition
Drag a Cross Dissolve between the first two clips. It will reduce the length of the overlapping clips to 3 seconds each. Total project duration loses 2 seconds.

Step 7

7: Reduced duration
Adding two more transitions, they eat into the duration of the adjacent clips to create 2-second dissolves. This reduces the total duration from 20 seconds to 14.

Step 8

8: Open Inspector
You can change the way the transitions overlap with the clips to lengthen the total duration of the project. Double-click on a transition to open the Inspector.

Step 9

9: Increase duration
For each transition, set Overlap to ‘Half – Maintain Project Duration’. This extends each clip’s duration and returns the project’s total duration to 20 seconds.

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