How to make a movie on iMovie

For those of you born during the 90s, you have always been either a PC or MAC. Microsoft and Apple even had dueling commercials over their operating systems. Macs were the hip young creative kids and PCs were all business all the time. The software was specifically made for one or the other at the start of the “computer wars.”

Software, hardware, programs, and apps have improved immensely over the last 20 years. But one thing has remained constant: Macs are still the computer of choice for the creatives. This extends to all of their products, including iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad.

The Apple App Store is teeming with products that help track your fitness, organize a calendar, or pass the time while waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles. For more robust programs, Apple will bundle its most popular titles along with the operating systems.

This includes such standards as iTunes for the music lovers, GarageBand for the music makers, and iMovie for budding directors. Not limited to the desktop computers, you can download music from a laptop, create a beat on an iPad, or make a movie—all on your iPhone.

Make Your Movie with iMovie

With the advances in mobile technology, everyone has a film crew in the palm of their hand. Maybe you’ve seen the Apple commercials shot, edited, and produced with an iPhone by fans of the product. You are more than likely seeing the capabilities of iMovie.

This isn’t a new idea, of course. In 2004, the Sundance Film Festival premiered its first movie ever edited entirely by iMovie. An autobiographical piece named Tarnation, Jonathan Caouette’s look at his life as a victim of child abuse. Artistic, primitive, and expressive, the film was a Director’s Choice at the festival. Both for its content and how it was made.

Some 16 years later a handful of feature-length movies have been shot with only iPhones, including Steve Soderbergh’s Unsane and Tangerine, a gritty look at a transgender sex worker. As iPhones improved, so did the movie-making capabilities of iMovie.

Getting Started

If your Mac, iPad, or iPhone isn’t already equipped with iMovie, click here to download for any (or all) of your devices. With the software on all of your Mac products, you’ll be able to sync them all together via the iCloud Photo Library if it’s enabled. This will make it easier to organize and find your files. This is especially nice if you’re shooting video clips or making audio clips with different devices.

Open iMovie and you’ll be brought to screen that features all of the videos you’ve taken. To start an iMovie project, click the Projects tab at the top of the screen (phone, tablet, or computer). Then click create project and choose between creating a movie or trailer, then choose a theme (movie) or template (trailer).

Putting the Pieces Together

Now you’re ready to add media, add titles, and import effects, transitions, and music if needed. Create a new project and load all of the clips you’ll be working with. Not happy with the theme you originally chose? You’ll be able to change it from here as well.

Different options are available based on if you’ve loaded one clip or multiple clips. When several clips have been inserted, a transition icon will appear to help link your clips together. You can work with individual clips by clicking them, bringing up new video editing options.

Here you’ll be able to control audio volume, speed of the clip, and add titles – credits, time or place information, and so on. Filters can be applied to change the look or feel of the clip. Make a mistake or don’t like the change you just made? There’s always an undo button nearby.

One last bit of advice: no matter how long the movie is, save early and often. There’s one thing that hasn’t changed throughout the decades of computing improvements: if the computer freezes or otherwise stops working, there’s no way to save what you’ve done to that point.

Learn By Doing

When learning new software, there’s an undeniable urge to run before walking. Have at it – we’re not going to stop you. At some point, you’ll need to understand what you’re doing instead of just looking for a cool Hollywood style filter or changing between themes haphazardly.

In fact, many of these effects can be accomplished while shooting the clips in the first place. If you’re looking for something more polished than a home movie, you’ll need to learn more about the production process. Online tutorials or YouTube videos are nice to a degree but lack the interaction for true learning and working comprehension.

Film Connection has you covered. From Screenwriting Workshops to Film Production & Editing and Cinematography Programs, you’ll be mentored by an experienced professional. Placed inside a working production company, you’ll learn how to run cable, handle a camera, set lighting, and editing videos.

After a six- or nine-month immersive experience, you’ll approach making a movie with a whole new perspective. If you made the most of your time with us that is. As much as we want to you to succeed, give you the foundation you need to build a career in filmmaking, ultimately it all depends on the work you’re willing to do.

Want to start one of our programs as soon as possible? Apply to Film Connection today.

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