How to use Maps and Backgrounds in iMovie for Mac

Maps and Backgrounds are available within iMovie to help enhance your projects. This tutorial shows how to access them and use them to add a professional touch to your home movies.

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Next Prev

Open an existing project or create one for the purposes of this tutorial. You can do this by clicking on the big ‘plus’ icon, top left of the interface. You’ll be given an option to create a Movie or a Trailer. Select the former and choose ‘No Theme’ from the Theme menu. You’ll then be given the option to save your project into any Event already created in your iMovie library (whichever Event you choose, you’ll still be able to add clips stored anywhere in your library).

See also: iMovie news, reviews and features

Read:

iMovie versus other low cost (or free) Mac video editors

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Next Prev Step 01

Open an existing project or create one for the purposes of this tutorial. You can do this by clicking on the big ‘plus’ icon, top left of the interface. You’ll be given an option to create a Movie or a Trailer. Select the former and choose ‘No Theme’ from the Theme menu. You’ll then be given the option to save your project into any Event already created in your iMovie library (whichever Event you choose, you’ll still be able to add clips stored anywhere in your library).

See also: iMovie news, reviews and features

Read:

iMovie versus other low cost (or free) Mac video editors

 

Step 2 of 10:

Click on a clip in an Event to reveal a ‘plus’ symbol. Click on it to add four seconds of that clip to your project (the ‘plus’ acts as that selection’s starting frame). Alternatively, you can click and drag to select a specific amount.

Resize that selection by dragging its edges prior to clicking on the ‘plus’ button.

With a few clips added to your project, it’s time to add a title. By default, titles are inserted above an existing clip, but let’s use a background instead.

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Step 3 of 10:

Select the ‘Maps & Background’ section, lower left of the interface. This replaces your selected event’s clips with a selection of animated and static backgrounds and some world maps (more on those later).

The top four are animated and to see them in action, move the cursor over them from left to right (or right to left) to see what the background’s motion will look like in the main  preview section.

Double-click on your selected one to add it to your project at the playhead’s selection, or drag it to insert it where you please.

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Step 4 of 10:

You can now select a title from the Title menu in the sidebar as was described in a previous tutorial. Using backgrounds is a great way to include titles without obscuring the clips you took.

Sometimes, especially when the footage contains faces, titles get in the way, and if you haven’t got any landscape shots you can superimpose a title over, these bundled backgrounds offer a great alternative. When you’re done, go back to the Map & Background section.

Apple iMovie for Mac version 10 review

 

Step 5 of 10:

Having explored the Backgrounds, it’s time to look at Maps. These are great tools if you wish to give a sense of location to your home movie. You can pinpoint a specific area, or create a bird’s eye view of a trip you took by making the map move from one location to another.

You have twelve maps to choose from, and just like the Backgrounds, you can move the cursor over them to see what they look like in the main preview section.

 

Step 6 of 10:

Drag a Map onto your project. By default, iMovie expects you to live in San Francisco, but this is easy enough to fix. Make sure the map is selected and you’ll see, above the preview section some new tools. Top left is the Route.

Click on San Francisco and search for a different city. iMovie will look through its database and offer a series of options if more than one similar name is present. Select the one you need and click on Done. Your map will animate a little around that location, but if you need to travel from one place to another, you need another point on the map.

 

Step 7 of 10:

In the Route section, click on the second field, currently set to ‘Choose’. Repeat the process you performed in Step 6 to create a second point on your map (you can only have two points - if you need to travel elsewhere, you’ll have to add another map to your project).

Before clicking on Done though, notice that at the bottom of the window is a field called ‘Name to display on map’. Rather than being restricted to using a place’s official name, you can call it whatever you’d like.

 

Step 8 of 10:

You can of course select those location fields at any time and change them until you’re completely satisfied.

Should you wish to reverse the travel, click on the curved arrow between the two locations. This is particularly useful if you wish to create a return journey: all you need do is copy the map clip in your project, move the playhead to a new location and paste a new map in with all your existing locations intact. Then, just reverse the locations and you’re back home.

 

Step 9 of 10:

If you’ve decided you’d rather use a different map, you won’t necessarily have to drag it from the Maps & Backgrounds section and start all over again: with the current map selected in your project, top right of the main preview section is a menu called ‘Style’.

Click on it to select between the four different types of maps. Notice that you also have a ‘Zoom In’ option which makes iMovie focus in on the action a little.

Should you wish to switch between the Globe, Map and Still options, you will need to drag the new map over the existing one and choose ‘Replace’ from the contextual menu.

 

Step 10 of 10:

Maps don’t need to be in between your clips: they could be over them: drag the map from its current position in your project and move it up so it rests above some of your other clips.

A new tool appears above the preview section called ‘video overlay settings’.

Select it and notice the Opacity slider. You can make the map semi-transparent, allowing you to add clips of your travel with the map over it, making for a more unique travel map sequence.

You can read more iMovie tutorials over at our iMovie Topic Zone, plus:

10 amazing iMovie tips

How to use Maps and Backgrounds in iMovie for Mac

Edit a movie using the Precision Editor in iMovie for OS X

How to use effects in iMovie for OS X

Add titles to your home movies using iMovie for Mac OS X

Get started in iMovie for Mac OS X

10 tips for iMovie for Mac

How to view your iMovie Theatre clips, trailers and movies on any device using iCloud

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