Macworld Masterclass: Creating trailers in iMovie

Our last two tutorials focused on iMovie ’11’s powerful audio and special effects tools for editing your video projects. However, there’s one new feature in iMovie ’11 that’s just pure fun. The Trailers feature lets you create a Hollywood-style trailer for your videos in minutes. There are 15 templates for creating trailers in varied styles such as action, romance, sports, and film noir. Each template includes a ready-made storyboard for the trailer, so all you have to do is select a few video clips, type in some captions and then just sit back while iMovie does all the work for you. However, trailers can also help you learn about the editing process, as you can go back over the finished trailer and deconstruct it to get an idea of how the editing process works.

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Our last two tutorials focused on iMovie ’11’s powerful audio and special effects tools for editing your video projects. However, there’s one new feature in iMovie ’11 that’s just pure fun. The Trailers feature lets you create a Hollywood-style trailer for your videos in minutes. There are 15 templates for creating trailers in varied styles such as action, romance, sports, and film noir. Each template includes a ready-made storyboard for the trailer, so all you have to do is select a few video clips, type in some captions and then just sit back while iMovie does all the work for you. However, trailers can also help you learn about the editing process, as you can go back over the finished trailer and deconstruct it to get an idea of how the editing process works.

  • Step1 1. People power
  • Step2 2. The colour purple
  • Step3 3. Film noir
  • Step4 4. Title text
  • Step5 5. On board
  • Step6 6. Setting the mood
  • Step7 7. In the zone
  • Step8 8. In your face
  • Step9 9. Action!
  • Step10 10. Print out
  • Step11 11. The third way
  • Step12 12. Playback time
  • Step13 13. Backing up
  • Step14 14. Editing mode
  • Boxout 15. Finding faces BONUS TIP!
  • More stories
Next Prev

1. People power

Before we create our trailer, there’s another new feature in iMovie that will come in handy. Go to the File menu and select the Analyze Video option. You can use this to stabilise video that’s a bit shaky, or to locate just those clips that have people in them. We’ll select the People option for now.

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Next Prev Step1

Before we create our trailer, there’s another new feature in iMovie that will come in handy. Go to the File menu and select the Analyze Video option. You can use this to stabilise video that’s a bit shaky, or to locate just those clips that have people in them. We’ll select the People option for now.

 

Step 2 of 15: 2. The colour purple

It may take a few minutes to analyse your video clips, depending on how long they are. Once iMovie is finished it will highlight sections of video in the Events Browser with a purple line to show where people are clearly visible. This makes it easy to quickly locate sections of video for our trailer.

 

Step 3 of 15: 3. Film noir

Now just tell iMovie to create a new project using the C-N keyboard shortcut. In addition to its existing theme templates, the New Project window now includes 15 templates for trailers. The trailers cover a range of styles, such as adventure and film noir, and you can preview any trailer simply by clicking on it. 

 

Step 4 of 15: 4. Title text

The Project window now switches into trailer mode, displaying three tabs labelled Outline, Storyboard and Shot List. The Outline tab (above) is where you enter the title of your film and credits for the various cast members. One nice touch is the ability to select an animated logo for your own personal film studio. 

 

Step 5 of 15: 5. On board

The Storyboard creates the structure of your trailer, breaking it down into a simple series of video clips and captions. The grey boxes are called drop zones, as they allow you to simply drop video clips into them. The drop zones are also labelled to indicate the type of shot that would work well, such as an action shot or close-up.

 
 

Step 6 of 15: 6. Setting the mood

The Storyboard also includes a series of text boxes for creating captions. It may help to start with the captions first, as these create the mood and tell the story of your trailer. As you enter the captions you can see how they will look by moving your mouse along the length of the text box.

 

Step 7 of 15: 7. In the zone

Now we’ll add some video clips – starting with a shot of our evil snowman. Click on the first drop zone and then click on the video clip you want. Each drop zone is set to a specific length – 1.2 seconds for this one – and iMovie automatically trims your clip to the required length and drops it into place.

 

Step 8 of 15: 8. In your face

The next drop zone is labelled as a close-up of one of our actors. You don’t have to use a close-up if you don’t want to, but we’ll follow iMovie’s advice for now. This is where the People option comes in handy, as we can quickly home in on clips in the Event Browser that contain clear shots of faces.

 

Step 9 of 15: 9. Action!

Now we’ll add a shot of Tim hurtling into action against the evil snowman. Although iMovie will automatically cut a video clip down to the correct length to fit into the drop zones, you can also select a specific part of a clip in the normal manner by using your mouse to skim over the clip in the Event Browser window

 
 

Step 10 of 15: 10. Print out

If you’re feeling really organised, you can get a print out of the trailer to help you keep track of the material you’re using. You can print the Storyboard view to make sure you don’t duplicate any shots, and you can also print out the credits and captions in the Outline window as well.

 

Step 11 of 15: 11. The third way

There’s another way of keeping things organised too. As well as the Outline and Storyboard views, there’s a third viewing mode called the Shot List tab. This displays a categorised list of all the shots in your trailer, allowing you to quickly view all the action shots, or all the shots of one particular person. 

 

Step 12 of 15: 12. Playback time

You can play back and preview your trailer at any time simply by clicking Play in the top-right corner of the Project Browser windows. There’s also an option to Convert to Project in the File menu. This gathers together all the clips, credits and captions and converts them into a conventional iMovie editing project.

 
 

Step 13 of 15: 13. Backing up

Once you’ve converted a trailer into an ordinary project you can’t convert it back to a trailer, or use the Outline or Storyboard modes to make any more changes. So before converting a trailer you should also use the Duplicate Project option in the File menu to make a backup copy of the trailer that you can keep.

 

Step 14 of 15: 14. Editing mode

Converting a trailer into an ordinary project allows you to use any of iMovie’s other editing tools. For instance, if you don’t like the music used in the original trailer template you can now delete the music track and add your own choice of music, or spice up some clips with special effects.

 

Step 15 of 15: 15. Finding faces BONUS TIP!

We looked briefly at the People option that you can use to locate clips containing people’s faces, but there are some other options you can use here as well. If you click the People icon in the toolbar running along the bottom of the iMovie window you can hide any clips that don’t contain faces, making it really easy to focus on the bits of video that have clearly visible face shots. There’s also an Advanced option within iMovie’s Preferences panel that provides keyword filters, such as the ability to locate groups or close-ups.

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