Getting started with iMovie
Apple has made it really easy to edit your home movies on a Mac with its iMovie app. But with the release of the iPhone and iPad, Apple went one step further and introduced an iOS version of iMovie to enable you to edit on the go.
Apple’s iMovie is now available as a free download on the latest iPhones. With iMovie for iPhone, you can edit wherever you are, taking advantage of the long battery life of iOS devices and maybe whiling away the time on a long train journey by doing something creative.
Video clips recorded on an iPhone can be turned into movies or trailers. Movies use a range of different templates such as News, Travel or Neon (good for creating pop videos); trailers are like mini-movies packed with text overlays.
Trailers have names like Fairy Tale, Romance and Superhero, and create short clips just like adverts for your favourite films.
One big tip: you can record video in both portrait and landscape orientation, but we strongly recommend you use landscape if possible, even if you shot your video in portrait mode. Landscape enables you to see longer video clips, editing is easier overall, and the icons feature accompanying text in case you forget which one does what.
For more tips on composing videos on your iPhone, check out our guide on 10 tips for shooting better video on your smartphone.
So, forget what you think you know about video editing – that’s it’s cumbersome, requires expensive hardware, and is maybe the preserve of ‘proper’ computers. Here’s how to put together a cinematic masterpiece on the move with the iMovie app…
1. Create a new project
Launch iMovie and you’ll be presented with your video clips by default. To begin a new project, or to view an older one stored on your iPhone, you need to tap Projects in the top menu.
You’ll also notice Theater, which is a new cloud feature to use with your Apple TV.
2. Choose a theme
Under Projects choose New Project. You have two options, either Movie or Trailer. Movie is what you’ll want most of the time. Now you get to choose a theme from the templates that iMovie offers you.
There’s only eight to choose from, sadly. We’ve chosen ‘Modern’.
3. Clip selection
Tap Create Movie and you’ll then be asked to select some media. Tap the first icon to insert existing video, or tap the camera icon to record some video.
When inserting media you’ll be shown all the video clips on your iPhone. Preview clips using the Play button.
4. Add your clips
Tap the arrow button on the clip and it’ll be added to the timeline below the live preview window. Add a few more clips to build up your project.
You’ll notice in your library that any movie clip or part of a clip that’s used in the project now has an orange line under it.
5. The timeline
The white line represents the playhead, and the image shown above is the frame that the playhead is over. This playhead is stationary; move your project by dragging it left or right.
You can fine-tune your edit straight from the timeline: tap any clip to bring up yellow handles.
Use the yellow handles at each end to add parts of that clip to your project or remove parts. To condense the view in the timeline, move two fingers away or closer together in the timeline.
This is a useful way of dealing with long videos and saves you scrolling for ages!
7. Reordering clips
To change the order of your clips, tap and hold one. The clip will pop out of the timeline. With a finger still touching the screen, drag that clip to another position on the timeline.
If you release your finger while the clip is out of the timeline, it’s removed from the project entirely.
8. Splitting clips
You can perform more complex edits, like inserting a new clip in the middle of an existing one. Move the playhead over the clip, then select it. Swipe down over the playhead to cut the clip in two. You can now insert a new clip in between the two new parts you’ve created.
9. Changing transitions
A transition is added between clips. You can alter transitions by double-tapping them. Choose between no transition, a cross-dissolve, or one based on your chosen theme, with a set duration.
The icon changes to reflect the choice, and the transition itself is shown in real time.