The goal of iMovie has always been to make our video editing lives a little easier.

Compare it with the other members of the family, namely Final Cut Express and Pro, and you'll realise how hard Apple worked to simplify the process of cutting a short film and turning it into something that many will enjoy.

In fact, Final Cut's interface has remained practically unchanged for more than a decade. All the innovation and excitement currently lies with its smaller sibling, with ideas such as: mousing over a clip to scroll through it and see each frame you're currently over in the main preview section; creating versatile and complex titles with just a few clicks; seeing a preview of the effect you're about to use before actually using it; adding keywords to your clips and locating the exact one you need in seconds; or being able to see which part of the audio is peaking at a glance, without having to play the footage at all.

These make up just a fraction of the innovation that's coming out of iMovie. But Apple isn't resting on its laurels. It has come up with another way to speed up your work with iMovie '11: One-Step Effects.

The idea is simple: check which effects most people like to use, then find a way to create it even faster than the current method. Apple's engineers have applied this idea to, among others, slowing down or speeding up a clip and making it fade to black and white or sepia.

They've also added a few ideas that would have been time-consuming to create otherwise, such as Instant Replay and various editing options when cutting a film to the beat of a song.

But perhaps best of all, these effects are completely customisable, so you can fine-tune them once they've been applied. We'll take a look at how they work in this tutorial.

How to master the One-Step Effects in iMovie '11

01. The highlight

step 1

Let's start by slowing part of a clip down. Choose a suitable section in your project then drag on the clip itself to highlight a specific area. Mouse over either edge of that selection to turn your cursor into a resize tool. Then drag those edges to fine-tune the area.

02. Slow Motion

step 2

When you're ready, go to Clip > Slow Motion > 25%. This will slow down that portion by a factor of four. You can choose two other speeds, 50% and 10%, and can fast forward a selection by the same amounts. But the really interesting part lies in your Project paneā€¦

03. Customisation

Step 3

Your clip has been cut in three and the slow-down effect has been applied to the middle part. Select that part and go to Window > Clip Adjustments (or press i) to reveal the Inspector. The Speed slider is editable and you can also fine-tune the setting manually.

04. Fade

step 4

You can do the same with a Fade to effect: select a part of another clip then go to Clip > Fade to > Sepia. Again, your original clip will be cut in three and the effect will be added to the middle. Double-click it for the Inspector, where you can change which effect is applied.

05. Transitions

step 5

By default, the transition from the normal clip to the one with the effect applied, is a standard cross-dissolve. Double-click on that transition to bring up the Transition Inspector. Click on the Transition menu and select any other one. You can also alter the duration.

06. Replay

step 6

Apple added a few new effects to iMovie, one of which is Instant Replay. Select a part of a clip, just as you did in Steps 1 and 4, go to the Clip menu and choose a percentage value from the Instant Replay sub-menu (by default, the replay will be slowed down).

07. Resizing

step 7

If you'd rather have the replay action at its regular speed, select the middle clip, open the Clip Inspector and type 100% in the Speed field. The Instant Replay text box will be too long, but you can resize it by double-clicking on it and changing its duration in the Inspector.

08. Editing

step 8

Click on the text box above the replayed portion of your clip to select it. Look in the Preview pane. Indeed, the text itself is editable; although you can't alter the font or manually change its size, you can edit the text to whatever you like.

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First published in MacFormat Issue 229

Liked this? Then check out How to make a movie trailer with iMovie 11

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