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How to become a film director in your very own living room

Become a movie director

I was inspired to learn about using iMovie last year when my daughter was born. I wanted to be able to turn my video diaries of her progression into something more interesting and fun to watch.

Now with the latest version, I can even create trailers of all my sporting video footage, from friends’ car racing events to my partner wake boarding in the Isle of Wight, which delivers an even more professional finish!

iMovie is so user friendly. When you want to start creating your masterpiece, all you have to do is drag and drop your favourite clips into the project area and arrange them however you like. It’s so easy to just drag in titles and transitions, or drop in photos. You can add a song from your music collection in iTunes or GarageBand to create your soundtrack. And there you have it…amazing eh? A finished piece in no time at all.

Here is my helpful guide on the finer details of editing your movie.

Editing your film

The interface is so easy to use. All your clips appear as a dynamic filmstrip that lets you preview the action as you skim your mouse over it. Select sections of your clips and adjust them until what you want in your final cut appears on the screen at the top.

Be creative

You don’t have to work with just videos alone. You can add even more pizazz to your film using your still photos. You can import a selection of your photos from iPhoto, Aperture, or Photo Booth. Then you can use iMovie to apply pan and zoom motion effects to give it more emotion. iMovie even detects faces in your photos to ensure that they remain in the frame.

Tidying up

Once you have placed all your footage they way you want, you can fine-tune cuts and transitions with the Precision Editor. Skim each clip up close and identify precisely how much footage you want to keep and where to cut the bits you don’t want. You can use this facility to adjust the duration of transitions, edit audio and video independently, so you can use the sound from one clip with the video from another. Also, you can reposition titles and effects and finally, you can preview everything before you commit to a cut.

Image Stabilization

Sometimes, my videos are a bit shaky when Im not using a tripod or when I’m walking about whilst shooting. With iMovie’s video stabilization, the footage can be analysed and the clever software automatically reduces all that horrid camera shake. You can analyse your video on a clip-by-clip basis or fix it all at once (the latter may take a while, but it’s so worth the effort when you see the final cut).

Perfect your look

iMovie offers image controls with sliders to speed up, slow down, and reverse your clips. You can even adjust the colour of your video by changing exposure, brightness, contrast, and saturation levels. This is such a fun feature to really create some extra effects for your movie.

Create your sound

It’s so simple to control and edit the audio with the tools provided in iMovie, You can create sound effects, voiceovers and music to add impact to your videos. The audio effects are all colour coded so you can see where the audio appears in your timeline. You can adjust the levels of the music or the sound in your original movie with a slider control to create the effect you want to achieve. As you make changes, waveforms update immediately so you always see what you hear. The single-row view shows your entire movie project in one horizontal row, so you can preview and edit your soundtrack.

Adding Effects

I like adding a bit of drama to my videos, from my friend jumping his motorbike in dramatic slow motion or a birthday party in double time. Home videos are even more entertaining with visual effects like action replay, for example; you can make them happen with one click. There is an option to add jump cuts and flip effects perfectly timed to your music track. Alternate parts of your clips from colour to black and white, sepia, or a dream haze.  Simply choose one of your clips, then decide from over 12 effects, and click to apply. Neat eh!

Document your holiday location

iMovie 3D globe is a fab little feature that maps (sorry for the pun) out where you have travelled to and from, adding a bit of adventure to your holiday movies. The globe option is a super option, animating in a spinning motion from start to finish of your journey you have plotted out on your map.

Save your masterpiece forever

I like to keep hard copies of my work so make a point to burn my movie to a DVD.  To do this, I choose iDVD from the Share menu which lets you create a full-featured DVD, complete with customized menus and buttons. If you’ve added chapter markers to your movie in iMovie, they show up in iDVD, too. There are some really smart presentation options in iDVD so you can really show off your work in style!

Now it’s time to pull out the red carpet

You can export movies to iTunes and watch them on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Apple TV. Share them with your friends on Facebook. Premiere them with a YouTube or Vimeo audience. When you export HD video at full 1920-by-1080p resolution, you can impress everyone with your sharp, amazing quality footage and editing skills! It’s as easy as that!

Here is an example of my first movie trailer using iMovie. Enjoy!