an incredible, high-definition video production suite that fits in your pocket
I love movies. Who doesn’t, right? They’re engaging, exciting, heart-breaking, sobering, and funny. They evoke emotions in ways that only a movie can. When I think of what goes into making a movie, it’s simply amazing. Have you ever sat through the entire credits of a major motion film and read every single line? I do somewhat regularly and it’s pretty incredible. We know that making a movie isn’t cheap. In addition to the obvious (actors and directors), it requires multiple (very expensive) cameras, camera mounting equipment and booms, filters, microphones, cameramen, sound experts, computers, technicians, costume and set designers, editors… the list goes on and on and on.
The emotions we feel when watching a movie become super personal when we watch home movies. Capturing your daughter walk for the first time, your son graduate from 1st grade… these are priceless memories that you want to hold on to, share with others and cherish for generations. Unlike major production companies with immeasurable cash burning a hole in their pockets, the average person has limitations, but that shouldn’t stop us from making incredible movies. So the question is this: how do we make incredible-looking movies of our most precious family events for practically nothing?
If you think about it, we have an entire movie production system in our pocket that is with us all the time. You have an iPhone with an amazing high-definition camera, a good microphone, and some great video-editing software options. While we won’t spend time in this post on the capturing of video (those techniques could be a post all by itself), let’s talk about iMovie for iOS and how to use it to create great movies quickly and easily.
Before we can create our first project, we need to download the app (download here). The cost of iMovie for iOS as of this post is $4.99 US. Personally, I think it should be included on every iPhone and iPad, but that’s still a steal of a deal!
Next, we need to capture some video footage. Capturing high-quality footage on your iPhone is easy because the optics and compression of the video is simply amazing. The current generation iPhone (6S and 6S Plus) sports a 4K (3840×2160) camera that records at 30 fps (frames per second). Amazing! It also has a slo-mo feature that records 1080p video at 120 fps (or 720p at 240 fps).
Now that we have iMovie installed and some videos to edit, let’s create our first iMovie project. To do this, we start by launching iMovie. If this is the first time you have used iMovie, your list of projects will be blank, with an option to create a new project:
As you build projects, those projects will also be listed here for future editing and sharing.
There are two types of projects that we can create… “Movie” and “Trailer.” Regardless of the type of movie we want to create, we are presented with a list of high-quality themes to choose from.
To preview a theme, simply select the theme and press the play button above. If you don’t like it, choose another theme and try that out. Eventually, you’ll find the theme that is perfect for this project, and when you do, we can begin the project by tapping on “Create” in the top right corner.
If you choose to create a “Movie” movie, we’re presented with a simple (and blank) timeline. Do NOT let your first impressions deceive you! Despite the simplistic look and feel of the interface at this point, iMovie has some very powerful tools.
To insert a video that you have already filmed, we simply tap on the media button. To record a new video on the fly, we tap on the camera button. When you tap on the media button, this opens a media drawer to select from various videos, photos, and audio.
Tapping on an asset will give you additional options for inserting this into our timeline. From here, we can insert the media, play the media (to sample before committing to using it), extract the audio from a video clip and insert that, or add a second video on top of an existing video in 3 different forms (complete cutaway, picture-in-picture cutaway, or a split cutaway):
Inserting audio is just as easy. Tap the media button in the lower left corner to open the media drawer, tap on the “Audio” section at the bottom, and choose from various categories of audio, including “Theme Music,” “Sound Effects,” and your very own iTunes library:
Now that you’ve added more videos and a little audio, your timeline will start to look something like this:
With multiple sequential videos in your timeline, you will notice the small transition box between clips. Tapping on this allows you to choose the type and the length of the transition from one video clip to the next.
Depending on the theme you chose to start your project with at the beginning, some of these transitions may be automatically included and they may even vary from movie theme to movie theme.
One of the coolest features included in the iMovie toolbox is the ability to add voiceover to your movie. Yes, voiceover!! To do this, slide your timeline to the starting point of your voiceover. Next, tap the small microphone button on the left side. This will enable the microphone and allow you to start recording.
When you’re done, tap “Stop” and you are presented with a few options to choose from:
To listen to your voiceover, tap “Review.” If you like it, tap “Accept.” To try again, tap “Retake.” If you change your mind altogether, tap “Cancel.”
There are a ton of other options to choose from, so take a minute to explore. Pay particular attention to the “Project Settings” button (the small gear). This is where you will find all sorts of filters and other goodies to help make your movie incredible.
When you’re done making your movie, tap “Done.” This is where you can share your movie with others. To do this, all you have to do is tap on the “Share” button. Several sharing options will appear, including Notes, iCloud, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and more!
Now that we’ve created our first movie project, let’s spice things up and have a bit of fun! From the main screen, we’ll choose the “Trailer” option. Next, we’ll choose one of the many themes that come preinstalled with iMovie for iOS:
After we have selected our trailer theme, we need to fill out some basic information about this theme… movie name, studio name, etc. Obviously, this is where you can have some serious fun making up your own names.
Next, let’s tap on the “Storyboard” link in the middle. A storyboard is a list of assets (video, photo, and audio) that you will need to complete this particular video. It lists it in order so you can get an idea of what videos you will need to capture. It also gives you visual indicators as to whether the video the theme is expecting is a slow video or an action video, a group photo or a selfie.
To populate each of the placeholders, just tap on the placeholder and choose the asset you want to use. It’s that simple!!
As your begin to add your assets, your trailer timeline will start to look like this:
When you’re all done, it’s time to preview your trailer. If you haven’t created a trailer before, it’s seriously amaaaaazing! You will easily be the talk of the party!
Ok, I could go on for hours about how awesome this app is, but I’m going to stop “talking” and let you explore! I want to see what you create and post to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, so let me know!