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How to Apply iMovie Themes to a Video Project

iMovie supplies themes that you can apply to a video project, creating a professional video in just a few steps. iMovie themes not only provide a distinctive look to a video (such as News or Sports), but a framework for adding the right elements in the right order to create a great looking video.


Choose File→New Project.

You can also press Command+N to create a new project.


Type a name for the project, choose an aspect ratio.

Your choices are Standard and Widescreen. Widescreen is appropriate for display on an HDTV. You should also choose a frame rate (frames per second) that corresponds to the type of camera used to shoot the video. For North America, you should choose 30 fps − NTSC.


Select a theme.

With the arrival of iMovie ’11, Apple added News and Sports themes, and what’s arguably the coolest set of themes, Movie Trailers. Unlike the Project Themes, which supply opening screens and customized transitions, each movie trailer theme has its own animated graphics, customizable titles, and credits, plus an original soundtrack, and is customized for a particular number of “cast members.”

Think long and hard before committing to a particular movie trailer theme. Although you can always edit a movie trailer, you can’t change themes.


Click Create and if you selected a movie trailer theme, fill in the information in the Outline section.

You simply type over the words that are in the various fields. If you selected a Project Theme, you can select Automatically add transitions and video to automatically add themed transitions between video clips.


If you selected a movie trailer theme, tab onto the Storyboard section and compile the movie.

The storyboard includes text bars that represent editable on-screen text, along with placeholders for the video clips that will be included in the final project. Click the text to change the words in the various text bars.

To add video clips to the placeholders, click the video (or frame range) in the Event browser. Apple guides you by placing a time stamp on the left edge of the placeholder wells. After adding video to one well, the next placeholder becomes active so that you can add video there too. Try and choose clips that match the style of the placeholder text. If you see a head shot, you’ll want a clip with a tight close-up. If the image of a character is on the move, you’ll want a similar scene if you have one.

iMovie can help you locate an appropriate clip. If you chose to analyze your Event video for the presence of people, click the Keyword Filter button. If you don’t see the button, select Show Advanced Tools in iMovie Preferences. In addition to keyword controls, the options in Advanced Tools let you handle such things as cutaways, picture in picture, green screen backgrounds, and chapter markers.

You can delete a clip on the Storyboard tab by selecting it and pressing Delete. Click Play or Play Full Screen to watch your trailer.

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