How to Add Transitions to Your iMovie ’11 Project

By Edward C. Baig

iMovie provides you with all the tools you need for making an Oscar winner on your Mac. Moving from scene to scene can be jarring unless you add a smooth bridge. In moviespeak, bridges are transitions, and iMovie gives you two dozen to choose among.

To add a transition manually, select Transitions in the Content Library. At your disposal are the various styles in the Transitions pane.

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When you choose the transition you want, drag it between two clips in your project, unless you’re going with a lead-in or lead-out transition that only requires one clip. A small icon represents your transition. You can substitute one transition for another just by dragging another transition over the icon.

To add transactions between clips automatically, choose Window→Movie Properties, click the Settings button, and select the Automatic Content check box. Had you chosen a theme, standard movie-style cross-dissolve transitions would have been added between clips automatically except where the theme dictates another transitional choice. iMovie adds a theme-style opening title that appears over the first clip and another at the end.

While you’re in the Settings window, you can change the duration of a transition — say from one second to a half second or a second and a half — by dragging the Transitions slider.

You may not know the names of all these transitions, but you’ve undoubtedly seen ones such as Fade to Black and Cross Dissolve in movies and on television. You can preview others by dragging the mouse pointer over the various Transitions thumbnails.