How to Add Video Effects to iMovie Projects in iLife '11 - dummies

How to Add Video Effects to iMovie Projects in iLife ’11

By Tony Bove

Ever since movies such as Star Wars, people expect to see special effects — so much so that it sometimes takes a special effect to get their attention. Not everyone can be as inventive as George Lucas, but you can experiment with some iMovie special effects to transform clips into visual eye candy. You can not only speed up or slow down iLife project clips and run clips in reverse but also apply video effects automatically, such as Aged Film, Glow, Dream, Heat Wave, Sci-Fi, and X-Ray.

To set a video effect, follow these steps:

  1. Select a project clip in the Project Browser and then double-click it.

    Alternatively, click the Gear icon at the beginning of the project clip and choose Clip Adjustments (or choose Window→Clip Adjustments). The Inspector appears with the Clip pane open.

  2. Click the Video Effect button, which displays the Video Effects pane.

  3. Move the pointer across an effect to see a preview of the effect in the Viewer pane.

  4. Click an effect to select it for the clip, and then click Done in the Inspector’s Clip pane.

    Set a video effect for the selected project clip.
    Set a video effect for the selected project clip.

Here are a few reasons why you might want to use video effects:

  • Aged Film: Make your video look like newsreel footage with this effect, which creates a visual effect of scratched film, with a supergrainy texture and lines and specks.

  • Black & White: Turn your clip into black-and-white to simulate early television pictures, or to emulate the Wizard of Oz (where everything’s in black-and-white until Dorothy lands in Oz and opens the door). Sometimes, a video shot on a gray day looks better in black-and-white.

  • Hard Light: Although this effect isn’t a substitute for good lighting when recording video, it can help alleviate the problems associated with poor lighting and making the picture brighter or darker or with less or more contrast.

  • Sepia Tone: Create the brown-and-white look of a very old photo, which can help convey antiquity and nostalgia.

  • Romantic: Add a blurry, fuzzy-edged look to everything for those hazy, dreamy, or romantic scenes; you also see this effect used in TV commercials featuring aging stars because it hides facial wrinkles.