How to Make Movie Trailers in iMovie ’11

By Edward C. Baig

On your Mac, iMovie gives you the ability to create your own movie trailer. If you go to the movies a lot, you know that the coming attractions are often as entertaining as the movie you’re about to see (sometimes, more entertaining). The movie-trailer themes included in iMovie are an equal blast to watch and to create. Instead of choosing File→New Movie, choose File→New Trailer.

Apple provides 29 thematic trailer templates to choose among, ranging from film noir (a stylized ode to the films of the 1940s and 1950s) to the supernatural. Trailers have their own animated graphics, customizable titles, and credits, plus an original soundtrack recorded by no less impressive a collection of world-class musicians than the London Symphony Orchestra.

You can preview these trailers by clicking the Play button when you mouse over a thumbnail. Just below the thumbnail, you can see how long the trailer will last, from 45 seconds to just over a minute and a half.

Each trailer also tells you how many cast members are needed. Depending on how many folks are in the clips you plan to include in your little movie, this number helps you determine which theme to go with. The romantic-comedy trailer calls for two cast members, for example, whereas the travel trailer can accommodate two to six.

Think long and hard before committing to one trailer or another. Although you can always edit a trailer later, you can’t change a trailer template. As Apple explains it, the required elements from one template won’t fit another. If you want to go with a different template, you must create a new trailer from scratch.

Click a theme and type a name, or accept the one iMovie has chosen for you (“The Game” in the sports-theme trailer, “Forever is never long enough” in the spy trailer, and so on). Fill in the movie name, cast-member name(s), studio name, credits, and any other information in the Outline section of the tabbed interface that appears. You simply type over the words that are in the various fields.

image0.jpg

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

image1.jpg

To add video clips to the placeholders, click the video (or frame range) in the browser. Apple guides you by placing a time stamp on the left edge of the placeholder wells that lets you know how long the clip should be. After you add video to one well, the next placeholder becomes active so that you can add video there, too.

Try to choose clips that match the style of the placeholder text. If you see a head shot, you want a clip with a tight close-up. If the image of a character is on the move, you want a similar scene, if you have one.

Before you’re done, you’ll head over to a shot list to take a look at the clips you’ve inserted into the trailer and to make any adjustments as needed.

You can delete a clip that you’ve inserted into the storyboard by selecting it and pressing Delete. Click Play or Play Full Screen to watch your trailer.

You can convert a trailer to a full-fledged movie. Start by choosing File→ Convert Trailer to Movie, and go on to make your edits.