How to Add Movie Transitions on Your MacBook in iMovie

By Mark L. Chambers

Many iMovie owners approach transitions as visual bookends: They merely act as placeholders that appear between video clips on your MacBook. Nothing could be further from the truth, though, because judicious use of transitions can make or break a scene. For example, which would you prefer after a wedding ceremony — an abrupt, jarring cut to the reception, or a gradual fadeout to the reception?

Because today’s audiences are sensitive to transitions between scenes, you should try not to overuse the same transition. Pick two or three that match the mood of your film and the scenes between which you’re transitioning. Also carefully weigh the visual impact of a transition. You might even decide that having no transition is the most effective (directors call this deliberate lack of a transition a jump cut).

iMovie includes a surprising array of transitions, including old favorites (such as Fade In and Dissolve) and some nifty stuff that you might not be familiar with (such as Cube and Page Curl). To display your transitions collection, click the Transitions entry in the Content Library (or press cmd+1).


To see what a particular transition looks like, move the cursor over the thumbnail to display the transition in miniature.

Adding a transition couldn’t be easier: Drag the transition from the thumbnail list, and drop it between clips or between a clip and a still image in the Project pane. In iMovie, transitions are applied in real time.