iMovie HD
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Opening iMovie HD

Importing Video

Getting Comfortable

iMovie Editing

Trimming Clips

iMovie Safeguards




Import Photos

Import Audio

Record Narration

Add iDVD Chapters

Export to iDVD 5

Play Demo Movie

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Import Photos

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iMovie lets you import still photos and treat them as clips.  Drag them to the timeline just as they are or add zooms and pans with iMovie’s Ken Burns Effect.

Import Photos from an iPhoto Library

In this tutorial, we’ll assume that you’ve already created an iPhoto Library.  For detailed instructions on how to create an iPhoto Library—including the special case of storing your Library on a Firewire Drive, please see our iPhoto 5 tutorial. 

Before you can import a specific photo, you’ll have to open your iPhoto Library within iMovie.  Let’s make sure that iMovie recognizes your Library.

Open your iPhoto Library

If you’ve saved your Library to a Firewire Drive, we’re assuming that your drive is properly connected.  In the I.T. Lab, ask a Purple Shirt when in doubt.

  • Click the Photos tab.
  • Your iPhoto Library should open in the Photo Pane.  If you can see thumbnails of your photos, you’re ready to Import.  Please skip ahead to Add Photos.

Reloading your iPhoto Library

Don’t panic if your Photo Library didn’t open up.   If you’re working in the lab on a Firewire Drive, you may find yourself staring at someone else’s snapshots.  Don’t recognize that guy in the Longhorns sweatshirt?  Or the girl in the flower lei?  By default, iMovie will open the iPhoto library stored locally on the Mac hard drive.  Here’s how to straighten it out.

All we have to do is load your own Photo Library back into iPhoto.

  • Save your iMovie Project!  Go to File > Save Project.  We’ll be closing iMovie for a moment, so if you don’t Save first, you’ll lose everything.       
  • Close your Project.  Quit iMovie.  Go to iMovie HD > Quit iMovie HD.
  • Open iPhoto (with the “Option” key).  Hold down the “Option” key while clicking the iPhoto icon in the dock.

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  • A dialogue box will open.  Select > “Choose Library.”
  • A standard “Open File” window will appear.  Locate your Firewire Drive, find your folder, highlight your iPhoto Library, and click the “Open” button.
  • iPhoto will open.  You should see your own photos now.
  • Quit iPhoto.
  • Reopen your iMovie Project.
  • Click the “Photos” Tab.  Now you’ll see your photos!  You’re ready to import and edit.

Add Photos

Now that you see your pictures in the Photo Pane, you can add your photo as is, alter your photo in several different ways, or animate it with a Ken Burns Effect.

  • On the Photos Pane, click a photo you’d like to add to your movie.
  • The photo will open in the Preview Monitor.
  • Use the Duration slider to specify how long you’d long the photo to appear onscreen.
  • If you don’t opt for Ken Burns, just deselect the Ken Burns Effect box.
  • Click Apply. Or, drag the Photo right down to the timeline.

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Ken Burns Effect

The Ken Burns Effect lets you apply camera moves like zooms and pans to otherwise static shots.

In the last act of The Purple Way, Chet returns to reality and saves the day.  We let this act play out entirely as a montage of edited stills.

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  • Check the box beside Ken Burns Effect.
  • iMovie will automatically Preview a Ken Burns Effect by applying the current settings to the selected photo.
  • Now you’ll specify how your photo should appear at the Start and End of your Ken Burns clip.  Use the Start and End switch to isolate and doctor each position.
  • Use the Zoom Slider to zoom in or out.  Or just type a magnification level directly into the box beside the slider.

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  • Grab your Photo and slide it into a desired position.  Hover over the photo in the Preview window until the Hand Tool appears. Now hold down your mouse button while dragging the photo behind the preview window to adjust the framing.
  • Use the Duration Slider to specify how long you’d like your photo to appear onscreen. Do you want a swish pan or something slow and dramatic?  You can also type a number (seconds:frames) right into the window. 
  • You may also Reverse the direction of your camera move.  Maybe you’d like to turn a “zoom in” to a “zoom out.”
  • Click Preview to see the effect of your adjustments.
  • Click Apply.  iMovie will add your photo to the end of your Timeline. (Move it wherever you like).  Or, you may also drag the Photo right down to the timeline.


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© 2005 David W. Wilson| iSchool | UT Austin | webmaster