Plan your project with a storyboard

In iMovie, you can create a storyboard (a draft layout) for your project before adding video clips to it. Storyboarding lets you plan a project and experiment with timing and mixing types of shots (for example, close-ups, wide angles, landscapes, and so on) so that there’s less trial and error when you start adding video clips.

You can storyboard as your first step in creating a project, or you can use the storyboarding placeholder images (called animatics) in a project that’s already in process.

To storyboard a project:

  1. Create a new project, or open an existing project.

  2. Click the “Map, Background, and Animatic” button (shown below) in the toolbar below the viewer.

    The “Map, Background, and Animatic” browser appears. Scroll to the bottom to view the animatics (placeholder images).

    Image of the Maps and Backgrounds button

  3. Drag an animatic to the Project browser, before, after, or between existing video clips or other animatics.

    Continue adding animatics to lay out the story of your project, mixing styles and types of shots to build an interesting narrative or visual flow.

  4. To change the duration of an animatic (how long it remains onscreen), double-click it, and then enter a new value (in seconds) in the Duration field.

  5. To play back the storyboard, or the portion of a project that is storyboarded, in the Project browser, place the playhead (the red vertical line) in front of the clip or animatic where you want to start playback, and then press the Space bar; press the Space bar again to stop playback.

You can treat the storyboard just as you would any other project, adding music, sound effects, transitions, titles, and so on. When you later replace the animatics with actual video clips, these elements remain in place.

To replace animatics with video:

  • When you’re ready to add video to your storyboard, you must replace the animatics with video from the Event browser. Go to this topic to learn how to replace video clips: Replace a video clip in your project.