Types of special effects you can apply to video and photos

iMovie includes several tools for adding special effects to video and photos in your projects.

Video effects

Video effects apply a stylized filter to still images and video to modify their appearance. Examples of video effects include dream, sepia, negative, and x-ray.

Audio effects

Audio effects apply a filter to any type of audio clip—including the audio that was recorded with your video—modifying the sound in interesting ways. Examples of audio effects include robot, cosmic, and echo. You can also change the pitch of audio clips or make them sound as though they were recorded in specific locations, such as a small room or cathedral.

Effects that use two images

You create these two-image effects by dragging a video clip over another video clip in a project. To apply these effects, you must have Advanced Tools turned on in iMovie preferences.

  • Picture-in-picture:  A picture-in-picture clip is a clip of video that plays in a small window on top of another video clip.

  • Cutaway:  A cutaway clip is a video clip you insert into another, usually related, clip in order to show two different elements of a single event. The two clips play sequentially, not at the same time: the original clip “cuts away” to the added clip and then returns to the original clip.

  • Green-screen and blue-screen:  You can record video in front of a green or blue backdrop and then “cut out” the subject and place it into another video clip.

  • Side-by-side:  A side-by-side clip creates a split-screen effect, showing two different video clips playing next to each other in the same frame, with each clip taking up half of the frame.

Speed and motion effects

There are several ways to modify how video clips play in your projects.

  • Fast forward and slow motion:  Speeds up or slows down the video.

  • Reverse:  Plays the video in reverse. For example, if you apply the reverse effect to footage of a person running down a football field, reversing it makes the person look as if he’s running backward.

  • Instant replay:  Replays the selected video at a percentage of the speed of the original video—50 percent, 25 percent, or 10 percent. An Instant Replay title appears on the screen; you can edit it or delete it if you want.

  • Rewind:  Rewinds the selected clip and plays it back after the original clip. So, you end up with a total of three clips: the original clip at normal speed, followed by the selected section backward and sped up (that is, rewound), and finally the selected section at normal speed.

Effects that use beat markers

If you’ve added beat markers to background music in your project, you can apply interesting effects to any video clip overlaying that background music.

  • Jump Cut at Beat Markers:  Jumps the video ahead by the number of frames you choose, from 5 to 30.

  • Split at Beat Markers:  Splits the video at every beat marker. You can then apply different effects to each section of video to create a visually striking movie project. You can also rearrange clips and add new ones while retaining the “cut-on-the-beat” pattern.

  • Flip at Beat Markers:  Flips the video at every beat marker, which makes the video appear as if you’re viewing it from the other side.

Additional visual effects

  • Flash and hold last frame:  Adds a brief flash transition between the selected portion of the clip or frame range and its last frame. The last frame is then turned into a still image that remains onscreen for three seconds, but you can change this duration if you want.

  • Fade to:  Adds transitions before and after a portion of a video clip, fading it into and out of a special visual treatment: black and white, sepia, or dream.