iMovie Advanced Features: How to Use (with Screenshots)


iMovie – Advanced Features

If you have a Mac, the power of iMovie allows you to create incredibly effective videos for your business, YouTube channel, or anything your heart desires!

We have already covered the absolute basics of iMovie to get you started. In this article tutorial, we will discuss a few more advanced features to help you use iMovie to its fullest potential.

Recording Video From Your Mac’s Web Camera

iMovie makes it super easy to create a vLog or shoot video directly from your web camera.

To activate the web cam, simply click on the “camera” button in the middle left corner of the toolbar.


Adding Titles to Your Video

Titles give your video a professional look and let you convey information on screen.



To add titles, click the “T” button, located in the middle right of the toolbar.

adding titles how to use imovie tutorials

iMovie has dozens of title special effects like the Star Wars credits, fade ins/outs, and even a bundle of lower thirds to keep your video looking professional.

Once you’ve found the one that you would like to use, drag and drop it right above your footage in the timeline.


From here, you will see the text appear on the preview screen on the right. You can modify what your font will say by clicking directly on it in the preview window.

type text in imovie for titles

To change the font style, size, or color, click on the “Show Fonts” button in the top left corner of the Preview window.

This will open up a Fonts popup box, where you can modify the look and style of your font.

how to use imovie tutorials choose fonts


Adding Music to Your iMovie Video

Adding music creates an elusive emotional undertone to your video.

To do this, just click on the little musical note icon in the middle right of iMovie.

This will pull open your iTunes music, where you can use any song in iTunes as a soundtrack to your video!

how to use imovie tutorials choose music

Choose the song you’d like to use, drag and drop it into your video wherever you’d like for that song to start.




Adding a Transition

Adding a transition to your iMovie video allows it to flow nicely from clip to clip or photo to photo.

To do this, click on the square looking icon in the tool bar to open the Transitions Window


This will reveal a ton of transitions that iMovie lets you play with.

To use one, simple drag the desired transition into your timeline on the left and place it between any two clips to make that transition occur.

PRO TIP: Try not to get too carried away with the “box rotation” or “page curl” effects. Those effects come off a bit amateurish to most people. Instead, keep it professional and stick with a Cross Fade effect or Cross Blur.


Adding Photos to Your Video

Adding photos to create something like a slideshow is always a fun way to use iMovie. Or, if you’re just trying to cutaway to a photo to represent something while you are talking to the camera, that’s definitely another option as well.

To add a photo, click on the camera icon in the toolbar on the right.


This button opens up your iPhoto database (the one that tries to open up every time you plug in your iPhone.)

If you would like to grab a photo from another place inside of your computer, just click on the drop down menu that says “Photos” to choose the desired location of your photos.


Once you’ve got the right photo folder opened, select which photo you would like to add to your movie. Drag and drop the photo over to your timeline and place it where you’d like to see it show up in your video.


In iMovie 11 or higher, you will see this window pop up with multiple “overlay insertion” functionalities.

For this particular tutorial, we are going to assume that you want to insert the photo ON TOP of the video that is already playing.

This is called a “cutaway” and will allow you to keep hearing the audio from your video, while the video “cuts away” to the photo at the same time.


Hopefully this gives you a better idea of iMovie’s more advanced functionalities.  Please let us know if you have any questions or tutorial requests in the comments section below! Or Contact Us!

How to Sync Video and Audio in iMovie


There have been a lot of questions about how best to sync audio and video from an H4n and DSLR camera in iMovie.

Here’s a breakdown from YouTube tutorial expert Matthew Pearce, who tells us how easy this process really can be with a little bit of work.

How to Sync Video and Audio in iMovie

Here we are in iMovie with some footage that was shot with on a Canon 70D. (My personal favorite DSLR camera to shoot with these days.)

Of course I’m using this setup, I normally use with a timeline down here at the bottom. If you’re using the more traditional setup, it doesn’t really matter, this is just the way that I prefer it.


The first step is to of course bring in our audio.

It doesn’t matter which you use for an external recorder where there’s something nice like a Zoom H4n or your iPhone, let’s go ahead and drag it in.

drag file into imovie to work with in timeline and sync audio and video

The next step is going to be to turn on the audio waveforms and this is something I actually recommend you guys. 

Always have on because it’s really going to help you out, but in case you don’t, it’s just this button down here at the bottom right and once you click it, bam, all the sudden now you can see exactly what’s going on with your audio.




I like to do three evenly spaced because those three spikes are super easy to find when I’m looking at the audio timeline. 

As you can see they’re right there, so it’s simply a manner of bringing our clip over and lining up those three peaks. 

Of course, I could zoom in a little bit more if I want to get it more exact but I think this is going to be pretty good just how it is.


The final step is simply bringing down the audio in our original timeline.

Once it’s down, all we’re going to hear is our newly synced external audio with our video footage.


How to Sync your Audio and Video To Begin With:

Now, if you are trying to sync your audio and video together to begin with, that’s an entirely different process.

For “one click audio and video synchronizing”, we recommend trying out DreamSync.

This little tool will save you tons of time in post-production and make it super simple to piece your audio and video content together.

Check out a demo of DreamSync below and let us know what you think!

Get DreamSync Now!

How to Use iMovie (For Beginners)


Trying to learn how to use iMovie? Glad to help!

Here is an easy 4 step breakdown to get you started in less than 5 minutes.
(BONUS: Make sure to check out our tutorial on how to turn on hidden advanced features in iMovie)

How To Use iMovie

Name Your Project and Choose The Aspect Ratio

When you first launch iMovie, you will see this screen (below). This will allow you to start a “Project”.

Think of your “project” as the Video that you are trying to create.

Whatever you plan on calling your iMovie video, that’s what you will name it in the “Project Name”


iMovie also allows you to choose the “Aspect Ratio” of your video.

Rather going into the technical definitions of each one of these options, just make sure to choose Widescreen (16:9).


This is the standard these days and will make your final product look the best.




Choose a Theme in the Menu

The themes that iMovie offers are interesting. It’s like a shortcut for giving your video a style or particular flavor that you’re trying to convey to the viewer.

We suggest playing with themes by choosing one that interests you the most.

(Don’t worry, you can always switch to a different theme or turn of the Theme all together if you don’t like it)


PRO TIP: “Automatically add transitions and slides” is a good option if you are trying to create a slideshow.

But if you’re creating a video, it might not be the best option. We advise not to use this option because turning it off is a manual process which can be tedious and time consuming.

Want to get this tutorial as a CHEAT SHEET PDF?
Click the link below and we’ll send it to you via email!

Download The iMovie Cheat Sheet! >> 


File > Import Movies to Get Footage Into iMovie

iMovie likes to have all of its footage imported directly into the program so that it can manage all of the media in the background. To get your video clips into iMovie, you’ll need to go up to the “File” in the menu bar and select “Import” > “Movies…” Import-movies-in-iMovie-how-to-use-imovie-dreamsync   From here, you will choose the video files that you would like to import into iMovie using the Finder window. How-to-import-movies-into-imovie-beginners-guide


Drag Clips Into the Timeline

Once you’ve got your clips loaded into the iMovie database, select which ones you would like to add into your video, drag, and drop it into the timeline above. What you are doing is building a video “timeline” that lets you cut from one video clip to the next whenever you want. how-to-use-imovie-drag-and-drop-footage-into-imovie And that’s how you build your video.  



Make sure to check out our tutorial on how to turn on hidden advanced features in iMovie) show advanced features in imovie- dreamsync tutorial  



There you have it. Learning how to use iMovie is that easy!

Hopefully this gives you a better idea of how to use iMovie’s basic functionalities.

Please let us know if you have any questions or tutorial requests in the comments section below!


Want to get this entire post as a CHEAT SHEET PDF?
Click the link below and we’ll send it to you via email!

Download The iMovie Cheat Sheet!