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!

How to Unlock Hidden Advanced Features in iMovie

unlocking advanced features in iMovie- dreamsync tutorial

As a video production trainer, I get asked the “how to sync audio and video in iMovie” question… A LOT.

Believe it or not, iMovie does NOT have that sort of functionally built in.

That’s what makes it so different from Final Cut X or Adobe Premiere Pro.

So, for the sake of this article, I won’t teach you how to sync audio and video in iMovie (instead, check out this post for a step-by-step guide).

Manual Processes and Hidden Features

What I will say is that iMovie is already extremely effective for newbie to intermediate editors cutting simple videos together.

If you’re shooting with an iPhone or DSLR camera, it’s still an excellent tool when you need to sync audio and video.

Granted, this process will be done manually in the timeline by hand.

But as long as you’ve kept your video and audio footage neatly organized, it shouldn’t take you too much time to sort out before editing your talking head and interview footage together..

HOWEVER, (audio video sync aside) did you know that there ARE a set of ADVANCED TOOLS that are hidden in the Menu bar of iMovie??

Yup. And guess what? They’re actually kind of awesome.

advanced-features-in-imovie-dream-sync tutorial

What Do These Advanced Features Do?

iMovie’s advanced features let you do the following:

  1. Keyword Controls: 
Helps to organize clips by keyword
  2. Cutaway Options: 
Let’s you test out multiple clips to insert the best looking cutaway
  3. Picture-in-Picture: 
Useful if you have multiple camera angles recording and want to present them at the same time
  4. Chapter Markers: 
Allows you to mark sections of your video and get right to a certain part in your finished .MOV file or DVD)

How Do I Turn Them On?

Click on our 40 second video tutorial below to find out how to activate these Advanced Features in iMovie!


Your Workflow is Officially Limitless

Using DreamSync for audio / video syncing and THEN using iMovie’s advanced features, you’re pretty much unstoppable when it comes to creating your videos. Here’s what your workflow now looks like on paper:

  1. Sync your videos with DreamSync.
  2. Import them into iMovie.
  3. Activate the advanced features.
  4. Go nuts.


Oh! And as for that “syncing audio and video in iMovie” dillema? Try using something like DreamSync… it’ll do wonders for your workflow and speed everything up.

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

Get DreamSync Now!