Make great movies fast on your iPad with iMovie Trailers

How to create engaging short movies on iPad

Apple, iPad, iMovie, iOS, video, Mac, iPhone
Apple

iPad users enjoy a powerful tool for creative self-expression on the fly, ‘iMovie Trailers’. These ready to use video creation templates are incredibly useful if you want to make short, punchy movies fast. So what are they and how do you use them?

Movies for the rest of us

If you’ve used iMovie (which is available for download for all Apple devices) you may have been put off by the length of time it takes to create a film from scratch. The results may be impressive, but time is short and many people lack the time it takes to make a perfect movie. iMovie Trailers helps expedite movie making by providing you with a clear and easy to follow template-based workflow that helps you get good results fast.

The modern report card

iMovie’s Trailers feature is being widely used in schools. Teachers like that it provides digitally savvy students with an engaging way to create movies, for special reports, years in view, or project/topic-based work. What makes this so successful is that using technology in this way doesn’t only boost student achievement, but also provides a great way to teach those other valuable skills: project planning, group working, collaboration, team play, decision-making and more – all through a medium children already relate to, video.

Using iMovie Trailers

So, you want to make an iMovie Trailer? The first step is preparation. Figure out what you want to say in your short movie and gather the images and video clips you want to use together.

Combine your photos and video into one folder in Photos (it makes them much easier to locate if you do so). Launch iMovie and open a New Project, choose Trailer in the next window.

Pick a Genre: You’ll be asked to pick a Genre for the trailer. There are 14 options on iPad:

  • Adrenaline
  • Bollywood
  • Coming of Age
  • Expedition
  • Fairy Tale
  • Family
  • Indie
  • Narrative
  • Retro
  • Romance
  • Scary
  • Superhero
  • Swashbuckler
  • Teen

Each Genre is a little different and you may have to take a look at all the templates to identify the most appropriate one for a short video project. If you are one of several teams using a shared iPad you may find these Storyboard help sheets useful – they list all the elements you may need to think about so you can work on the project even when you don’t have access to the shared device.

Some templates let you edit the number of cast members. To do so just tap the plus or minus button that appear to the right of the ‘Cast’ header.

Project Outline: You’ll be taken to the Project Outline page. Enter the movie and cast member names, studio and team credits. You can always return to this page later. When you’re done with the page (or if you want to deal with it later), tap Storyboard to start assigning clips.

Storyboard: Storyboard is where the real work happens.

The page is divided into three: top left shows video, while lower left is where you can preview and choose video, and iPhoto images, and also capture new material using your iPad’s camera.

screen shot 2017 01 16 at 15.24.54 Apple

The Storyboard is where you combine all your video and still image assets and tweak text.

Using Storyboard

The Storyboard varies depending on which Genre you’ve selected. It consists of editable text that explains the story line and a series of slots into which you will select video and still images appropriate to the story you are trying to tell. Each slot has a defined length, and tells you what kind of shot it is. Choices include –

  • Close up,
  • Action,
  • Group
  • Landscape
  • Medium
  • Two Shot

And more – the options reflect your chosen Genre.

To edit text just tap it to enter edit mode. To quickly move to the next bit of text just use the left and right arrows that appear on your iPad keyboard.

You select visual assets in the lower left media browser. Tap a storyboard window element to select it, choose the appropriate visual asset (you may need to tap to download it), click it at the point you want it to begin and tap to place it into the storyline.

You can scrub through clips to choose your insertion point (where the clip begins), it will start at that point and last as long as the template requires. If you don’t like a clip, select it and change its insertion point or delete it from the project by selecting it and tapping the Trash icon. You can now replace it with a more suitable element.

When it comes to still images you can choose the beginning and end point of an image to set the appearance of the Ken Burns Effect, which provides a sense of motion to still image.

You can preview your work at any time: Place your cursor where you want playback to begin and press tap play. The trailer will play in the preview pane, but you can choose to play it in full screen.

Tweaking the results

You can make small changes to the video. In Storyboard view you can select a clip and the Edit Shot item will appear. Here you can:

  • Scrub through the video to change the beginning or end point
  • Tap the greyed out tortoise icon to apply slow motion to a clip
  • Or tap the speaker icon to switch on audio for that clip. Audio is disabled on all clips by default, but if you want to use it you can do so using this setting.

You can also set the beginning and end of the Ken Burns effect that is applied to still images used in the project.

  • Select the image in Storyboard
  • The image should appear in the Edit Shot window, where you can
  • Enable or disable the Ken Burns feature by tapping the words ‘Ken Burns Enabled” that appear above the Edit Shot window.
  • Set the Start and End point of the effect
  • Drag to position and zoom an image to get the correct result.

Sharing clips

You can share your movie using the Share button. This lets you share the movie with other apps as well as people. You can use AirDrop or iCloud Drive to pass content across to your Mac for more advanced editing in iMovie.

The instructions are similar on all Apple devices, though you do gain more powerful editing tools (such as limited volume control and additional Genre templates) when used with iMovie on a Mac.

If you want to learn more about using iMovie on an iPad you might want to take a look at Apple’s iMovie for iPad Starter Guide [link]. Aimed at educational professionals it’s full of useful information for any iPad user and at the cost (free through the iBook Store) it’s well worth a look.

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