Advanced iMovie Tips and Tricks to Make Your Movies Look and Sound Better

As a pro user, I still use iMovie from time to time due to its ease of use and overall simplicity. This helps me finish projects faster than I would with a program like Premiere. iMovie does have quite a few advanced capabilities that help it compete against some more complicated, and often times paid, programs. This article will detail a few of those tips, including fixing rolling shutter, how to easily transition video but not audio, and more.

How to Adjust the Volume for an Audio Selection

While most of the time you will likely want the volume to stay at a steady pace throughout your movie, you may wish to bring it down if say, someone were speaking on camera. It is a great technique to make sure your subject is audible, but this feature is a bit tucked away.

Press and hold “R” and drag on the subject audio clip to select a portion of it. You can now use the audio slider to adjust the percentage. iMovie will automatically fade the high volume to the lower setting and visa versa. This change will not be abrupt in your movie.

Use Footage from Your iPhone


With iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, video quality is comparable to quite a few DSLRs on the market. Luckily, it is easy to import your freshly-shot and crispy footage into iMovie.

1. Start by plugging your iOS device into your Mac.

2. Click “Import” from the file menu within the top menu bar. You will now have to choose your iOS device from the list of cameras.

Alternatively, you can use AirDrop. Make sure your iPhone and Mac have WiFi and Bluetooth turned on, choose what to AirDrop from the iOS photos app and move the newly AirDropped photos from Downloads to a project folder. You are now ready to edit your iPhone videos!

Know Basic Keyboard Shortcuts

You can significantly cut down your movie editing time by taking a moment to memorize important keyboard shortcuts and reflecting on them often.

  • Space Bar – Play
  • \ – Play selected clip from the start
  • Press and hold R while dragging – Select part, but not all, of a clip
  • I – Choose input point
  • O – Choose output point
  • Option + / – Trim a clip to the playhead
  • Command + Z – Undo
  • Command + Shift + Z – Redo Last Step

Customize Text Style


Often the ability to customize the look and style of titles is overlooked. This can leave you with the very generic look of just about any iMovie production that was thrown together solely on templates. Going as far as changing the default font to something similar, yet different, will help give the finished movie more of a professional feel and less of a homemade one. After dragging a title onto the timeline, click the “T” above the playback window, and choose a new font from the drop-down menu.

Add Stabilization to Your Clips


Click the camcorder icon above the playback window, and check the box labeled “stabilize shaky video.” Adjust the percentage down as much as possible while still retaining stable video. The more the program is allowed to crop a video to stabilize it, the more distorted it will appear to be. Distortion, in most cases, can look far worse than a shaky clip to begin with. Click the “fix rolling shutter” box to give footage a smoother motion look if it appears distorted.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

What iMovie tips and tricks not mentioned are a must-know to make better-looking videos and movies? Let us know in a comment down below!

Corbin Telligman
Corbin Telligman

I'm a junior at UT Dallas, a tech enthusiast, an adreneline junkie, and a coffee fanatic.

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