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iMovie '11: Start a new project

Start a new project

To work on a new video project in iMovie, you first create the project by giving it a name and defining other parameters for it, including whether or not your project will have a theme. Themes give your movies a specific look and feel. Examples of themes include bulletin board, photo album, and comic book.

iMovie comes with a selection of themes you can use in your movie. Each theme comes with its own title styles (text that appears onscreen) and transitions (visual effects that play between clips) that you can use to give your movie a polished and professional look.

When you select a theme, you can have iMovie automatically insert titles and transitions into your project as you add video clips to it. You can always change or delete these elements later.

After you create the project, you add video to it that you’ve already transferred (imported) from your camera to your computer. Lesson 1 describes the importing process.

Start a new video project

  1. In iMovie, choose File > New Project.

    The File menu appears in a light gray bar across the top of your computer screen.

    Image of File menu with New Project selected.
  2. To apply a theme to your project, select one of the themes presented below Project Themes.

    If you don’t want to add any theme-based elements to your project, select No Theme.

  3. Type a name for the project in the Name field.

  4. Choose a format option from the Aspect Ratio pop-up menu.

    This format, which refers to the width and height dimensions of your movie, affects how the video appears on the screen.

    • Widescreen (16:9): 
      Makes the movie appear much wider than it is high. Widescreen movies are optimized for viewing on widescreen computer monitors and high-definition TVs (HDTVs). When viewed on a standard-definition TV, widescreen movies appear with black areas above and below (sometimes referred to as “letterbox”).
    • Standard (4:3): 
      Makes the movie more square in shape. When viewed on a standard-definition TV, these movies can fill the screen. When viewed on an HDTV or widescreen computer monitor, they appear with black areas on the left and right of the video (sometimes referred to as “pillarbox”).
  5. Choose an option from the Frame Rate pop-up menu; choose the same frame rate that you used to shoot the video.

    NTSC, PAL, and Cinema are video format standards that refer to the number of frames per second (fps) your recorded video contains. In general, video cameras purchased in North America use the NTSC format (30 fps), and cameras purchased in Europe use the PAL format (25 fps). Cinema format video has a frame rate of 24 fps. If your camera was set to Cinema format when you shot your video, choose this option.

  6. If you didn’t select a theme in step 2, and you want iMovie to automatically include transition effects between video clips as you add them, select “Automatically add,” and then choose a transition style from the pop-up menu.

  7. If you did select a theme for your project but don’t want iMovie to add themed elements automatically, deselect “Automatically add transitions and titles.”

    When this option is selected, iMovie automatically inserts cross-dissolve transitions and special themed transitions between clips, as well as a theme-styled introductory title over the first clip in your project, and a theme-styled credits title over the last clip.

  8. Click Create.

    The empty project, which contains no video yet, opens in the Project browser, shown below.

    Image of Project browser with no video clips.
Last Modified: Jul 23, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Jul 23, 2012
  • Article: PH2115
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