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iMovie '11: Add a picture-in-picture clip

Add a picture-in-picture clip

A picture-in-picture clip is a clip of video that plays in a small window on top of another video clip. These clips are useful for showing someone narrating the action happening in the main clip. You could also create narrative, for example, by showing a groom “peeking in” on his bride as she gets ready for her wedding.

To insert a picture-in-picture clip:

  1. Make sure Advanced Tools are turned on.

  2. Open the project you want to add the picture-in-picture clip to so that it’s showing in the Project browser.

  3. In the Event browser, select a video clip or a frame range that you want to use as a picture in picture, and then drag it over a clip in your project.

    When you see the green Add (+) symbol, release the mouse button.

  4. In the contextual menu that appears, choose “Picture in Picture.”

    In the Project browser, the picture-in-picture clip appears with a blue border around it above the video clip in your project, and the portion of the clip it appears in is shaded in gray.

    Image of a picture-in-picture clip in the Project browser.

    Depending on the length of the picture-in-picture clip you added, it may extend beyond the clip you added it to (only if there’s another clip after the clip you added the picture-in-picture clip to). To reposition where the picture-in-picture clip appears in the project, drag it to a different spot within the same clip or to a different clip. You can also drag the ends to lengthen or shorten it. To drag an end, move the pointer over it until the pointer changes to a resize pointer, and then drag.

  5. Play back the effect by placing the playhead (the red vertical line) anywhere before the picture-in-picture clip in the Project browser and then pressing the Space bar.

    Press the Space bar again to stop playback.

To adjust the picture-in-picture clip:

You can position the picture-in-picture clip anywhere you want within the main clip, and you can resize it, make a border around it, and set it to appear with a zoom or dissolve effect. You can even set it so that the original video shrinks into the picture-in-picture window while the new video plays in the background.

Do any of the following:

  • To change the part of the frame where the picture-in-picture clip appears, click to select the clip in the Project browser (so that its border turns yellow), and then drag the picture-in-picture window in the viewer. Yellow guidelines appear to help you align it. Click Done when you’re happy with the placement.

    Image of the picture-in-picture window in the viewer
  • To resize the picture-in-picture window, select the picture-in-picture clip in the Project browser (click it so that a yellow border appears around it), and then drag any of the clip window’s corners in the viewer. Click Done when you’re happy with the size.

  • To apply an effect to the picture-in-picture clip, double-click the clip in the Project browser to open the inspector, and then choose Zoom, Dissolve, or Swap from the pop-up menu that appears below the PIP Effect subhead.

    Choosing Swap makes the main clip shrink into the picture-in-picture window while the new clip plays at full size in the background.

  • To give the picture-in-picture clip a drop shadow or a border, or to set the border color, double-click the picture-in-picture clip in the Project browser to open the inspector, and then select Visible next to Drop Shadow, or click the Border Width or Border Color button below the PIP Effect section of the inspector.

To delete a picture-in-picture clip:

Click to select the picture-in-picture clip in the Project browser (so that its border turns yellow), and then press Delete.

The sound from the original clip and the sound from the picture-in-picture clip play simultaneously. You can reduce the volume of either clip so that sound from the other clip stands out. Go to this topic to learn how: Reduce the volume of competing audio clips.

You can edit picture-in-picture clips the same way you edit standard clips in your projects. For example, you can trim them using the Clip Trimmer, adjust their audio, crop them, add video effects, and so on.

If a picture-in-picture clip covers a transition in your project, the transition is overridden and doesn’t play.

Last Modified: Jul 23, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Jul 23, 2012
  • Article: PH2243
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