iMovie for Mac: Create a picture-in-picture effect

Create a picture-in-picture effect

A picture-in-picture clip plays in a window on top of another clip—for example, to show someone narrating the action happening in the main clip.

Add a picture-in-picture effect

  1. Select a clip or range that you want to use as a picture-in-picture clip, and drag it above a clip in the timeline.

    Timeline showing clip being dragged above another clip to connect it

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

  2. If the video overlay controls aren’t shown, click the Video Overlay Settings button.

    Video Overlay Settings button in adjustments bar
  3. Click the pop-up menu on the left and choose Picture in Picture.

    In the viewer, the picture-in-picture clip appears in an inset window on top of the clip it’s attached to.

    Picture-in-picture controls above viewer

    To reposition the picture-in-picture clip, drag it to a different spot within the clip, or to a different clip. You can also drag the ends to lengthen or shorten it.

  4. To apply the change, click the Apply button in the picture-in-picture controls.

Adjust a picture-in-picture effect

You can position a picture-in-picture clip anywhere you want in the timeline, and you can resize it, add a border around it, and set it to appear with a dissolve, zoom, or swap effect. You can even have the original video shrink into the picture-in-picture window while the new video plays in the background.

  1. In the timeline, select the clip with the picture-in-picture effect.

  2. If the picture-in-picture controls aren’t shown, click the Video Overlay Settings button.

    Video Overlay Settings button in adjustments bar
  3. Do any of the following:

    • Reposition the picture-in-picture clip: Drag the picture-in-picture window in the viewer.

      Yellow guidelines appear to help you align the clip with the vertical and horizontal center or edges of the frame.

    • Resize the picture-in-picture window: Drag any of the clip’s corners in the viewer.

    • Apply an effect to the picture-in-picture clip: Click the transition style pop-up menu and choose Dissolve, Zoom, or Swap.

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

    • Set the duration of the effect transition: Type a value in the transition duration field to the right of the transition style pop-up menu.

    • Add a border to the picture-in-picture clip: Click the button for a border type.

    • Give the picture-in-picture clip a drop shadow: Select the Shadow checkbox.

    • Set the border color: Click the color well and select a color in the Colors window.

  4. To apply your changes, click the Apply button in the picture-in-picture controls.

Animate the position of a picture-in-picture clip

You can animate the position of a picture-in-picture clip so that it moves as your movie plays. You define the path that the picture-in-picture clip follows by setting keyframes at specific points in time.

  1. In the timeline, select the picture-in-picture clip you want to animate.

  2. If the picture-in-picture controls aren’t shown, click the Video Overlay Settings button.

    Video Overlay Settings button in adjustments bar
  3. Position the playhead within the picture-in-picture clip where you want to set a position.

  4. In the viewer, click the Add Keyframe button to add a keyframe.

    The Add Keyframe button changes to the Delete Keyframe button, indicating that there is a keyframe set at the current frame. Clicking the Delete Keyframe button removes the current keyframe.

    Previous Keyframe, Next Keyframe, and Delete Keyframe buttons in viewer

    If the Next Keyframe or Previous Keyframe button is dimmed, it means there is no keyframe in that direction in the timeline.

  5. Reposition the playhead within the picture-in-picture clip where you want to set another position.

  6. In the viewer, adjust the position of the picture-in-picture clip.

  7. Continue to skim and add keyframes until you’re finished.

  8. To apply the change, click the Apply button in the picture-in-picture controls.

    When you play the movie, the picture-in-picture clip moves along the path defined by the keyframes you set.

Published Date: Oct 10, 2019
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