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Using iMovie: The Slow Motion Setting

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 10/14/2010

Here is a look at how to apply the iMovie slow motion setting.

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    Slow It Down Now

    iMovie may be a relatively simple program, but it still has the ability to perform some pretty advanced functions that define the non-linear video editing platform. One of the features iMovies continues to offer is the ability to change the timing of video clips by changing how they play. Here is a step by step tutorial on how to use the iMove slow motion setting.

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    iMovie Slow Motion

    You are going to start out by selecting the button for the Timeline viewer as this is where the iMovie slow motion should be applied. Make imovie timeline sure that you select the clip that you want to apply the slow motion to and only that clip, otherwise this can interfere with your project.

    BiMovieLesson4-2 elow the Timeline is going to be a Clip Speed Slider that will affect the iMovie clip speed. This will be to the right of the Zoom slider and to the left of the Edit Volume box. Here you can slide the clip's speed left or right, with a move to the left speeding up the clip and a move to the right slowing it down.

    If you move it a single segment to the right you will apply the iMovie slow motion by slowing the clip down to half the speed, and moving down another segment results in a 3x reduction in speed. This is the pattern repeats itself for up to four segments.

    As you apply this iMovie slow motion effect you will see that the clip that you are applying the slow motion to is going to become longer in the Timeline. Obviously, a clip playing at half speed takes twice as long to play. This can change the time of not only the clip that you applied the iMovie slow motion to, but also the total piece in general.

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    Final Thoughts

    If you are going to apply the iMovie slow motion setting to a clip you should first make sure that the clip will be able to take it and maintain the proper aesthetics. Often times if the clip has not been shot with slow motion in mind and the appropriate settings for this then there can be a blur that occurs, or a lack of clarity in general.

    Slowing down a film can also be very confusing for the audience if they're not aware that the film is slowing down, so you should make sure that slowing down the film coincides with a narrative moment and this effect is not over used as it will limit it's impact. You should also consider removing or replacing the sound that is with the clip as using slow motion will distort sound and this will almost always feel out of place. Everything must be motivated by your video editing project, so use the slow motion setting wisely.

iMovie Tutorials and Articles

Here is a series of articles with different topics around the iMovie video editing software.
  1. Using iMovie - Converting and Burning DVDs
  2. Learning iMovie - Top Alternatives
  3. Using iMovie: The Slow Motion Setting
  4. Why is iMovie Running So Slow?