iPhone4 & iMovie:How to Clip Videos, Fade-to-Black & Flash White

I have to say I’ve been pretty impressed with iMovie on the iPhone 4.

After getting over the one non-intuitive item, adding titles by double-clicking on the video in the timeline, I was able to create fun short videos with some pretty cool effects in under 15 minutes. I noticed two really good videos entirely shot on the iPhone 4. This link will take you to a video that shows the ‘behind the scenes’ iPhone being used on custom built camera dolly and other mobile video camera mounts to create professional film-like camera shots.

And this Ducati commercial was also shot entirely on an iPhone 4, but they did use some professional post production to smooth things out and such.

After seeing these two videos this week, I decided to play around with iMovie myself and have been really, really impressed.

But…as I looked around from various iMovie tips, I consistently saw people complaining that you cannot ‘clip video’. iMovie provides a way to ‘shorten’ clips by dragging the beginning of the clip to start ‘later’ within it or dragging in the end of the clip so that it ends earlier.

I also found people wishing there were fade-to-black and white flash transitions available. As well as “Solid Black, White or Color backgrounds for title only transitions.

I’m not a video guy by any means…but this wasn’t that hard to figure out and I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone mention these basic ‘hacks’…so here goes my tips:

How to add a Fade-to-Black:

  1. Locate or create a solid black jpg of size 1000 x 700
  2. Email the image and save it to your camera roll, or use your favorite method to get the jpg there.
  3. Place this picture wherever you want a “fade-to-black” transition…stretch it out to make it longer.

How to add a White-Flash scene transition:

  1. Locate or create a solid white black jpg image and save that one to your camera
  2. You do see where this is going, right?    😉

How to add a black ‘title only’ transition:

  1. Video a black piece of paper in a dark room so that the video appears all black, using your iPhone 4.
  2. Drag this video clip onto your timeline and double click to add your titles

How to add a white…or any other color…”title only” transition:

  1. In a brightly, well lit area, video various color poster board so that only that color appears in the video
  2. I think you can figure the rest out

Finally, how to ‘clip video’:

  1. Ok. You can’t. BUT…you can smell like someone that can.  🙂
  2. Seriously, iMovie does allow you to use the same clip over and over. So if you want to start by showing ten seconds of video near the end of your clip and THEN only showing 8 seconds of something near the beginning of the clip, you can achieve that goal by using the same clip ‘twice’, shrinking each one to show only the ‘out-of-sequence’ shots you want to display in the appropriate spot on your timeline.
  3. Start by dropping the clip onto the timeline from your camera roll
  4. Shorten both ends to show only the ten seconds that you want to start with.
  5. Insert the same clip again from your camera roll
  6. Shorten the clip to show only the eight seconds that you want near the beginning of the clip.
  7. Add other transition effects as shown.

Here’s my example of some very quick first attempts. I did not have a well lit environment, so I only used the black video for titles. I’ll need to get some color poster board to create the other color title screens ‘samples’. I recommend shooting at least 15-20 seconds in order to have plenty of time for viewers to read your titles. You can always shorten it if needed.

Since I’m not near my desktop, where I sync via cable, I am emailing this to Youtube in a lower quality setting. Apple & AT&T have announced they’ll soon allow us to email the High Def format soon, but I’ll replace this once I get tethered in a day or three.

Enjoy!  Please post other ‘tips or tricks’ in the comments field if you have any.

Click here to see a Video Sample using most of these effects

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7 thoughts on “iPhone4 & iMovie:How to Clip Videos, Fade-to-Black & Flash White

  1. Nice tips. I was hunting how to fade out the title during a clip but at least with these methods you can insert a title then play the clip.

    • Just thought about it and I think you can.

      If your video clip with the title used a black background, you could follow that with a short solid black video clip or maybe picture. Double click the transition icon between those two clips, you can also tweak how quick.

  2. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could
    add to my blog that automatically tweet my
    newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    • I used several prior to Twitter recently changing their TOC and limiting third party access to their feed. That has broken most of the best Twitter plug-ins for WordPress. However, it has been several months since I last searched, so I’m sure something will be out there soon, if not already. Check WordPress.com forums.

  3. Hi! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.

    Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Cheers

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