Posted Monday, May 10, 2004

How to Create a Quick Photo Montage in iMovie

On Apple's iPhoto discussion board, someone was having a problem. He wanted to create a quick photo montage in iMovie, and he was hoping to use iPhoto to get a head start. He wanted to export a slide show as a QuickTime movie, complete with music and transitions, and then bring the resulting movie into iMovie and work with it there.

It seemed like a good plan, but it wasn't working. When he imported the QuickTime movie into iMovie, all the transitions were gone.

The problem is that iMovie isn't able to interpret the way iPhoto is representing the transitions. (Under the hood, iPhoto puts transitions in a separate video track.) This problem isn't new, either -- iPhoto 2 and iMovie 3 have the very same communication barrier.

Fortunately, iMovie 4 provides a solution, thanks to its ability to apply a transition to multiple clips at once.

Here's how to quickly create a photo montage in iMovie 4.

Step 1. Create an album. In iPhoto, create an album containing the photos you want in the montage, in the order in which you want them to appear.

Step 2. Add them to iMovie. Switch to iMovie, and click the Photos button. Display your album, then Control-click on one of the photos and choose Select All from the shortcut menu. All of the photos in the album should appear selected in the Photos pane.

Step 3. Specify photo settings. Use the controls at the top of the Photos pane to specify the duration of each photo. If you want a Ken Burns move on each photo, set it up now, too.

Step 4. Apply your settings. To add all of the photos to the timeline with the settings you specified, click Apply. Tip: Want to alternate between zooming in on one photo and zooming out on the next? Press the Option key while clicking Apply.

When you click Apply, iMovie brings in all the photos and adds them to the timeline. If you've also specified Ken Burns settings, you'll need to wait a few minutes while iMovie renders each clip.

Step 5. Add a transition. Be sure all of the photos' clips are selected in the timeline, then click the Trans button to switch to iMovie's Transitions pane. Select the desired transition, specify its duration, then click Apply.

iMovie 4 adds a transition between each clip. When it's done rendering, you'll have a lovely montage. Assuming, of course, that your pictures are lovely.

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