Experimenting with Video Slideshows in iMovie

by Charlie Miller

I don’t shoot much digital video. In fact, I don’t own a camcorder, so any video I shoot gets captured as an .avi file on my Canon point-and-shoot. So it may seem surprising that I have any use for iMovie. But as I’ve written about before, Aperture makes its library available to all the iLife and iWork applications through the iLife Media Browser. So if you start to think of Aperture as the content hub in your photography workflow, you can begin to think of applications like iMovie, iWeb, and Keynote as modules that let you create multimedia content with your images. Any adjustments or organization decisions you make in Aperture are reflected in the Media Browser, and images can simply be dragged-and-dropped right into your video, Web, or presentation projects.

Back to iMovie as an example. Next time you have a few minutes and you’re feeling creative, pick five or six compelling images from your Aperture library and try creating a 30 second video project in iMovie:


First, in Aperture, create a new keyword named “iMovie Experiment” and add it to the metadata of your selected images. Then, create a new Smart Album at the root level of your library and set it to match images whose keywords contain “iMovie Experiment”. Now you’re done with Aperture. You can even quit it at this point to be sure that you are maximizing the system resources available to iMovie.

Now launch iMovie and create a new project. Name it “Aperture Experiment” and pick a video format. For our example I’ll choose DV Widescreen, but for larger, high-definition video you can experiment with the various HD formats. Click Create, and iMovie fires up with your project ready to be edited.


Click on the Media button in iMovie and choose Photos from the top tabs. Both your iPhoto and Aperture libraries will be available here, so be sure your looking under Aperture and select the iMovie Experiment album. Click on your first photo’s thumbnail and iMovie will preview an animated video of this photo with the Ken Burns effect applied. Try experimenting with the Ken Burns effect settings: choose different start and end points, try different cropping and speeds. Or simply turn the effect off. When you’re satisfied, click Apply and iMovie will render video of this image to your timeline. Repeat the process for your other images and try experimenting with the transitions available under the Editing button: choose a transition and drag it in between two video clips in your timeline.

The possibilities here are endless, and you’re not going for perfection. Just try exploring iMovie and seeing what the possibilities are for creating video content from your photos. When you’re done, you can export your project as a Quicktime movie, or send it to iDVD for burning to disc.

Are experienced Aperture users out there using iMovie for this type of video authoring? Feel free to post comments, suggestions, and links to your video projects in the comments.


2007-07-20 16:18:17
I use the entire ilife suite to create multimedia presentations using hi def video, stills, and even music that I create as in the following example of my kids at the park.....
shoot in raw, use a grey card to expose/colorbalance your camcorder, and your still camera to keep the color consistant. you'll find using ken burns on a still will give you pans and tilts in your video that rival the pros......


2007-07-21 07:05:23
I would like to see an article on different organization methods. Project based vs timeline - uses for both, etc.. thanks
2007-07-21 08:09:54
I think I would prefer using Keynote to create a slide show. I believe the software has better controls and the same level of integration with Aperture. What do you think?
2007-07-22 12:07:09
Keynote is another incredibly useful tool for slideshows. In my experience, it's better-tailored for creating slideshows that will be "driven" as a part of a presentation. Slideshows created in iMovie will be videos, more suited for DVD projects, online distribution, or kiosk type environments.