So many people use iMovie ‘09 for their basic video editing needs, and why wouldn’t you? It comes free on every Mac, it is pretty user friendly (especially for novice editors), and it has great tools to make it easy to share your final projects online. However, even some of the most faithful iMovie users don’t know about some of the fun features the program has to offer. Here’s a list of five of our favorite fun tools in iMovie ‘09 that you should think about using next time you’re editing.


1. Maps

Whenever I watch the evening news, I am always in awe of the animated map graphics they use to explain where a story takes place. When I found out I could create my own in iMovie, I was thrilled. The maps feature allows you to show an animation from one location to the next on either a globe or flat map graphic. For instance, if your family goes on a vacation around Europe, you can create a map that shows your original flight from the United States to Italy, then your hopper plane to Ireland, then your next stop in England and your return flight to the States. I think it is a great visual tool for family vacation videos or documentary style short movies

iMovie Maps Feature


To use Maps, just click on the little globe icon on the right side of the screen. It’s right by the icons for adding music and text. Once that opens, click the map or globe you want to use and follow the rest of the prompts to choose your start and end locations. 


2. Green Screen

We’ve talked about how to use the green screen tool in iMovie on this blog before, but it really is worth revisiting again. For a free program, it is pretty unique that iMovie allows this feature, and the fact that they make it so simple to use just increases the value of the program even more. By shooting your subject in front of a green screen you give yourself the option to later place him/her/it in front of a looping background, a still picture, footage of an event or famous landmark or any other creative use you can think of! Your creativity is your only limit, so go try this feature out and see what you can come up with. 

Green Screen in iMovie

If you want to learn how to use the green screen tool in iMovie, check out our simple step by step guide


3. Ken Burns Effect

When I first started using iMovie, it was primarily to create photo slide shows for my friends and family. A simple slide show of still pictures can get pretty boring if there is no movement, so it is great that iMovie automatically includes the Ken Burns Effect when you string together pictures. The Ken Burns Effect is when you create motion with still photos by either zooming in, zooming out or panning around the picture. 

Ken Burns Effect in iMovie

As I mentioned, iMovie should add this effect automatically when you include pictures in your timeline. iMovie isn’t always perfect, though, so you’ll want to adjust the motion so it fits with your picture better. To do this, go to window and then choose “Cropping, Ken Burns & Rotation”. You’ll see new controls pop up in your preview screen on the top right. Use those to help control where the picture moves and how quickly it moves. 


4. Sharing with iDVD

iDVD is an Apple program that makes it easy to create DVDs out of video projects. With iMovie ‘09, you can share a project directly with iDVD without exporting it first, which cuts out a huge step in the final process. Not only can you do that, but you can also create chapters for your final DVD within iMovie so you don’t have to fumble around with that later on in iDVD. 

Creating Chapters in iMovie

To use this feature, first make sure that Advanced Tools is turned on by going to iMovie>Preferences>Show Advanced Tools. Once you have those enabled you will find two new icons right above your project window. The one on the right will allow you to add chapter markers to your timeline. You can move those around at any point while you edit. Then, to send your final project to iDVD, just click Share>iDVD. 


5. Adjusting Clip Speed

Adjusting the speed of your clip is a fun editing trick that many novice users don’t think about. It can be just as affective of a transition as any wipe, or you can use it to add some style and flare to a more creative project. 

Changing Clip Speed in iMovie

To adjust the speed of your clip in iMovie, just double click on it and a window will pop up. You will see a slider bar labeled “Speed”. Move this left and right to adjust the speed of your clip. However, you are not limited by just this bar. To the right of the slider bar there is a box where you can enter any numerical percentage up to 2000. This gives you more precise control of exactly how fast or slow you want your clip to move. 


Do you have a favorite feature in iMovie that we haven’t mentioned? Tell us about it! Either leave us a comment here on or blog, or hop on over to Facebook to join the conversation


If this post has inspired you to start editing, we want to help you out with this free stock footage clip! Download it by clicking the button below and you an use this free stock footage clip in any of your projects, royalty-free! 

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