How to Create a Movie Trailer in iMovie 10

Create the movie of your dreams on iOS or macOS

What to Know

  • Import the movie: Go to File Import Media (or > Import iMovie iOS Projects if stored in the cloud) > Import Selected.
  • Select a template: File > New Trailer > Create > select trailer > Create.
  • Create the trailer: Select Outline, and fill in the details. Go to Storyboard and add a video clip for each placeholder.

This article uses a clip from Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, a low-budget sci-fi flick from the early 1960s, to demonstrate how to create a trailer for a movie created with iMovie 10 or iMovie 11.

Import a Movie Into iMovie

If you've already imported the movie you want to use for your trailer, select it from the Library. If you haven't, complete the following steps:

  1. Import the media file you want to use in your trailer:

    • If the footage you want to use is on your computer, select File > Import Media.
    • If the footage you want to use is in iCloud, select File > Import iMovie iOS Projects.
    iMovie import media
  2. Browse to your media file, and then select Import Selected.

    iMovie imports the file or files you've selected into your iMovie Library. Depending on the size of the file, this process may take several minutes.

    iMovie select file
  3. Beneath iMovie Library, select your movie.

    iMovie select movie

    Now, you're ready to get started on your movie trailer.

Select a Template

You can choose from 29 iMovie templates (or genres), including Action, Adventure, Blockbuster, Documentary, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Sports, Spy, Supernatural, and Travel. There are also some more esoteric choices, such as Bollywood, Coming of Age, Film Noir, Indie, and Retro.

How could Apple have left out Bad Sci-Fi, you ask? To be fair, there is a Supernatural template, but we selected the Adventure template for our trailer.

Because each template includes different information, templates aren't interchangeable. Once you select and start working with a template, you're committed to that template. If you want to see your trailer in a different template, you'll have to re-create your trailer from scratch.

To choose and apply a template for your movie trailer, complete the following steps:

  1. From the File menu, select New Trailer.

    iMovie new trailer
  2. In the Create window, select the trailer template you want to use, and then select Create.

    When you hover over a template, the Play icon appears. Select Play to see an example of a trailer in that template.

    iMovie trailer template

    Beneath the trailer, three tabs will appear: Outline, Storyboard, and Shot List.

Create a Movie Trailer

The fields on each tab sheet will vary based on the template you chose. To provide the details your movie trailer needs, complete the following steps:

  1. Select the Outline tab.

    The tab is divided into four sections:

    • Name and Date
    • Cast
    • Studio
    • Credits
    iMovie trailer select outline

    Each field must contain information. If you leave a field blank, it will return to the default text.

  2. In the Name and Date section, enter a movie name and release date.

  3. In the Cast section, enter a name for the movie's star. Then, from the Gender list, select Male or Female.

  4. In the Studio section, enter a name for your studio. From the Logo Style list, select how your studio's logo will appear in the trailer.

    When you select a logo style, such as Snowy Mountain Peak, your logo appears with that theme above. You can change the logo style and any other information on this tab at any time, but you can't customize the logo.

  5. In the Credits section, enter information about your production crew and film score.

  6. Select the Storyboard tab.

    A storyboard is a visual map of your movie's sequences. Here, you edit the onscreen text and select clips from your movie that fit the storyboard. For example, the second part of the storyboard for the Adventure template is set up for an action shot and a medium shot.

    iMovie trailer storyboard
  7. Add a video clip for each placeholder in the storyboard by completing the following steps:

    • Select a placeholder
    • In the navigation pane, beneath Libraries, select a photo or video.

    Don't worry about the length of a clip: iMovie adjusts it to fit the allotted time.

    If you change your mind about a clip you've chosen for a placeholder, you can delete it or drag another video clip or photo to the same placeholder. Doing so automatically replaces the previous video clip or photo.

  8. Select the Shot List tab.

    Here, you see the clips you've added to your movie trailer organized by type, such as Action or Medium. On this tab or on the Storyboard tab, you can change any of your selections.

    iMovie trailer shot list tab

Watch and Share Your Movie Trailer

To view your movie trailer, select Play beneath the video window. The Play icon plays the trailer in the video window. To view the trailer in full screen, select Full Screen; to exit full-screen mode, press the Esc key on your keyboard.

When you're happy with your movie trailer, you can share it by selecting the trailer in the Projects view, and then selecting File > Share. Sharing options include email, YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo. You can also use the Share menu to export your movie trailer to a file for viewing on a computer, Apple TV, an iPod, an iPhone, or an iPad.

Where to Find Footage for Your Trailer

iMovie offers 29 templates to help you get started. These templates include original movie scores, movie studio logos, and customizable cast names and credits. Animated drop zones help you choose the videos and still photos you want to use in your trailer. You also can find loads of copyright-free films on the Internet Archive website to experiment with, or use one of your own movies to create a movie trailer.

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