How to Splice and Edit Video on the iPad

Combine clips to make your movie perfect

A woman using iMovie on an iPad

iMovie is a great way to splice together video, trim or edit clips, and add text labels to the video. It also comes with many templates to create mock Hollywood trailers. The best use of iMovie is splicing together several short videos into a single video. You can also take one long clip, trim out specific scenes, and splice those together.

Here's how to use iMovie to combine the videos on your iPad into new, creative projects.

These instructions apply to iMovie 2.0 and later.

How to Edit Videos Using iMovie for iPad

Once you have the videos you want to cut together, iMovie provides several options for projects you can create.

  1. Launch the iMovie app.

    The iMovie app on an iPad
  2. Tap the large button with a plus sign to start a new project.

    Create Project button in iMovie on iPad
  3. Tap on the kind of project you want to make. A Movie is more freeform but can be as long as you want, and a Trailer project is a specific template of small video clips that create a Hollywood-style trailer.

    These instructions apply to a Movie project.

    Movie and Trailer project options in iMovie
  4. The next screen shows your Camera Roll on the right side of the screen and folders on the left. Tap Video to access your clips.

    iMovie projects can include a combination of still photos and videos.

    Video section on the Media page in iMovie for iPad
  5. Tap a video clip on the right side of the screen to see your options.

    • The Play button previews the video in a small window below the thumbnails.
    • Drag the yellow handles on either side of the clip to crop it before adding it to your project.
    • The checkmark adds the clip (or just the portion you've selected) to your project.
    Clip options in iMovie for iPad
  6. As you add clips to your project, an orange line will appear under the preview. At the bottom of the screen, you'll see a count of how many items are in your project and its length.

    Tap Create Movie when you've chosen all of the clips you want.

    The Create Movie option in iMovie
  7. iMovie will process for a moment, and you'll go to a screen with all of your clips arranged in the order in which you added them.

    A raw movie in iMovie
  8. Tap the Settings gear in the upper-right corner to make changes to the entire project.

    • Project Filter applies a variety of Instagram-style color schemes across the whole thing.
    • The Theme section adds preset titles and transitions to your project to give it some extra production value.
    • The switches below let you toggle in Theme Music (based on the theme you selected above), Fade in and Fade out to black at the beginning and end of the movie, and Speed changes pitch, which makes the audio of the clip match the speed you set it to.
    Settings menu in iMovie for iPad
  9. Tap one of the clips to open up settings for that section of the video.

    • The Actions section contains three options. Split breaks a single clip into multiple, smaller ones. Detach Audio takes the sound portion off of the clip so that you can mute it if you want. Duplicate makes a copy of that section of the project.
    • Speed opens a menu that lets you adjust the speed of the clip between 1/8th and 2x. You can also Freeze a section or add a new one.
    • Volume adjusts how loud or quiet the audio of a part of the project is.
    • Titles adds text overlays to the project using a variety of effects.
    • Filters is like the Project Filter setting in the previous menu, but it only applies them to that part of the video.
    Clip options in iMovie
  10. Tap one of the transitions between the clips to change how the video moves from one to the next. Your options are:

    • None: a straight cut from one clip to the next.
    • Theme: a preset video and sound effect from the Theme you picked in the main settings menu.
    • Dissolve: the default option, which transitions smoothly from one clip to the next by overlaying them.
    • Slide: the second clip "slides" over the first to replace it on the screen.
    • Wipe: a line passes over the first clip to reveal the second behind it.
    • Fade: the first clip fades to black, and the second fades in from black.

    The settings above the transitions let you decide how long the transition lasts (i.e. the time between the screen fully showing the first clip and fully showing the second). You can set it to 0.5, 1, 1.5, or 2 seconds.

    Transitions menu in iMovie
  11. Keep adjusting these options until your project is exactly how you want it.

How to Insert Special Features in iMovie

Playing videos in a row with cool effects between them is just the start of what you can do with iMovie. You can also use some advanced features to put new clips next to or above the ones that are already there. Here's how.

  1. Place the cursor where you want to insert another video in your project, and then tap the plus sign in the upper-right corner.

    Add button in iMovie for iPad
  2. The folders from your Camera Roll will appear. Navigate to the video you want to add, and then tap on it. Tap the three dots to open additional options.

    Extra options icon in iMovie
  3. You can add the new clip using different effects:

    • Cutaway replaces the existing video as long as the new one is playing.
    • Picture in Picture plays the new video in a small window on top of the existing clip.
    • Split Screen plays both clips side by side with a line between them.
    • Green/Blue Screen replaces a blue or green background in the first clip with the contents of the second.
    Add As options for a new video clip in iMovie
  4. You can apply many of the same effects (speed, filters, etc.) to a secondary clip as a primary one.

Naming and Sharing Your Movie

When you've finished editing, tap Done in the upper-left corner of the screen. You'll go to a new screen where you can tap the Edit button to make more changes or tap My Movie to type in a new title for your project. 

You can also play the movie from the screen by tapping the play button at the bottom, delete by tapping the trash can, and share by tapping the share button.

The share button will let you share your new movie on Facebook or YouTube. If you choose either of these options, iMovie will guide you through creating a title and description. If you haven't already connected your iPad to Facebook or logged in to YouTube, you'll get a prompt to do so. iMovie will export the movie to a suitable format and upload it to these social media websites. 

You can also use the share button to download the movie as a regular video stored in your Photos app, move it to iMovie Theatre where you can view it in iMovie on other devices, and store it on iCloud Drive, among a few more options. You can also send it to friends via an iMessage or an email message.