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Create Magic Movies on iPad with iMovie

13th April 2022

Jacob Woolcock



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We all know about the Memories feature in Photos, where your device will automatically make a little highlights video of an event or occasion. Magic Movie is similar to this, but with an absolute ton more customisability. You can select media and iMovie will use clever Machine Learning to make a Magic Movie out of it. Then you can edit each clip, add a theme, titles and soundtrack. It’s great as a 30-second tap-and-done or as a more in-depth starting point for an edit.

iMovie for iPad and iPhone has just received a significant update with two fantastic new features. In this video, I’ll show you the first new feature, which is called Magic Movie. Here’s how it works: Magic Movie is quite a lot like those highlight videos that you get in the Photos app, which combines pictures and videos from an event into one movie. But, in iMovie, as you probably expect, you can customize this a lot more.

Now, I’ve got an album on my iPad called BET 2020, which is a series of about 60 videos that I took at the BET show in London a couple of years ago. I’ve never done anything with them because I haven’t had the time to bring them all into Final Cut and make a film. So, this feels like a great example to input into iMovie and see what it can turn out for me. I’ll include the finished film at the end as well, if you’re curious.

Okay, so we’ll open up the iMovie app. This works just the same on iPad and iPhone, but I’ll show you on iPad today. From here, at the bottom, you’re going to press “Start New Project”. In the past, you’ve had the option to create a movie using the timeline or as a trailer, but now you’ve got the new options: Magic Movie and Storyboard. If you’re curious about Storyboard, and you should be because it’s awesome, I’ll link a video down below that explains how that feature works as well. But for today, we’re going to tap onto Magic Movie.

From here, we’re going to choose the album where all of our pictures and videos are contained. Now, if I wanted to, I could select individual clips here. Or, instead, I’m going to throw all 61 into iMovie and see what happens. Now, iMovie is going to use machine learning to work out which clips it thinks are best, which parts have the action that links to other clips, and how long, roughly, your video should be. When that machine learning process is finished, it will create a plan of a Magic Movie for you, which we can then go and edit in a second. In fact, here it is now.

So, as you can see on the left-hand side, we’ve got all the different clips that iMovie has chosen to use. We may not agree with all of them, and we can change that later. But you’ll also see those clips are shorter, which means it hasn’t just pulled in the whole video file. Instead, it’s cropped the part that it thinks is most interesting. Let’s have a watch now.

Okay, that’s pretty good. It’s chosen some nice clips there, especially with the Lego robots, and it’s put some music in the background, as well as some titles and some transitions. But I think the theming is slightly off. At the top of our clips list on the left-hand side is the theming button. And when you tap on here, you’re going to get a whole load of options to completely change the look and feel of your video in just one tap. I’m going to choose a different preset. In fact, let’s go for Minimal. No, I’m not sure I like that. Let’s try Studio. [Music] Editorial. [Music] Sticker Book. [Music] Oh, maybe Synth. I like that tune. Let’s try Neon. Oh, yes! I love the titles and the feel of Neon. It feels very modern, very glitchy, and that matches the BET show perfectly, in my mind.

Okay, now when you’ve chosen a theme, you can change the soundtrack as well. You can bring in your own music, or you can choose a soundtrack that’s built into iMovie. There are hundreds of options here, just like these ones. But I think I’m going to stick with the original one just for now because it’s quite punchy and loud, and I like that. Then, I’m going to change the font and make the font a little bit bolder, thicker, and wider, so it really jumps out at you when it comes up in the titles. We have options to change the color of the titles as well, so I’m going to choose a bright yellow color. And we can even apply filters to our whole movie at this stage. If you’d like to, you might go for a comic book effect, or perhaps a black and white, or really dramatic, vivid, saturated effect, and that will theme your whole movie even more. I’ll leave the filters off for now and see how it looks.

Okay, now I’ve customized some key settings. I’m going to press done, and then I’ll go back to the beginning of my short movie and I’ll watch it again and see how it’s changed.

Yes, I think that looks really good. I love the glitchy style of the titles and

the transitions. It really does look cool. Okay, now let’s start fine-tuning our video a little bit. I can see on my list of clips coming up that one is a portrait video, and I don’t really want that as part of my movie. But thankfully, I can just swipe to the left and then tap delete. Now, there’s also a clip here that’s going to be quite long, and it kind of features a big digital sign and then people walking. And I want to crop out the first part of that video. So, I’m going to tap onto there, and then I can just press edit clip. From here, you’ll see that we get the iMovie interface that you’re probably all familiar with. And here, we can trim and reorder those clips if we’d like to. When I’ve made that slightly shorter, I’m going to press done to go back to the Magic Movie overview.

I’m going to choose a clip that I want to add a title to, to add some more information. So, I’ll go onto this one of the Lego Rube Goldberg machine, tap on there, and go edit clip. Then at the bottom, we’re going to choose titles. You can see iMovie’s got a selection of titles that match the theme Neon that I chose earlier. And when I tap on one of those, it’ll put it straight onto that clip for me. Then, I can press the text button on the toolbar, and I can change the writing in that title. And yes, of course, iMovie will automatically resize the elements on screen to fit the text that you’ve put in. Then when I go back and play this clip, I get that lovely animated title that matches my theme. That’s so cool.

Okay, I’m going to choose another clip now and put another title on there. Let’s go for this one of BB8, and we’ll put another title there, just using the same technique as last time: pressing that titles button, selecting a title, and then pressing text to change the writing. Of course, on the timeline editor, you can scroll sideways, and you can preview your movie in this view as well, and you can make quick changes like changing the length of each clip. I’m finished in this view, so I’ll press back to go back to the main Magic Movie view. And then, back on this screen, we can either watch our movie through or we can press the share button in the top corner and export our movie. And that’s what I’ll do for you now. I’m going to save this as a video file.

And now, you can see the premiere of my short film. I spent a few more minutes editing it, added a few more titles, and shuffled the clips around using Magic Movie on iMovie. Enjoy.


I hope you found this video helpful. There are literally hundreds more on my YouTube channel down below, so make sure you head over there now. I’ll see you next time.

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