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How to use Keynote to add text overlays to your iMovie projects



iMovie allows you to make movies from photos and videos, and although the interface is a bit difficult to understand in parts, you can overcome these limitations and master it to produce good results. But it does have a few missing pieces that usually require you to upgrade to something like Adobe Premiere Elements or even Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

One of these is to add text that superimposes an image or video. Yes, iMovie has titles you can add, but they are very restrictive. Despite a large number of options, they are difficult to control, including where to place them on the screen.

It's a low-tech / high-tech solution that lets you use other Apple software to achieve title results: Combine Keynote with iMovie and create your own text overlays, as well as subtitles and other title cards. Why Keynote? Because it is designed to create individual slides in the same 1

6: 9 widescreen share that iMovie uses.

  mac911 keynote overlay slide IDG

Create text against a green background as a keynote slide.

Try the following, starting with a single slide to learn the workflow:

  1. In Keynote, create a new presentation using the Wide format.

  2. Select View> Edit Master Images .

  3. Select Empty master (shown at the bottom). You can later add master text to this if you want.

  4. In the Format inspector on the right ( View> Inspector> Format ), click on the color set for the background and change it to green. [19659009] Click Finished at the bottom.

  5. Do not click anywhere on the slide, and then click Change master in the format inspector and select Blank .

  6. Click the Text button at the top, enter text and use the Text Inspector to set a contrast color and other values.

  7. Select File> Export to> Images and select PNG as the format. Click Next and select a location to save the result image.

  mac911 keynote export overlay IDG

Export the slides as PNG for clarity and transparency.

  1. Now in iMovie in your project, drag the export image to the My Media site.

  2. Drag the image from My Media to sit at the top of the video or images you want the Keynote slide to overlay.

  3. Select the overlay image and then in the editor / preview in the upper right corner, click the Video Overlay Settings button that looks like two overlapping rectangles.

  mac911 imovie overlay editor IDG

Use the iMovie video overlay option to remove the green background.

  1. From the popup menu on the far left, select Green / blue screen . You will notice that the background has disappeared and that your type remains as an overlay!

  2. Click on the blue mark in the upper right.

  3. Finally, click the Crop button and select Fit or the default Ken Burns Effect will move the overlay around. (If you want it, it's ok too!)

  mac911 imovie overlay timeline IDG

Drag the overlay image to the timeline over the image or video you want it to appear on.

Now click play to preview. You will see your overlay exactly positioned. You can drag the Fade In / Fade Out handles on the clip that matches the overlay on the timeline to make it fade in and out, and you can use other effects as well.

I recommend working iteratively with a single slide, test the type of color, maybe add a shadow to the type, and work on the position until you have the overlays just typing. You can export images repeatedly from Keynote and then replace them in your iMovie project, but be careful. I like to remove the overlay from the timeline and delete it from My Movies before dragging in a replacement.

This takes some effort before you get it, but it is a powerful way to add an effect without learning a new software package.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question sent by Macworld reader Olga.

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