How To Add Opening & Closing Credits To Your Movies With iMovie ’09 [Mac]

Bakari Chavanu 13-10-2010

how do you write movie creditsI’ve already described several reasons 10 Reasons To Use Apple's iMovie '09 [Mac] Read More why iMovie ’09 is a useful movie editor for general users, but the program does have some limitations. With previous versions of iMovie, third-party plug-ins could be used to add effects and get beyond the limitations of the program. But for some odd reason, Apple decided to close the program’s doors to the wide variety of creative third-party enhancements and instead incorporate a few of those features in the latest version, while still leaving out many of them. But if you experiment a little with iMovie “˜09, you can find creative ways to enhance your video and movie productions.


For this particular tutorial, we’re going to bump up the opening and/or closing credits for a movie production.

iMovie ’09 includes a traditional set of titles and movie credits that are in some ways a cut above previous versions of what was offered in previous versions of the program. But when it comes to movie making, it’s all about motion. You’ll notice that in nearly all movies, there’s constant movement in nearly every clip and frame. So let’s see how we can create a non-linear opening or ending credits in iMovie ’09.

We’re going to create a credits clip separate from the movie itself using one of iMovie ’09’s themes. Then we’ll save the credits clip so it can be added to the beginning or ending of a movie (you could also simply start out your movie with a selected theme, but that’s not always desirable). The examples that I provide here are just that, examples. You’re responsible for experimenting and customizing to fit your own needs.

Step 1

Start a new project in iMovie and title it “Credits“. Select the Scrapbook theme and deselect the “Automatically add” transition button. Click “Create“.

how do you write movie credits


Step 2

Now click on the Titles icon in the Toolbar. Notice we get a couple of dozen title styles, including styles specifically for our selected theme.

end credits of a movie

Select the Simple style first and drag it into the Story Board. You will be presented with a Background palette to choose from. For our tutorial we’re going to select the Stars background.

end credits of a movie


Click on it so that it shows up in the Story Board. As a background it’s okay, but remember, video is about motion. So let’s put some motion in the background image. Select the background clip and then click on the editing button in the clip, and select Cropping and Rotation.

end credits of a movie


This will open the clip in the Viewer on the left side of iMovie. Now select the Ken Burns button, and then move the Start and End boxes around so that they will create some motion in the background.


movie credits

Step 3

Click on the Title bar of the background/title clip in the Story Board.


It will open up again in the Viewer where you can customize the title.


movie credits

Step 4

Now we have a movie background and an opening title. Let’s go back to the Title styles in the tool bar and build on our credits. At this point you can select any styles you like. The objective is to maintain movement in each clip. You, for example, can use the Upper Third style and add a name or title role. The next style might be the Lower Third 1 in which you add another name.

movie credits

These styles can be followed by other motion styles below them. Just experiment until you get the flow you want. For each clip also add motion to the background as we did above. One last suggestion is to use transitions between each of the title style clips, which again will add motion between clips.

how do you write movie credits

After your credits are set, select some music from your iTunes library or from the set of Jingles in the Movie and Sound Effects browser of iMovie.

After the credits are set up like you want it, choose Share in the iMovie menu bar and select ”Export Using QuickTime” and then select ”Export to MPEG-4” or to whichever format you’re creating your movie in. You can drag that exported clip into your movie project.

The above steps are a little more extra work in iMovie, but you will find that if you poke around and combine various tools and styles that you can get beyond some of the limitations of the program.

Let us know if this tutorial was useful for you, and what tricks you use in iMovie ’09.

Related topics: iMovie, Video Editor.

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  1. Bakari
    October 19, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Hi Brad, thanks for the feedback. I haven’t seen any examples on YouTube, but that’s not to say there aren’t any. When you post yours, please come back and post a link. I also plan to use these techniques in upcoming family vids.

  2. Bakari
    October 18, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Hi Brad, thanks for the feedback. I haven’t seen any examples on YouTube, but that’s not to say there aren’t any. When you post yours, please come back and post a link. I also plan to use these techniques in upcoming family vids.

  3. Brad
    October 18, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Great tutorial. I should have realized that this was possible. This should help spice up some of my home movies. I'd love to see any samples of this technique that you might have. Are there any one youtube?