How To Compile Your Holiday Videos Into A Cool Movie Trailer With iMovie [Mac]

Jeffry Thurana 30-08-2011

You have lots of short videos from your weekend vacation and you want to compile and share the clips. But you have barely had the time to do it. What can you do? Well, if you are a Mac user, you can quickly compile your holiday clips into a movie trailer using iMovie and share the trailer as a ‘teaser’ with your friends. You can then go back to your clips and edit them seriously later on when you have more spare time.


Creating a movie trailer using iMovie is fairly simple, and from my amateur perspective, I think the result is astonishing.

The Beginning

Similar to Apple’s other creative applications, such as Pages How to Create Impressive Pages Documents and Templates on Mac The price isn’t the only reason to give Pages a spin — it's packed with ready-to-use templates that will make your work look fantastic. Read More , Keynote 10 Tips and Tricks for Amazing Keynote Presentations on Mac If you use Keynote on Mac, you need to know these essential tips and tricks to make your Keynote presentations stand out. Read More , and iWeb iWeb - Build A Quick, Easy & Beautiful Website [Mac only] Read More , iMovie provides users with several ready-to-use templates. Start by going to the “File” menu to create a “New Project“.

make movie trailer mac

The template window will open. There are fifteen Movie Trailer templates you can use in your project.

make movie trailer imovie


When you click on a template, you can see more information about the item in the right pane. The preview window will give you a general idea about what your movie trailer will look like. You can also see the cast, duration of the movie trailer, and a short description of the template. Click “Create” when you’ve set your heart on one template.

make movie trailer imovie

Your chosen template will be opened in the upper left pane, but we’ll get back to it later.

The next step is to import the short clips that you want to use in your project. Go to the “File – Import” menu. You can also import your movies directly from any connected camera.


make movie trailer imovie

While importing the clips, iMovie will also optimize them. The process could take a while depending on the power of your machine, how many movies you import, and how long those movies are.

movie trailer imovie

The imported clips will appear in the lower right pane in the series of scenes, while the library of events is in the left pane.


movie trailer imovie

Start Creating

If you used a mobile device to shoot your movies, you might get clips with the wrong orientation. There’s an easy way to fix this disorientation in iMovie. First, select the disoriented clip(s), Then adjust the selection by dragging the left and right yellow borders.

movie trailer imovie

After that, go to the “Window – Cropping, Ken Burns & Rotation” menu, or use the “C” shortcut key.


02f rotate

Go to the preview pane and click one of the rotation buttons to fix the orientation.

02g rotate

Not let’s start our main event. Go to the “Project” pane, and customize your project’s information under the “Outline” tab.

03a outline

Next, move to the “Storyboard” tab. Here’s where the magic happens. All you have to do to create your trailer is click on the scenes on the storyboard, then browse and click on the scenes from imported movies.

03b storyboard

Try to match the scenes between the storyboard and the movie clips. For example, if the storyboard says “Action“, pick an action scene from the movie clip. After you have filled all the scenes on the storyboard, iMovie will tell you that your trailer is complete.

04a trailer complete

Export & Share

Now that you’ve finished your masterpiece, all that’s left to do is share it with the world. Go to the “Share” menu and choose one of the sharing methods you want to use. For example, if you want to save the movie to your hard drive, choose “Export Movie“.

05a share

Give a name to the project and choose one of the exporting options according to the quality you want. Then click the “Export” button.

05b export options

Another possible exporting method that you can choose is to send the trailer to YouTube. Log in with your YouTube account, complete the information, and choose the movie quality. After that you can upload the video. The time needed for the uploading process will depend on the speed of your Internet connection and the size of your movie.

06a youtube1

When the movie is uploaded, iMovie will tell you the URL. You can share it with your friends using email or by viewing it on the YouTube site.

make movie trailer mac

In my experiment, I managed to create a 48-second trailer in less than 5 minutes – without counting the time importing the clips.

If you love to record your life in short videos, then you should try to compile the clips into movie trailers and share them with your friends and family. It’s better than leaving them on your hard drive collecting virtual dust.

Don’t forget to check out other similar articles: HyperEngine – The Best Free Movie Editing Software for Mac HyperEngine - The Best Free Movie Editing Software for Mac Read More , 7 Free Open Source Video Editors For Linux The 9 Best Free Open Source Video Editors for Linux Video editing on Linux? It's easier than you think! Try these open source video editors on your Linux PC. Read More , 7 Video Editing Tasks VirtualDub Handles With Ease [Windows] 7 Video Editing Tasks VirtualDub Handles With Ease [Windows] Read More , and The Top 5 Free Apps To Split Or Merge Video Files The Top 5 Free Apps to Merge or Split Video Files You don't need a high-end video editor to split and merge video files. Here are the best apps you can use to do this simple job. Read More .

Have you tried iMovie? Do you use other video editing applications for your home videos? Please share your thoughts and ideas using the comments below.

Related topics: Movie Trailer, Online Video, Video Editor.

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  1. Mshope2012
    July 11, 2017 at 12:33 am

    Thank you! I have a Mac for years and for some reason never used this before. I created a trailer in just a few minutes of family videos and uploaded it to YouTube. Like you said, it was so easy. Thanks for this easy to follow tutorial. I can finally share my iPhone videos of the kids in the family before they are in college!

  2. FPF
    November 23, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I discovered iMovie trailers quite by accident. However I am continually amazed by the reaction I get from these little gems. It only takes 15-30 minutes to produce one and the reactions are almost instanteous upon posting and sharing them. One of the first ones I created was for a 40th high school reunion. I took a bunch of faded moldy pics from the 70's and scanned them into my hard drive, cleaned them up, picked an appropriate trailer theme and voila! I posted it on the reunion website and it exploded with interest and excitement. We got over 120 people at the event due in large part to the excitement generated by the trailer.

  3. James Bruce
    August 31, 2011 at 7:43 am

    I must say, the results you can get from trailers is absolutely fantastic, I'm surprised Apple didn't hype it a lot. It was one of those little feature I saw during the keynote that really made me think - OMG this is awesome, this is why Apple is winning right now. 

    I made a little trailer last year of some close friends and I (and the wifey) in Japan - not your typical Japan scenes though, since we spent most of our lives there cutting up old cars, offroading in the mountains, and BBQing. Good times.

    Makes me wish I'd taken more videos on my iPhone now.