How to Green Screen in iMovie

If you’re new to iMovie, you might not know how to work with a green screen.

Check out the video and screenshots below for a detailed explanation:


(video source: UMW NewMedia)

Setting Up the Background Image

First, open a new movie project and get your timeline ready. Then, drag the background clip down to the timeline.

01-grab-background-image-file-from-media-bin-and-drag-down-to-imovie-timeline

Now you’ll notice that our photo has a little zoom effect.  

To turn that off, make sure the clip is highlighted and click on the adjust button. Make sure the little cropping tool is also highlighted and turned on. 

Click on the “Ken Burns” button to turn it off. Finally, click on the fit button, and it will bring in our image. 

02-turn-off-imovie-ken-burns-effect-by-going-to-adjust-click-on-crop-icon-and-choose-off-for-style

We also want to make sure to check the mark here:

03-check-box-on-the-left-to-confirm-deactivation-of-ken-burns-effect-in-imovie-adjustments

Now you will notice that there is no zooming going on in our image.




Adding the Green Screen Footage

Next, we’re going to click on our green screen footage and drag about five seconds or so of footage down towards the timeline. 

04-select-green-screen-footage-and-drag-into-imovie-project-timeline

Make sure to put it at the beginning of the timeline. 

Then, take the still image and drag it out to approximately the same length as our green screen footage. 

05-drag-still-image-out-as-far-as-long-as-the-green-screen-footage-1

Putting it all Together

The real magic happens when we click on the green screen footage and go up to the adjustment area. 

Instead of the video overlay being set to cutaway, we’re going to choose green/blue screen.

06-select-green-screen-clip-go-to-adjustments-and-choose-green_blue-screen-from-cutaway-drop-down

We click on that option and just like magic, our green screen disappears and I am now in a totally different place. 




If we play the video from the beginning you’ll see that I’m standing in front of a giant studio and waving to you.

07-imovie-green-screen-footage-will-now-turn-into-a-chroma-key-with-background-as-the-image-layer

That’s how you create green screen effects in iMovie.

 What did you think? Easy enough to follow? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jon Acosta is a Digital Media Advisor based in Atlanta, GA. His primary focus is helping companies outsmart their competitors with smart online marketing strategy. Acosta has been a digital video consultant and mentor for some of the largest Fortune 500 companies. Some of his cliental include Apple Inc., Tekla (a Trimble Company), and Elance Inc (now known as "Upwork"). He is also a frequent course author for Pluralsight; an online technology training platform built for corporate teams.