Here is our basic step-by-step guide to using iMovie, a free editing software. These instructions refer to use on an iPad, although many of the steps are transferable to Mac or iPhone.  This is available as a downloadable PDF here

getting started

  1. Open up the app.
  2. Click Create a New Movie and select a chosen theme. 
  3. Name your film, e.g. 'My Smartphone Film.' 
  4. Import footage from the iPhoto library from the left hand side of the screen. 
  5. Double-click the clip to select the whole clip, or use the cropping arrows to use a smaller section of the clip. Drag your chosen clip down into the editing suite at the bottom of the window. 

basic editing

  1. You can start practicing using just one clip, or dragging multiple clips to create a longer film.
  2. To remove the original audio from the clip double-click it. This can be achieved by holding your finger down on the clip until a drop down menu appears. Select Detach Audio. The audio will appear below the clip. Double click the audio and select Delete
  3. To shorten the clip either use the cropping arrows inwards, or click where you wish to shorten the clip. Right-click and select Split Clip from the drop down menu. 

adjusting/adding effects 

  1. Almost everything you need to adjust your clip or add effects can be found on the top right hand corner. 
  2. To begin editing, click on the clip you want to edit and select the Adjust tool. 
  3. To layer one clip on top of the other, drag one so it sits on top of the other. Select the Opacity icon and drag the opacity bar to the left. 
  4. To adjust the speed of your clip, select the Speed icon (which looks like a hare) and slide the bar to speed up or slow down your clip.
  5. To adjust the light balance or colouring of your clip, select the Paint Palette icon.
  6. If your clip appears shaky, you can stabilise the image by clicking the Stabiliser Icon (which looks like a camcorder with lines above and below).
  7. To add a video effect to your clip, click on the Effects Icon, and click on an effect to apply it to the video. 

audio effects

  1. To add a song to your film, click iTunes in the Content Library in the bottom left-hand corner of the window. Drag your song into the audio bar at the bottom of the editing suite. 
  2. You can change the volume of the song by selecting the Audio Icon in the top right-hand corner of the window and dragging the percentage bar left or right. 
  3. To add an audio effect to your clip select the Video Effect Icon and click on the drop down menu Audio Effect. Choose and click your audio effect. 


  1. Select Transitions from the content library at the bottom left hand side of the window. Select your transition and drag it between two clips.