When you try effects out, you can experiment without waiting for iMovie to process, or render, an effect, which can take several minutes. Then when you've made a decision, you can apply the effect and allow iMovie to render it, and you can continue to add other effects to that clip if you want.
In general, the options when working with effects are Preview, Apply, and Restore Clip.
The Preview button enables you to see an effect on the main Monitor area in iMovie. It becomes active when you select an effect in the Effects palette.
When you first click on an effect in the Effects palette in iMovie, there will appear a small preview window that contains a miniature version of your iMovie, and it's helpful to get a general sense of what the effect does. But ultimately it's nicer to see how the effect looks at normal size, in the main iMovie Monitor area, as shown in Figure 15.20.
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In some versions of iMovie, the Preview function does not work. To see an approximation of the chosen effect with the changes you've made to settings, watch the mini-preview space at the upper right closely as you click on the control settings.
Applying an effect is simply the process of going beyond the preview stage and actually having iMovie change your video clip by employing the effect on the clip you have currently selected. At this point, iMovie will process (or render ) the effect, which may take several minutes. The status of the processing will appear as a red bar at the top of the affected clip in the Timeline (see Figure 15.21).
Figure 15.21. If you're happy with the preview, you can click Apply.
After you apply an effect, if you want to go back to how the clip originally was, you can use the Restore Clip function available under the Advanced menu (see Figure 15.22).
Figure 15.22. An effect has been applied and now the same clip can be restored to its original state.
The Undo/Redo option in iMovie is a handy thing to keep in mind when working with effects. The top portion of the Edit menu changes to display the standard editing functions that are currently available.
Task: Enhancing a Clip with Brightness/Contrast
In this example, we take a video clip that came out dark and use the Brightness/Contrast effect to tweak the video so that we can see the people in the video better.
Open an iMovie project, and if you haven't already, drag a clip into the Timeline.
Click once on the clip you want to use in the Timeline in order to select it.
Click the Effects button in the main iMovie window to display the Effects palette. Then click the Brightness/Contrast effect as shown in Figure 15.23.
Figure 15.23. The Brightness/Contrast effect with the Brightness setting adjusted to be midway between Dark and Bright, and the Contrast setting adjusted to midway between Low and High.
Start adjusting the clip through increasing the contrast by clicking the blue slider button, holding the mouse button down, and dragging a small bit to the right to bring out the brighter colors and distinguish the darker colors from them (see Figure 15.24).
Figure 15.24. Moving the Contrast slider toward the higher setting helps to give you a brighter clip.
Now click the Brightness slider button and slowly drag it to the right, keeping an eye on the video clip (see Figure 15.25). At any time, you can click the Preview button in the Effects palette to see how things look in iMovie's Monitor area, or watch the mini-preview window as you adjust the settings.
Figure 15.25. Moving the Brightness slider from Dark to Bright also enhances the brightness of the clip.
When you like how the previews look, click Apply and iMovie will begin to process the video (see Figure 15.26).
Figure 15.26. The clip with the Brightness/Contrast effect renders in the Timeline.
When iMovie is done processing your clip, you can play the movie to see how the effect looks.
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Sometimes, after you apply an effect and iMovie begins to render it, you change your mind. What do you do to stop iMovie from rendering the rest of the clip? If you press the Command key and the period on your keyboard at the same time while iMovie is rendering any element, that process will be cancelled and the clip will remain as it was before you started.
Task: Enhancing a Clip with Adjust Colors
The Adjust Colors effect can come in handy when you want to make certain colors stand out, or want to give the clip a distinct imaginary feel of some kind. It gives you three subsettings that you can play with: Hue Shift, Color , and Lightness.
Hue Shift Shifts the entire video clip to a different color
Color Changes the amount and vividness of color, from no color (black-and-white) to Vivid (as much color as possible, which is how the effect starts out with no changes made)
Lightness Similar to the Brightness/Contrast effect
In this example, we want to give the video a washed-out feeling by taking out the color (also known as desaturating ) and increasing the brightness/lightness.
Open an iMovie project, and with a clip selected in the Timeline, choose the Adjust Colors effect in the Effects palette (refer back to Figure 15.18).
Click the Color slider and drag it to the left to make the video black and white (B&W).
Click the Lightness slider and drag it to the right to make the video brighter.
Click the Apply button in the iMovie window to set iMovie going on processing your video.
The Hue Shift option changes the overall tone of the clip. Dragging the slider from one end to the other should give you nearly the full range of the spectrum, from warm reds to cool blues.
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Keep in mind that the colors available in the Hue Shift option depend somewhat on the colors, brightness, and other features of your original video.