The trailers in iMovie are a quick way to make highly polished short promos. But what if you want to use and modify them in Final Cut Pro?

A few years ago, we published an article about how to move the rather excellent travel maps from iMovie into Final Cut Pro. It proved to be very popular with FCP editors being able to take advantage of these well-designed globe travel graphic plugins without having to export out of iMovie first.

Getting iMovie World Travel Maps into Final Cut Pro X the Easy Way

In that article, I said the same couldn't be done for iMovie Trailers. Well I was wrong, and before any hard-nosed, 'I've been editing for years' editors scoff, you should really check them out. (I should also point out that I fall into this bracket!)

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They look very polished, sound great and of course all the components are free and copyright free to use. 

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The Storyboard Editor is the default view for building Trailers. You don't even need to look at a timeline to build and export a trailer! Some Final Cut Pro plugin builders will look at this method of entering media and text with envy. Once you get in your head that there is no timeline, it's a very easy way to quickly assemble the components.

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But what I missed when I looked at the globe graphics was the 'Convert Trailer to Movie' item in the File menu. You would think that this would make a flat file in iMovie, but it actually breaks down the trailer into its components.

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You can still edit the items, clicking on the Titles will open up text boxes in the viewer and clicking on media will open up adjustments such as allowing the Ken Burns move to concentrate on Robin's nachos.

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Then, once you are happy, this timeline can then be sent to Final Cut Pro from the File menu.

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Then you will get a very familiar looking timeline in Final Cut Pro. All the media including movies, stills, graphics and music should be on the timeline. 

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You can still adjust the media, with stills, the Ken Burns moves are editable in Final Cut Pro. 

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But the titles are either rendered out flat files or embedded Quartz Compositions. Either way, you cannot edit them, but you can increase the length for timing.

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So that's the way to get an iMove trailer into Final Cut Pro. One large caveat, it looks like the output frame rate is always 29.97 - even if you have dragged a clip into one of the place holders that is a different cadence. As you cannot change an FCP's Project frame rate once you have media on it, you will have to copy and paste the contents of the timeline into a new one with the correct rate.

So if you have 5 minutes to spare, check out the trailers in iMovie, one of them might get you a long way in a project one day.


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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RskikR's Avatar
RskikR replied the topic: #113058 04 Mar 2021 06:27
Nice, I've always liked those trailers. Thanks, I'm going to have another look.