Why iPhone Slow-Motion Videos Need the iMovie App

by Barrett

iMovie on your iPhone can lock in that selected area of slow motion you want to keep from that otherwise boring slo-mo clip you just shot.

iMovie on your iPhone can lock in that selected area of slow motion you want to keep from that otherwise boring slo-mo clip you just shot.

When iMovie came out as an app, I scoffed at what I believed was a preposterous idea that complicated video editing software could successfully be shrunk into an iPhone. I come from a world of multi-core, decked-out computer monsters that often ‘render’ their imagery overnight to crank out their completed videos on deadline.

I viewed the iMove app as little more than a toy.

Then, Apple gave it to me for free as part of my new iPhone 6 Plus purchase.

So I had it.
But I would not open it.

Then, I discovered the wonders of my iPhone’s slow motion video capture capabilities.

And I was especially taken with my iPhone’s ability to isolate a particular portion of a slo-mo clip and then only play that part back in slow motion.
(The rest runs normally.)

Some may consider this little more than a parlor trick, but I really like it…

Now, you can utilize slow motion only when a particular moment needs it.
(Because a long and boring slow motion clip is pretty painful to endure!)

How to Lock In Selected Slo-Mo
But there was a problem…
I couldn’t export the clip to my iMac and retain the selected slow motion.
Yes, my computer accepted the clip recorded at 240 frames per second.
Yes, QuickTime offered me the choice to play the clip either at normal speed or in slow motion on my Mac.
But the ‘selected slo-mo’ clip I had created in my iPhone had vanished.
That metadata didn’t make it through the transfer…

Sure, I could recreate the effect on my computer with editing software, but that’s doing the work all over again!

The question was how to lock in all that work before doing the export…

iMovie is Cooler Than You Think
So I looked again at the iMovie app on my iPhone.
(I think it winked at me…)

I opened it up…did a quick tour…and imported the clip in question.
Yep, it played back just the way I liked it…


Then I realized I could simply export the clip out of iMovie in its native resolution to lock in the selected slow-motion moment.
You can save it right back to your Camera Roll or to iTunes. AirDrop is another option…

Using iMovie in this way is indeed an extra step…. But it’s not that arduous.
And it solved my dilemma!

Then, did I lightly touch ‘export’ and chalk up another minor victory for humans co-existing with their tech?

Not quite yet…

Taking iMovie Out for a Halloween Test Drive
I decided to continue my journey down the tech rabbit hole…

The clip in question was one of three I had recorded of my son having fun on Halloween night as a pirate. All three had been shot in slow motion…more as part of an experiment than anything else.

I performed some selected slow-motion tweaks on the other two clips, then brought them into iMovie as well. I quickly drizzled some dissolves between the clips, imported a Halloween night photo for the top of the video and blended in a Ken Burns’ zoom/pan.
Then I typed in an opening title, selected a pre-existing iMovie ditty for a background music track, and faded the ending to black.


It was twenty minutes later.
(much of that was looking at the app for the first time)

…And I had easily created this cool little video.

The Evolution of Video Editing
So I am happy to report you can teach an old dog new tricks.

No, I’m not going to forget about using uber-powerful Mac Pros in favor of the iMovie app on your iPhone.
But indeed, I finally recognize there’s a lot you can do on the fly editing short videos on your iPhone or iPad.
(And another reason I’m happy I supersized it to the iPhone 6 Plus.)

If I’m not the last human on earth to have this epiphany… you should know you’re carrying a legitimate video editing station in your pocket right now.
(And it also makes phone calls.)