6-Word Memoirs Project with iMovie ’11

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A teacher emailed me to ask how this 6-Word Memoir project was created so that she could do the same thing with her classes. I instantly recognized it as an iMovie project, and one that would be simple for this teacher to compile from the text and images that her students provided.

The rub is, she has not made a video with iMovie since the complete interface redesign (and a true downgrade in features) of iMovie ’08. I, too, had a hard time adapting to the new interface, but with subsequent updates and improvements from Apple, the new iMovie is once again a great tool for easily editing and creating video projects.

Due to the different Mac OS versions installed in this district, I won’t be using the latest version of iMovie. iMovie 11 is the last version to come out with iLife and is comparable with a wide variety of Mac OS’s.

Let’s take a tour of the iMovie ’11 interface:

A couple of tweaks:

  • Since I spent SO MUCH time in the old iMovie interface, I still like to have my timeline on the bottom and clips above. To switch this, click the up/down arrow button next to the video camera button on the left of the Toolbar. You can’t move the Preview window to the left, but we will make due. You don’t have to make this switch, but that’s the view I’ll be presenting with :D.
  • Unless you are on an iMac with a giant screen, you’ll probably want to use iMovie in Full-Screen mode. View –> Enter Full Screen (control+command+F) or the expanding arrows button on the upper right of the window will get you in full screen. If you click the green + button on the upper left, you’ll still have the top menu and Dock taking up screen space.
  • As suggested in the interface tour, make sure to turn on the Advanced Tools. iMovie top menu –> Preferences… Then in the General tab check the Show Advanced Tools box. Close the Preferences window.

Before we get started, we need some source material to make a very brief version of the project. Since this project will most likely end up published on the Web, we REALLY should be considerate of the copyright and use licenses of the creator of the images and music used in this project. When students are trying to find appropriate images to use from the millions out there, here are a few tips:

  • Use the Google image “Search tools” to make sure that students are finding images large enough (Size option of larger than 1024 x 768, which is an HD image) as well as the appropriate “Usage rights”, which should be “Labeled for noncommercial use with modification”
  • The Creative Commons Search tool (https://search.creativecommons.org) is also very useful to find images with the proper copyright licenses. Uncheck the ‘use for commercial purposes’ box at the top.

Below are a sample of student memoirs with a link to an appropriate accompanying image, as well as some background music you can use from Soundzabound from Pioneer Library:

  • Opening Credits:
    • A long, long time ago… The students in my Language Arts classes were challenged with the task of creating their own memoir… in exactly 6 words. These amazing students came up with equally amazing memoirs, and pairs them with a photo they believed would fit the tone of their piece. Although brief, these memoirs took time, practice, and patience; and ultimately, they came out great!
  • Finishing an illustration is incredibly satisfying, image
  • Skating is a way of life, image
  • DC comics over Marvel any day, image
  • Cherish every piece of your childhood, image
  • Definitely born in the wrong generation, image
  • Salty air, sand in my hair… image
  • Background music: Beginnings, Ambient Audio from Soundzabound, which is a great source of royalty free music provided to Utah schools by UEN
    • Head to pioneer.uen.org, choose Soundzabound. On the left, click ‘Category’ under the ‘Browse by…’ box, then I chose Ambient, but feel free to explore the many category options here.
  • To save time if you are already comfortable with gathering images and downloads from the Internet, here are all of the images and music:

Quick video tutorial is below. I’ll write out the steps in detail soon!

  • Create new project
  • Set Project Defaults
  • Import photos
    • Add folders to photo browser
    • Drag and drop straight into the project
  • Add scrolling “Star Wars” title
  • Add 6-Word Memoir as a title on top of each image, format as desired
  • Drag in background music as green block behind clips, or add music from iTunes music browser
  • Watch your final project full screen
  • Share with the world!


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