agenda :: 3/15

today: clone yourself using iMovie!

i recently discovered a pretty cool trick you can use in iMovie to clone yourself! this is a pretty easy special effect once you get the hang of it. today we’ll need to collaborate and shoot some original footage in order to make it work. i’ve got a couple cameras on hand, but feel free to shoot your own footage with your phone.


  1. the first important thing to do is to make sure your camera is stable. the camera will need to stay locked in one position while shooting, so you’ll need to use a tripod (or a d.i.y. one from the binder clips i’ve provided). this will make sure that when we overlap your two shots, everything will match up.
  2. find an interesting scene with no big changes going on in the background. on a bench, against a wall, in a stairwell – all good choices, but feel free to be creative. have your partner set up the camera and direct you to the left side of the frame. act out whatever you’ve planned or improvise something. maybe you’re reading a book, asking yourself questions to be answered by your cloned self, etc. imagine a line in the center of the frame – you can use an element in the background as a reference –  and do not cross it. your clones won’t be able to touch each other (sorry, you can’t high five yourself), but it is possible to suggest interaction through dialogue, gestures, or other creative solutions. these rules will help us make sure the effect works correctly in editing.
  3. keep the camera rolling so that you don’t move the camera. next, move to the right side of the frame and have your partner shoot new footage with a new action (sitting down next to the original you on a bench, answering questions, etc.). again, don’t cross the imaginary center line of the frame.


  1. come back to the lab and open up iMovie (sorry, its gonna be a mac kind of day!)
  2. first, we need to enable the advanced features of iMovie. in the iMovie menu at the top, click on preferences and check the box for “show advanced tools”.
  3. upload your footage to your computer via cable or email. import your footage by either dragging into the “event” panel, or by choosing from the file menu. this event panel shows you what raw footage you have to choose from when creating a new video project.
  4. using the yellow selecting bars, drag and crop your clip so that you have only the action you want to keep surrounded. this time we just want to grab the part of the clip with you on the left side of the frame. drag this selection into the project panel below. this panel is the timeline where you edit your video project together (what the final product will look like). you can swap the position of these by clicking the two arrows in the middle divider (it will probably boot up already preset in the “wrong” way for some reason).
  5. repeat step 2, but this time select the part of the clip when you are on the right side of the frame. drag below to the project panel, and place directly on top of the first clip. a green plus sign should appear, and from the menu that pops up, select “green screen”.
  6. what you should see now is both clips layered on top of each other, but since they are both the full size of the frame only the top layer is visible. to adjust this, click the “cropped” button at the top, and pull the left side of the selection box in to the center. adjust as you need so that both versions of yourself will fit fully in the frame
  7. now you have both clips playing simultaneously, the left-side clone on the left, and the right-side clone on the right. if you kept your camera still and were careful that lighting didn’t change, it should look pretty seamless! last step is to adjust the timing of the clips by dragging to the appropriate place in the timeline.
  8. to save your file, go to the share menu, and choose export movie. any size resolution is good, but the bigger the better!

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