iMovie can turn footage from your digital camcorder into professional-looking movies that you can then share as QuickTime files, save onto CDs, or burn onto a DVD for the world to enjoy. Here are a few tips that will make you an iMovie maestro.

Free Add-Ons

With each release of iMovie, Apple stocks its Web site ( with free plug-ins and add-ons.

At this writing, for example, the listing includes dozens of professionally recorded sound effects and music, plus special effects plug-in samplers from four different software companies. Grab ‘em while they’re still available.

Synchronizing Still Images

If you’re working on a movie project that contains a lot of still images (a slideshow with sound and fancy transitions, for example), and you want each still to hang onscreen for the same amount of time, you can set the duration a few ways.

The best way is to decide and set it before you import the photos. Beneath the clip shelf area, click the Photos icon. Change the number on the rabbit/turtle slider either by adjusting the slider or by typing into the box at the right. Also, if the Ken Burns Effect is on (for panning and zooming over pictures), turn it off. You’ve just specified the standard onscreen duration for any photos you now import.

Of course, if you want to modify a set of stills you’ve already imported, this feature isn’t much help.

In that case, simply Shift-click each photo’s icon in the movie track (at the bottom of the window), and then drag the Speed slider ...

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