How to Create a Picture-in-Picture Video in iMovie on Mac

To create an overlay of one clip over another in iMovie, place the clip that you want to overlay above the other clip in the timeline. Then, choose the Picture in Picture overlay style from the “Video overlay” settings and click on the “Apply” button to apply the effect.

Hi! My name is Nancy, and I’ve been creating videos on iMovie for several years. You’ve probably come across the Picture in Picture effect in various types of videos, including interviews, reaction videos, tutorials, and vlogs. 

In this post, I’ll share the best tips on how to effectively use the Picture in Picture overlay in iMovie. 

What is Picture in Picture in iMovie?

The Picture in Picture (PIP) effect is a video editing technique that allows two video clips to play simultaneously on the screen. The overlay video or image is usually smaller in size and positioned in a corner of the screen so that it doesn’t interfere with the main video. 

This effect is commonly used in television broadcasting and online educational content.

How to Overlay a Picture on a Video in iMovie

It can be tricky to locate the Video Overlay Settings in iMovie so let me guide you through the process to find it easily.

To begin, click and drag the video clip you want to overlay and place it above the other clip in the timeline. Only then will the overlays feature be activated in the editor toolbar, which is not visible otherwise. 

Next, select the Picture in Picture overlay style from the dropdown menu and your desired overlay clip will appear on top of the primary video. 

How to Edit the Picture in Picture Effect

By using this overlay feature, you can apply a range of creative customizations to your video clip. Now, let’s explore the Picture in Picture controls in detail.

Resize the Overlay Clip

To adjust the size of the overlap clip, simply hold and drag any of the four corners of the video clip. One of the unique features of the Picture in Picture effect is that it enables you to move the clip anywhere on the screen, giving you more creative control over your video. 

This feature offers more flexibility than other iMovie features, which may have limited movements or fixed positions such as the Titles tool.

Choose the Transition Style

You can choose from three different transition styles – Dissolve, Zoom, and Swap – to help your overlay video transition smoothly into the frame. 

Additionally, you can adjust the duration of the transition to appear slowly or quickly. If you want the clip to appear quickly, then you can stick to the default time of 0.5 seconds.

Add a Border

To make your overlay clip stand out, you can add a border to it. Enabling the use of borders allows you to customize the border color and add a shadow to emphasize the clip.

Add Keyframes to Your Picture in Picture Clip

By adding keyframes to your video clip, you can create an animated effect by making it move.

To do this, place the playhead at the desired position within the overlay clip in the timeline. Next, click the Add Keyframe button located in the viewer to create a new keyframe.

Adjust the position of the overlay video in the viewer and repeat this process until you are done with the movements. Finally, click the Apply button and play the video from the beginning of the clip to see it in action.

Can I Have Multiple Picture in Picture Overlays in a Clip?

With the Picture in Picture effect, only one overlay video can play at a time, so having more than two overlay clips on top of the main video simultaneously is not possible. However, it is possible to have multiple different clips overlaying a single clip as it continues to play.

Why is The Picture in Picture in iMovie Not Working?

If you cannot see the Video Overlay Settings button in the editor toolbar, it is likely because you have not yet aligned the two clips in the timeline. 

The overlay feature is not a default feature in the editor and only appears in the editor when the 2 clips are properly positioned on top of each other in the timeline.

Final Thoughts

There are numerous benefits to using the Picture in Picture effect in your videos. It is commonly used in various settings such as video conference calls, podcasts, sports replays, and product reviews. The effect provides an effective way to display multiple pieces of information at the same time, making it easier for viewers to understand and follow along with the content.

What type of video do you want to create with the Picture in Picture effect? Let us know your feedback and thoughts in the comments below.

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