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How to Add a Freeze Frame in iMovie on Mac & iPhone?

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Oct 26, 2023• Proven solutions

Instead of eliciting up the options every time you want to make an iMovie freeze-frame, you can look for the one you want to freeze, place the playhead over it, then right-click and choose "Insert Frame Hold Segment." A two-second freeze frame will then show between the moving layers, which you can move around with and trim around.

Learning how to freeze a frame in iMovie is an incredible way to stop creating something that stands out. You can add a freeze-frame, modify its length, and then have your movie pick right back up where it was. If this sounds great, here's how to do a freeze-frame in the iMovie tutorial on Mac and iPhone devices.

Part 1: What Is Freeze Frame in Video Editing?

An iMovie freeze-frame effect is just that—a frozen video frame within a piece of film or video. Freeze frames halt the movement within the video. They generally transform the moving picture into a still photography shot for a specific period.

However, some movies also don't use freeze-frame effects, so we must not be dramatic here and say you need to use one in your video project. But lots of great TV shows and movies use it well to highlight a moment or a point.

Regarding the iMovie freeze-frame usage, it can also be used as a device to focus on the moment's narration. These frames are also self-reflexive. They momentarily call attention to the video editing and filmmaking process. Filmmakers who use freeze frames are breaking the suspension of disbelief on purpose.

Yet, there is no rigid rule for freeze frames-work, but they are usually at the beginning or end of movies.

Part 2: How to Easily Freeze Frame in a Video?

Before you learn how to use freeze-frame in iMovie, learn to use it easily via its best alternative. It's pretty easy to freeze a video to add some captions or emphasize an action if you get the right tool at hand.

Here, Wondershare Filmora is a good fit for you for the easy process. With it, you can make or design a still image with your desired zoom in and out effect in a single tap.

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Steps on how to freeze-frame in video via Wondershare Filmora

Below are the exact details with the step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Import your media files

Hit the "Import" tab to browse your file folder or drop all the media files into the primary window. This program supports many formats, including WMV, MOV, MP4, AVI, MKV, 3GP, M4V, and more.

When you load all of them, you will see thumbnails in the Media Library panel. Now transfer it to the Video Timeline and proceed with the next step.

Note: All media files in the video timeline will merge without any stop by default.

Step 2: Freeze video with ease

Now play the video you want to create an iMovie freeze-frame and pause it to the correct position. Next, hit the "Snapshot" tab that places or locates under the Viewer panel. A picture will then immediately get added to the media library. Drag it to the PIP track over the main video clip panel, and set the duration of the still image.

Now you've designed a freeze frame with Filmora, and you can go ahead to customize it as per your needs. Double-tap the picture icon to reveal the editing window.

Then, you can rotate it 90 degrees clockwise, adjust the brightness, duration, contrast, etc.

You can also select your favorite zoom in/out or fade in/out effect in the "Motion" pane.

Step 3: Save your creation

When everything is designed, hit the "Export" button to export your creation. In the pop-up window that appears, select among different formats to save onto your PC system. Or directly upload it to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to share with your family or friends.

Bonus tips:

You may also want to add captions for the still photo to make it more valuable. It's simple to do this with the help of Wondershare Filmora. Click the "Text/Credit" option in the toolbar and select your favorite template to personalize it further. Size, time duration, and zoom in/out effect are all flexibly adjustable.

Part 3: How to Do a Freeze Frame in iMovie on Mac?

This specific section will teach you how to freeze-frame in iMovie on Mac and iPhone devices. This effect is usually applied to emphasize a frame and is simple yet tricky to accomplish with iMovie.

Steps on how to add a freeze-frame in iMovie

Step 1: Look for the iMovie app icon in the Dock or the Finder Applications folder. Then, select File > Open tab to proceed. You can also visit the iMovie project file in Finder, right-click it, and choose Open with > iMovie.

Step 2: Drag the timeline playhead to the frame you want the iMovie freeze-frame on. You'll see the iMovie clips at the screen's bottom.

If you want to add a video clip to the project to know how to freeze-frame in iMovie, you can do it now. Drop or drag the image file to the timeline or hit the Media > File > Import tab.

Step 3: Choose the Modify tab. It is present in the menu bar along your screen’s top.

Step 4: Select the Add Freeze Frame option now. The frame will freeze for 3 seconds by default, but you can adjust its length by dropping and dragging the handles on either side of the clip.

This iMovie freeze frame clip will not play audio and if you want to delete it, click to select the clip, then choose Modify > Remove Freeze Frame.

Part 4: How to Freeze Frame in iMovie on iPhone?

Now, it's time to learn how to freeze-frame in iMovie on iPhone via the easy-to-follow steps given below.

Step 1: Open your project in iMovie.

Step 2: Drag the timeline playhead to the frame you want to iMovie freeze frame with. You'll see the iMovie’s video clips at the screen’s bottom.

If you want to add a clip, hit the plus sign at the screen’s top-right corner.

Step 3: Hit the speedometer icon. You'll see it at the screen’s bottom, and it'll reveal all the speed options.

Step 4: Now, select the Freeze option. Then, the frame will freeze for 3 seconds by default, but you can adjust its length effect by dropping and dragging the yellow handles on either side of the video clip.

To delete an iMovie freeze-frame, tap it to select it, then tap the trash can icon in the lower of your screen's right corner.

Part 5: What to Do If "Add Freeze Frame" Not Working in iMovie?

Your project timeline is empty, and you are trying to edit it in the event pane. If you drag your video clip to the project timeline, you should look for the active add freeze frame.

However, there are instances when Add Freeze Frame option doesn’t work in iMovie:

  1. Sometimes in iMovie 10 the Add Freeze Frame options is greyed out without reasons and needs some fiddling to make it active.
  2. Remember, in iMovie 10, you can only add an iMovie freeze frame to a video clip in a project timeline. So, if you are trying elsewhere, it wouldn’t work.

In the Mac on iMovie app, tap the hand icon in the clip's middle portion with an iMovie freeze frame.

There are speed controls present above the Viewer worth considering, do one of the following:

  • Modify the duration of the freeze-frame: Enter several seconds in the Duration field, or drag either edge of the freeze-frame in the timeline.
  • Remove the freeze-frame clip: Select Modify > the Remove Freeze Frame option.
  • Once the freeze-frame clip deletes and the clip gets restored to its original length.


Thus, this is how you can create an iMovie freeze-frame on both Mac and iPhone. Freeze frame generally comes with low requirements for bandwidth as compared to full-motion technologies. You will mostly see how to freeze-frame in iMovie, where a single shot is captured, but the filmmaker wishes the Viewer to believe it was spontaneous. In the above sections, we've also provided you the easiest alternative to the iMovie freeze frame with Wondershare Filmora.

So, consider using Filmora first if you're looking to know how to freeze-frame in iMovie.

author avatar
Marion Dubois
Marion Dubois is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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Marion Dubois

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