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How to Make Cinematic Videos Using Color Grading in iMovie?

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Oct 26, 2023• Proven solutions

You are able to change how your movie feels and looks with effects like color adjustment tools, video filters, and the Ken Burns effect in iMovie. However, there's more to it with its color grading feature.

We all know that cameras are pretty famous in our daily lives, specifically when traveling to some places. Today, these devices make it simpler for you to get some good quality images and videos. However, the autofocus camera may misread the balance or brightness of the environment, making your work look or natural color or good-looking. Consequently, you want to correct the color of your videos or images and get them graded via various lighting conditions and fantastic color combinations.

All you need here is a simple iMovie color grading tutorial or its most accessible alternative with many other features for ease of use.

Part 1: How to Color Grade in iMovie to Change the Look of Videos?

Color grading is how you alter or improve the color of a video, film, or image. Let’s explore LUTs, color profiles, color grade, and how-to guide for cinematic color grading in iMovie.

Here are the detailed steps of color grading in iMovie.

Step 1: Enable Advanced Tools

First, you should enable the Advanced Tools via iMovie Preferences > General, leading with a window. Choose "Show Advanced Tools" to activate iMovie color correction.

Step 2: Open the Video Inspection

Click the File > Import > Movies and select videos from your computer to add to iMovie. Then, open the video inspection by double-clicking it or hitting the gear in front of the video clip and selecting "Clip Adjustments".

Step 3: Start to Correct the Video Color in iMovie

Select the "Video" tab under Inspector and in the following window, go for color correcting your video as you like. There, you can modify the exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, red gain, green gain, blue gain, and white point. In addition, you can preview the effect in the viewing window in real-time. Finally, if you are satisfied with the effect, hit "Done" to save and finish the video color correction in iMovie.

Part 2: Make Your Videos Look More Cinematic with iMovie's Alternative

To help you effortlessly color correct the projects, Wondershare Filmora can be a good choice and a must-have alternative to iMovie. You're only required to drag-n-drop your media to its editing timeline, double click it and then adjust the Contrast, Saturation, Brightness, and Hue.

Despite this quick adjustment, you can also use it to crop, rotate, split, adjust audio, merge, and add lots of your desired cool video effects. Now explore its endless editing features and download it from here.

Download Filmora Win Version Download Filmora Mac Version

Step 1: Add the Media

After installing Wondershare Filmora, click the New Project and Import button to find and load your videos easily.

Step 2: Correct the Color [Both Basic and Advanced]

Within the timeline, double-tap the video editing window. Select the "Color" panel and make the modifications.

  • Contrast: Control the brightness and color in different sections of the video image by adjusting this setting.
  • Saturation: This setting highlights the grey portion in the video to the hue. You can adjust it to make the colors of the entire video image look more saturated or inconspicuous.
  • Brightness: You can change this setting to personalize the overall darkness and lightness of your project.
  • Tint: Tint is generally the light of a color. Let's say when red saturated with white, it will create a shade of pink.
  • 3D LUT: The 3D Lookup Tables provide Hollywood film-looking color sets to your media, such as the 007 series, Batman, Harry Porter, etc.

Direct your mouse cursor to the indicator and modify the color correction settings. Then, left-click it and move along the slider. The corresponding value will settle after releasing the mouse button.

You can also access advanced color correction with Filmora. Tap the Advanced Color Tuning icon and enter the respective window, in which you can adjust the color finely or apply preset templates.

There are different templates in the Presets tab, including Film, Common, 3D LUT, and Vignette. Within the Adjust tab, you can adjust the color temperature, white balance, color tint, 3D LUT, Color, HSL, Light, Vignette, etc.

Step 3: Preview and Save Your New Video

If you are satisfied with the creation, hit "Export". Then, click the Settings button and save the new videos in different formats under the Format tab. You can also export the video to Vimeo or YouTube directly, or burn it to DVD for better preservation.

So, this is how easy the color correction in Filmora is. Hope you find these color correction guide by Filmora quite valuable in crafting amazing edited projects. Despite the color grading/correction tools, you can revamp more edits with Filmora's effects.

Part 3: FAQs about Color Grading in iMovie

Here are some common questions about color grading in iMovie for your information.

1. What does color correction do in iMovie?

Several methods adjust a clip's color in iMovie, from adjusting shadows, highlights, brightness, saturation, contrast, saturation, and color temperature to detailed color adjustments.

When you adjust the color of a range, the entire clip gets dipped in the adjustment.

2. Does iMovie have special effects?

iMovie includes effects that can change your clip’s interface. If you want a specific view, use a preset filter like Sepia or Black and White. And for any images contained in the iMovie project, you can adjust the Ken Burns effect that zooms in and out on the image.

3. Which video format is best for color grading?

By using ProRes 422 HQ or ProRes 422 if you're starting with a 100Mbps, codec is a good choice. ProRes 422 will probably do great, but if you have huge storage space, ProRes 422 HQ will have a slight edge.


So, this was our beginner-friendly how-to guide for color grading in iMovie. Hopefully, you got through all the steps and considered the ease of use related to the software.

But, finding the most accessible alternative to iMovie is tricky, especially when lots of video editing platforms are available that enable you to perform simple editing tasks. To make your job easier, we've already juggled through the research part and found Wondershare Filmora as the simplest, advanced, and must-have alternative to iMovie in 2021.

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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