7 Replies Latest reply: Dec 27, 2013 6:00 AM by KathNH
Rasuul Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Howdy -


I realize there are already similar posts to this one, but so far as I could tell, most of them involve (& focus on) transitions, whereas my issue is strictly with setting the duration for which a photo is held in iMovie.


Effectively, I am trying to get a 'stop motion' feel from iMovie. I deselected the auto-apply 'Ken Burns' to all photo imports in the project preferences and figured I would edit the photo duration afterwards, given that the shortest possible duration in the project preferences is 1s, which is much too long. That is where I run into trouble: the "duration" field is acting up a great deal - sometimes it won't even respond to my entering different numbers, other times it will. Sometimes when it does respond to my typing numbers, it won't let me type anything in the decimal position. When it does let me type something in the decimal position, e.g. 0.2s, when I hit enter, it re-sets the time to 2.0s. I've tried different formats for entering time (0:00:2; 0:00:02; 0,2; with & w/out 's' etc) - all to no avail.


I'm very curious to know if anyone else has reported this problem, & if so what the solution is.


In case anyone else is having this problem, I did find a workaround:


     1. Import your photos as necessary

     2. Select one photo and manually crop to desired time scale (e.g. 0.3s)

     3. "Trim to selection"

     4. Select that same clip & bring up the window for editing the duration, check the "apply to all stills" box.

     5. voila - amazingly this works.


Although this is a perfectly easy workaround, I'm a little disconcerted by the fact that iMovie won't repond properly & would be very interested to understand why.


Thank you in advance for your help.


Kind regards,



MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.6.7), Mem: 2GB 1067 MHz DDR3 (sigh)
  • Rasuul Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Any takers?


    I've run into an area where my work around doesn't work: I'd like to set certain portions of the movie to run more quickly than others, but would have to manually adjust hundreds of photos in the manner described above - hardly a tenable workaround!


    Any help would be much appreciated.





  • Rasuul Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Howdy all -


    I've still yet to resolve this issue.


    I'm presently trying to learn enough apple script to tomatically create a new project in iMovie, then have an iPhoto event imported, & adjust the time to 0.3s. I'm hoping scriipting it will bypass whatever is glitching in the program.


    But I'd still be interested to know why this might be happening. I had a similar issue in Keynote, where I couldn't manually set the delay  of a slide that was to go "at the same time" as the previous slide: try as I might, it wouldn't let me specify any time unless I used the up/down arrows. Interestingly, by opening a new "inspector" window, that particular issue was resolved. Maybe nothing in common, but similar functionality & problem on the user end . . .


    Would much appreciate any insight anyone could offer.





  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,605 points)

    Hi Rax,


    This may not help, but in iMovie Preferences there is an option to display time down to the frame level. So, rather than entering time as a decimal, you enter each time component separated by a colon. So, 2.5 seconds would be entered as 2:15 - that's 2 seconds and 15 frames (for NTSC or 30 fps formatted video).


    See this screenshot:


    Screen shot 2011-09-06 at 11.23.12 AM.png


    As I mentioned, this may not help. At times I've also had trouble adjusting the duration of stills, even though I have my preferences set to display time at the frame level. Transitions can cause issues with stills duration. In most cases, a transition can be no longer than half the duration of the shortest clip on either side.


    Notwithstanding the transition methodology, my feeling is that there is a bug in iMovie that causes problems with stills duration in certain circumstances. This applies to both iMovie '09 and iMovie '11 (also possibly '08).



  • Rasuul Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Howdy John!


    Thanks for bitting, as it were.


    The screen shot isn't showing right now, i'll check in again later, but thanks for the suggestion. I suspect you are right about the bug: it is way too glitchy & has happened to me across multiple Macs. Likely part of the issue is that iMovie wasn't intended for stop-motion type movies (generally, time-setting doesn't seem as problematic for timescales > 1s, with the exception of complications due to transitions); although it's hard for me to see why the shorter time scale would screw up its functionality without knowing what's going on under the hood.


    Thanks again for the idea. I'll give it a shot soon.




  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,605 points)

    Rasuul wrote:


    The screen shot isn't showing right now, i'll check in again later, but thanks for the suggestion.

    Thanks for the reply RAx. Screenshots don't seem to be working for me on the forum (I use the camera icon to insert the images). They appear to be OK after I post my replies, but when re-visiting posts, or re-posting to the same topic, the question mark appears. It seems that the forum is unable to locate them or they become unreadable. I use the key combination Command>Shift>4 to save screenshots to the Desktop - thay save as PNG files (perhaps that's the problem).


    The screenshot I posted here simply showed the window from the menu item iMovie>Preferences. In the General tab check (tick) the box labelled "Display time as HH:MM:SS:Frames"



  • musicmem Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I had the same problem.  I'm working on a stop-motion type film, and the bottom line is iMovie '11 will not allow you to set a duration for stills lower than 0:05.  (Interestingly, I've been able to get 0:04 randomly at points, which doesn't make any sense...but it's still too lengthy for a good animation look anyway.)


    I contacted AppleCare about this issue, and they essentially didn't understand the need for an extremely short duration of a still and said that the program iMovie is trending in the direction of more basic and stream-lined.  Since I can't afford a more professional editing program, I finally came across a workaround that I can live with: If you create your entire film with 0:05 duration, export it, and then import that file into a new project, in the Inspector you can increase the speed.


    I realize this is not at all ideal but just thought I'd throw it out there.  Hope this helps for someone else!



  • KathNH Level 1 Level 1 (75 points)



    I've had the same problem with setting the duration and it does appear to be due to transitions, as well as to the Ken Burns effect.  If I import all of the photos, select them all, and turn off the Ken Burns effect (select fit), I can set the duration and it will consistently apply to all the photos.  I haven't had the need to do extremely short durations as I do primarily family slide shows for special events, but Apple should certainly understand the need for animation and stop action!