Thematic Montage

This iMovie exercise teaches:

● How to construct and pace a montage
● How to accelerate, retard, and reverse motions
● How to rotate film clips horizontally and vertically
● How to create special effect visual distortions
● How to assert theme and variation in montage using similarity and repetition

(Instructions for Windows Movie Maker are here).

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  1. Download these shots of baseball fans filing into a ball park and street cars approaching and departing a station. Accelerating, freezing, layering, and reversing them, you'll construct a montage combining clockwork people and machines that dream them.  
  2. In iMovie, create a new widescreen project. Call it "Thematic Montage." Import,,,, and"  
  3. Construct a multilayered montage element first. From select the first ten seconds and add it to the workspace. From select the final ten seconds. Drag it atop the segment already in the work space. Select "Cutaway." Set opacity at 50%.  
  Drag the cutaway footage rightward. Where your multilayered effect begins, two streetcars, one atop the other, pass in tandem from screen left to screen right.
  4. Reverse one streetcar's direction. Double click the streetcar1 footage in the workspace. Click Direction>Reverse. Atop streetcar5, streetcar1 now run towards streetcar5's original position.
  5. Drag the last ten seconds of into the workspace again. Double click and drag the speed toggle to 200% to accelerate it. To redouble the acceleration, drag approximately four seconds of (showing a foot in sandals) atop the last ten seconds of Select "Cutaway." Set opacity at 50%.  
  Drag approximately four seconds of (showing a foot from ground level) atop the same clip. To two shots you have added three multilevel segments—one reversed, one accelerated, and one natural.
  6. To add a pair of identical streetcar rushing as if above and below the rails, drag approximately 12 seconds of into the workspace. Double click to toggle this clip's speed to 800%. Selecting "Cropping, Ken Burns, and Rotation," rotate the clip upside down. Click "Done."  
  Repeat, again dragging this 12 second segment of into the work space, this time atop the now upside down segment. Select Cutaway. Set this clip's speed to 800%. Set opacity at 50%. View your montage segment. With a touch of color and background sound, your montage segments resembles this one.
  7. Import and crowd From and select 8-10 ten-second segments (you choose which) and drag each to work space.  
  8. Freeze a frame. (With the cursor over the frame you select>control click>Add freeze frame.)  
  9. Double click each of the 10-second segments you added (but not the freeze frame). Set the speed of each to 800%.  
  10. Add a Mosaic transition between the last streetcar shot and the first crowd shot. Add a Fade-to-Black transition to terminate the montage. Repeating and varying shot elements in twelve minutes of documentary footage, you created a short thematic montage like Vertov did.  
  11. You're done.  
  Want to play more? Reverse one or more of the crowd shots. Zoom in on a detail using a Ken Burns effect. Add color and music. Your thematic montage now looks something like this.