Creating a video clip using Animoji, Keynote, and iMovie

© 2021 by Lawrence I. Charters, Vice President, Strait Macintosh User Group

How to make a quick video with your iPhone

If you have an iPhone that supports Face ID, your phone also has the ability to map your face in 3D, and then texture-map your face over cartoon characters called Animoji, for “animated Memoji.” Making a movie is easy; this video shows you how to make a video just like it.

Video as it appears on YouTube:

The hard part was arranging the separate video clips in order, then dragging them into iMovie one at a time. In iMovie, the layout looked like this, with the individual movie clips in the upper left (the “media” pool), the preview of the movie in the upper right, and the timeline along the bottom, showing the placement of each clip. Below that you see a long, green section; this is a music track added at the last second, just because.

Click on the image for a larger view.

For no particularly good reason, other than we could, we offer an audio version of the script shown below.

As mentioned at the February SMUG meeting, it helps to have a script when you are creating a video made up of Animoji clips. This is the script that was (more or less) followed. As I was both looking into the phone and trying to read the script at the same time, some of the audio sounds a bit tenuous and uncertain because it is tenuous and uncertain.

Script for the video

There are many ways to make a video clip on a Mac or iPhone or iPad.

One of the more interesting methods is to use Animoji, which requires an iPhone that supports Face ID.

FaceID is available on the iPhone X, XS Max, and all iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models.

FaceID works by using light projectors on the front of the phone, and light sensors, to create a 3D map of your face.

The 3D map is stored on the phone, and by just looking at your phone, you can unlock it.

Apple engineers were toying with this idea, and decided there were other, fun things you could do with a 3D map of your face.

They created 3D models of various cartoon animals, and then used FaceID to “map” these models to the movement of your lips, eyes, head tilt, and expressions.

The result: you can send Messages on your phone that show you as a giraffe, or unicorn, or other animal.

Recently, they added the ability to create a cartoon avatar of yourself, so you can send a video image of your cartoon self saying something.

Animoji (animals) and Memoji (your cartoon avatar) clips are limited to 10 seconds in length. [Though this seems somewhat squishy in practice.]

To create a longer clip, create several clips, send them to yourself, and then use iMovie to string them together.

[Tip: save them to your Photos library, and then export them from there.]

Animoji exist for most animals of the Chinese zodiac (no snake, no sheep, and no horse, but there is a unicorn).

[The Chinese zodiac has these twelve animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar.]

To make the clips more interesting, you must exaggerate your expressions and move your head.

If you pretend to be a very proper British butler, expressionless, with lips barely moving, the clip will look more like a still image.

For best results, write out a script in advance, with the script divided into chunks of about 10 seconds.

Don’t worry about flubbing your lines; you can make and remake as many clips as you want.

Switch between characters as often as you like, but remember the 10 second limit.

Another thing to consider is size. While the videos are small, they will use more of your phone’s data plan — megabytes — than a text message.

The seriousness of the message is also important. If you are delivering bad news, Animoji are not the best choice to project seriousness.

So stop dragging your feet. Seize the day and project your wild, fiery side.

But remember: nothing conveys intimacy and emotion quite as well as your face.

Speaking to you from upper left hand USA, this is the Strait Macintosh User Group.

[Yes, there is also a musical soundtrack running in the background. Because I wanted one.]

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