How to Make a Video Countdown Timer for Mac

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There are several ways to create a video countdown timer on a Mac. Unfortunately, none are free. This tutorial will use Countdown Maker, the most flexible and visually appealing tool available, but exporting countdowns to video files requires the purchased version. However, if you wish to simply have a real-time countdown timer for your own computer, this can be done with freeware. See the Tips section for the easiest way to do this.

Things You'll Need

  • Countdown Maker
  • Download and install the Countdown Maker program from the link in Resources. If you wish to export the countdown you create to a video file, you will need to purchase the full version (which costs $49 as of Oct. 2009). Unfortunately, there currently exists no free way to create a video countdown on a Mac, short of creating each frame by hand in iMovie.

  • Type in the desired length for the countdown in the main window in minutes and seconds. The countdown can last anywhere from one second to an hour On the right-hand side of the screen you will see a preview of your countdown.

  • Click the "Font" tab in the top of the window. It contains a variety of different options for lettering your countdown, just as you might see in a word-processing program. Play around with fonts, colors, sizes and spacing.

  • Click the "Position" tab to the right of "Font." Users will typically want to leave this section untouched, keeping the countdown clock in the center. To move it around, change the location or rotation.

  • Experiment with the "Effects" and "Background" tabs to get your countdown looking its best. You can even use an image or Quicktime movie as the background. If you wish to overlay a countdown onto an existing video, this is the way to do it. Image backgrounds work best if the image is in PNG format. See the Support FAQ in References for more information.

  • When your countdown is ready, click the "Export" button in the upper right-hand corner. Choose the file format and location you wish to save to and save your completed countdown. Again, this feature is only enabled in the paid version of the program.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you simply want a countdown timer for personal use, the easiest way is to install one on your Mac's menu bar. The free Menubar Countdown application (see link in Resources) allows you to create countdowns to the second with audio and visual notifications when 00:00:00 is reached.
  • Users of iMovie 6 or earlier have the additional option of purchasing the Slick 5 series for $49.95 to create countdown timers in iMovie. While iMovie lost its plug-in capability after version 6, users of iMovie '08 can download version 6 for free. See Resources for both programs.

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