By Monte FergusoniMovie 11 has a mixture of features with this release. They range from
really cool to pretty slick. It is obvious that iPhoto gets the most
attention, and the most features. But that doesn't mean iMovie is taking
a backseat to iPhoto. Like iPhoto many of the changes and updates
involve existing features. Also, like iPhoto, these improvements really
beef up the existing feature set and make things work better.
The single biggest enhancement, and the most useful, is to audio
editing in iMovie. You now have detailed audio waveforms for all of
your clips. They are even color coded. You can adjust the level, think
volume, by dragging on a slider control. Shortening, or extending, fades
by dragging on the fade edges. Your waveforms will update immediately.
This allows you to have hands on control and hear , and see, your
changes in real time. You an also elect to adjust audio levels for part
of a clip. The new audio controls extend to sound effects, voiceover,
One pretty slick feature is called Movie Trailers. You pick a theme,
from among 15 choices. It has all kinds of very professional cut scenes,
opening graphics, music (played by the London Symphony Orchestra!),
credits etc included in the theme. You then pick video clips and drop
them into pre-defined drop zones. iMovie, using face detection
technology brought over from iPhoto, can help you winnow out clips that
fit the needed scenes in the trailer. It has Outline, Storyboard, and
Shot List tabs in which you specify the titles and credits that appear
in the trailer, as well as the shots and kinds of shots that make up
each part of the trailer. The program trims your clips to fit and adds
transitions, titles, and special effects. It is fun and makes the
process a breeze to complete in about 30-40 min. Ready to be exported
out to YouTube or some such.
A couple of new themes, Sports & News, look very promising. You can be
skeptical about calling this a new feature. I know I was until I saw a
demonstration. This is more than just a cute background and a few nice
animated touches and transitions. The idea is that these themes turn
your video into broadcast news segments. They come with sophisticated
graphics and sleek transitions, complimented by your own hard hitting
titles. When youíre done with the News themed story you can export it
directly out of iMovie to CNN iReport. The sports theme , besides
coming with animated titles like game score and stats, also includes a
Sports Team Editor. It integrates your own players photos, rosters,
statistics, and team logos into your movie. The end result looks like a
local news cast segment. It is really cool.
There are a number of new effects. Apple calls them One-Step Effects. So
named because you pretty much just add it to a clip or segment and it is
live. No need to render. You can choose from slow motion, sped up
video, instant replays, as well as add jump cuts and flip effects
perfectly timed to music, as well as several others.
Once you have created your movie, the next challenge is sharing it with
others. Apple has made that easier with each release. This update is no
different. You even have more options on how to save out your movie.
Your export options are: iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, CNN iReport,
or Apple Podcast Producer. You can choose to save out to more than one
destination at a time.
There is no doubt that iMovie '11 is an improvement over its
predecessor. The program is more responsive. Yet it packs more features.
Welcome features from the past, like the timeline viewer, make a
reappearance. The major update to audio updates is a very useful tool.
The real time effects, ok One-Step Effects, are just amazing. You just
apply the effect and watch the video in real time. No need to wait for
it to render out in the background. A useful feature that was brought
over from iPhoto is dubbed People Finder. It is the face recognition
engine in iMovie. What is unique about the iMovie implementation is that
it scans clips for: the parts with people in them and tells you how many
are in each scene. It also finds the close-ups, medium shots, or wide
angles so it's easy to grab video clips as you need them.
There really is not much to nitpick in iMovie'11. That is if you get
along with the interface choices. If you can't you'll need to get a
different program. There is no way to modify the features, or interface
of iMovie. There are no plug ins or addons. If you use a camera that
shoots AVCHD video you're still out of luck. iMovie can't handle that
video format natively, still. Any preprocessing work, like motion
stabilization, still takes forever. Speaking of forever, transcoding
video also takes a good long time.
It would be easy to say that there is not much to this update. Sure,
it's lacking in big and showy new capabilities. What it does excel at is
an improvement across the board. Almost all of the existing features are
more powerful, or work more smoothly. If you were expecting a radically
different program you will be disappointed. Although the sheer number of
features may not rival iPhotos, there is a lot of depth to them. You'll
have a lot of fun, and come up with some great results. I for one canít
wait to sit down and play with this release of iMovie.
Posted: Saturday, May 7th, 2011