Movie-making has never been easier or as accessible to more people as it is today. Apple has been one of the innovators in the market of entry-level video editors with its iMovie. The latest version of that application, iMovie ’11 has topped the charts, so to speak, of entry level film editing software.
Setting up iMovie is part of the iLife installation, and takes as long as it’s going to take, usually around 20 minutes. Once you begin to upload your videos, iLife uses an optimizer to sharpen the images, which has an adverse effect on the time it takes for an upload to complete. Users can simply turn off the optimization feature if they choose.
There are also a few drawbacks when it comes to the type of video iMovie is comfortable playing with. That is, it only works with the raw content of certain cameras and video recording devices. Users won’t be able to upload files already edited with other software. Also, the fact that iMovie supports video from only a select list of cameras is frustrating.
However, the application works superbly, and brings some new features to the table that put it way ahead of the competition in several regards. Firstly, the face recognition feature is invaluable. The software can actually recognize in which clips humans are found and which clips are human-less. Users can have the playback show human-only clips, which makes it easier to see the participants as they’ve been edited back to back without all the in-between.
The application adheres to the more-or-less universal setup of video editing software, with the storyline and timeline views, and the main screen where the video plays. New features and buttons come as a welcome surprise, and only take a bit to get used to.
There’s no full screen view, which is unfortunate, but where iMovie lacks, in other aspects it shines. It comes with a bunch of movie themes, and a new movie trailer maker, wherein users place clips into pre-timed sequences playing to the London Symphony Orchestra’s thematic background music.
The audio controls are superb. Users can use the 10 slider EQ to adjust the bass and treble, and change the level of music or voice. There are even a range of effects to change the sounds or voices in the clips, and the level of volume in each individual clip is also adjustable.
There’s slow-motion, fast-forward, and instant replay effects that have fixed percentage options. These are great features for a father’s video of his kid’s football game. In addition, you can have an equal ratio picture within a picture, and you can crop shots, or even cut out the background with the green screen.
Finally, the exporting options are better than the last version, with the option of creating a 1080p HD file, or uploading directly to Facebook or into your personal iTunes application. Apple has really hit the nail on the head with their iMovie ’11.