Moving to the new iMovie

I led a class through the basics of iMovie 08 last week. I had reservations about using the new version since it is a complete departure from the original iMovie paradigm. All video clips were formerly contained within “projects”, meaning that people were expected to shoot footage and use it once. Now, video clips become part of a video library, just as you would put photos in an album, to facilitate searching, storing, and reusing video in multiple different projects. This is a by-product of the advance in video quality and storage capacity – individuals and families will soon have large libraries of all the video they have shot over the years, the same as they now have large collections of digital photos.

To prepare for the class I read the relevant chapters in a very good Apple Training Series book. I took a quick look at some of Apple’s brief but excellent online tutorials. I also spent a little time using a new iMac with built-in iSight camera to capture some video and move it around. In the end, I decided that iMovie 08 is actually easier and more powerful than the trusty old versions. However I’m not sure I’d try it on any Mac older than a year or two.

It is much easier to scan through video clips to find the relevant parts – Apple calls this “skimming”. There is more control over video and audio detail. For example, you can set white balance or rotate a frame. Audio “ducking” is now turned on by default. This means that your background song automatically drops to a lower volume if there is another audio track put in at the same time. No more manually adjusting to make room for narration!

Finally, there is a YouTube upload feature built right in. All you do is enter your YouTube ID and password and you can put your finished movie on the web right from iMovie.

The next step is to use iMovie 08 to produce a real movie project. Patrick and I could use some help in thinking of a theme. I suggested the “Secret Places of IWU”, which would serve as a tour of rarely seen locales on our campus. Any other ideas?

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