If the Mac is the digital hub, then Apple’s media solution is iPhoto, iTunes, and iDVD, right?
Does iTunes’ ability to manage movies and TV shows mean the death of media managers on the Mac? Yes and no.
For most of us, iTunes will not only store and manage our video in the form of home movies, feature length movies, and TV shows, it will also distribute them to the TV set via AppleTV.
That works for some, if not most Mac users. What about the rest of us? Is iTunes, whatever it is now, and whatever it will become, enough?
The answer is no. iTunes is not enough and will never be enough. Just as iPhoto doesn’t really compete with Apple’s Aperture, or Adobe’s Lightroom, iTunes can’t be all things to everyone.
What started this train of thought was a nice Mac application I tried—Movie Montage. It’s a decent movie management utility for QuickTime movies.
Think of it as a version of iPhoto that is specific to your video clips. View thumbnails, scroll through 100 movies at a time, click to play movies, rename, export. All the basic management needs for video clips. For $20.
Nice. But not enough.
What I consider the best movie manager is FootTrack. I don’t think FootTrack has an equal in the middle of the price range.
Jack and Carol use FootTrack. So does Ron. So do I. But it’s movies and clips only—not other digital media.
FootTrack is different than managing movies and clips in iTunes or iPhoto. It will compress video direct from your video camera. It organizes clips in a tape metaphor for clips and does a dozen other things you’ll never see for movies in Apple’s iLife applications.
The Mac has a bunch of movie media managers that range from low priced QuickTime movie clip managers, to high end digital media asset managers.
Mediaboard ONE is one of those “one size fits all” utilities, but does more than FootTrack for less money. Catalog and access images, movies, and documents, wherever they may be, including a database.
More than a bit complicated even at an attractive price, Mediaboard ONE is not for the faint of heart or newbies to media asset management.
There’s all kinds of media browsers, including one that’s called Media Browser. Store your media where you want, and use the browser to browse through it all. Not bad for $10.
Media Central goes the other direction and looks like what you really want iTunes and AppleTV to do. I got dizzy trying to figure out all it could do and how to get it to do it all.
Movie Gallery is more than decent, though not as feature laden as I’d like for the money. The standard left column, right colum organization metaphor makes Movie Gallery easy to use.
You can create playlists of movies, watch movies in full screen, share movies, export movies, create galleries of movies, and more. In the end, you’re managing movies and clips.
The most expensive and feature laden of the lot is the venerable iView Media and iView MediaPro.
This gargantuan utility does a little of everything with everything for everyone. The iView MediaPro Catalog becomes the center of the media universe and pulls in digital photos, movies and clips, scanned images, and anything else you need to catalog.
It manages media, folders, files, color profiles, PDFs, printing, image enhancing, web page publishing, archiving, repurposing, distribution and probably 17 or 63 other PowerPoint line items I can’t remember.
Oh, did I mention that Microsoft now owns iView MediaPro?
Maybe that’s why the emphasis on features, features, and more features. What would you expect for $200? Featuritis, right?
As iTunes matures and morphs, it may very well kill some of the lower-priced media managers for movies and movie clips. It’s difficult to compete with free.
For now, Apple seems content to simply use iTunes to store music, TV shows, movies, and movie clips for distribution to your TV set or home entertainment center—via Apple TV.
You can see what’s happening, right? I have a number of utilities that do specific functions—management of various digital media—and Apple is slowly adding features to the iLife suite of applications that marginalize some of those tools.
iTunes and iPhoto together are formidable products. While iLife doesn’t really compete with, say, Microsoft’s bloated iView MediaPro, today—tomorrow may be a different story.
For the rest of us, managing our digital assets, our digital media, our photos, movies, movie clips, TV shows, flash clips, means we’re charting into new territory for tools and utilities.
Either we spend money on a specific media manager for our files, or we make do with the limited capabilities of iLife’s applications, or—we wait just awhile longer and get more utility from Apple.
Why? Managing media assets is now a problem for many users. Dumping files into the Pictures folder, the Movies folder, or into iTunes isn’t enough. It’s messy. Out of messy comes a solution.
What’s your solution? How are you handling your digital assets; your movie clips and all the files that don’t end up in iPhoto or iTunes? Share your experience with other Mac360 readers in the Comment section below.