The most interesting aspect of iLife ‘11 is what didn’t happen. Apple didn’t bother doing anything, if much at all, with iWeb and iDVD. iPhoto and Garageband received notable attention.
My favorite iLife app, iMovie, seems to have received the most attention, including a handful of must-have features to make it a killer app. Oh, remember iMovie’s timeline? There’s a way to get it back.
24 Hours To Atlanta
I’m 24 hours deep into iMovie ‘11 and I like what I see. It’s familiar, friendly, faster, and has half a dozen major new eye-grabbing features built-in that you didn’t know you wanted.
Who doesn’t like movie trailers? iMovie makes movie trailers that look, well, professional.
Movie trailers are not as easy as you think. It’s a form-based function.
Fill out the forms for Name and Date, Cast members, Studio name (but don’t use the word Universal in the name), Credits and more. That’s the outline function.
From there, move to the Storyboard and drag and drop scenes from your movie clips. You’re prompted for specific scene types. From there you have five trailer themes—Action, Adventure, Blockbuster, Friendship, and Holiday.
The end result is quite good. Apple supplies the background music so the movie trailer looks and sounds like, well, a movie trailer.
Wait! There’s More!
I’m an audio buff so iMovie’s new audio editing tools are a sound to sore ears. Each clip has audio waveforms which can be modified with simple drag and drop tools—drag a volume slider, drag up for increased levels, shorten or lengthen fades. It’s all visual in the waveform for each clip.
Hello! Single row view is back. Click a button. See the whole audio and video timeline. That feature alone is worth iLife’s $49 price of admission.
Guess who’s coming to editing? Slow motion. Instant replay. Video clips can be sped up and slowed down, just as in broadcast instant replay clips. Add that effect to Flash and Hold which pauses moving video to look like a still image, then continues to move. The Jump Cut at Beats features goes further by jumping a video clip to the beat of the background music. Just click.
Apple’s iPhoto uses facial recognition technology to find faces in tens of thousands of digital photos. That same technology shows up in iMovie as People Finder. Forget scrubbing through a hundred video scenes. People Finder analyzes each video clip for faces, remembers the details, even understands wide-angles, close-ups, and medium-shots. It’s good for trailers, but not much more.
Sports and News themes are likely to be a hit, but will eventually bore you audiences with the same look.
Nice to have. Better than nothing. Needs more variety.
Just as photos needs to be shared, videos need to be shared, too. We’re human. It’s what we do. iMovie shares all over the place. MobileMe, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, even CNN’s popular iReport.
The most loved new feature in iMovie is a return to yesteryear. Remember the old iMovie versions which had a traditional edit timeline of video and audio? iMovie ‘08 killed that. It’s back in iMovie ‘11. Open a Project. While in the Project browser, find and click the Single-Row View button in the upper right corner. Now click the Projects and Swap Events button in the toolbar to move the Project browser to the bottom of the screen.
Bingo. No crazy snaking video and audio timeline. Back to the future with a real timeline, the way God intended. This is easily the best version of iMovie ever.