My Mac is loaded up with Apple’s highly acclaimed Final Cut Studio but iMove is better for quick and dirty movies that look fabulous.
The only problem with iMove is that special effects are mostly lacking. It’s good for video cuts, add a few sounds, drop in a couple of basic transitions, but that’s about it. There is a way to add more effects to your movies without the expense of Final Cut.
What iMovie Really Needs
Allow me to assume for a moment that you cannot afford the expense and complexity of Final Cut Studio. It’s an awesome package that can turn any modern Mac into a full-fledged audio and video production studio.
It’s also not for the faint of heart (or for those with more month left over at the end of their money).
iMovie is the video editing app for the rest of us.
It’s simple to use, comes with a good mixture of transitions, effects and themes, plus simple drop in character generation, but it’s woefully lacking in the effects department.
If you can’t go to Final Cut, you can probably go to Elasty, the little Mac app that brings a few big-time effects to your movies and clips.
What’s Old Is New Again
Elasty has been around awhile but has a new name and a longer list of features that extend your iMovie-based movies to a new level.
For example, you get Advanced Motion Tracking (not available in iMovie), which lets you drop in special effects—and there’s a whole library of those included in Elasty.
The video editor has adjustable speeds and custom frame rates (speed up and slow down, while preserving pitch). Add blurs and color effects from the Effects Library. Color effects include hue adjustment, posterize, X-ray, monochrome, thermal vision and more.
Here’s an example video ( click here for many more in the Video Gallery—a video is worth a thousand words) of Elasty dropping graphic images over a video (and the images move along with the video).
You can also distort specific areas on the movie clip using bumps, circle splash, hole, pinch, twirl, and vortex—plus a variety of halftone effects. There’s even eye candy—four shapes of beating heart. Stylized effects include edges, pixelation, gloom, and bloom, among others.
Like iMovie, Elasty has built-in image stabilization but with more controls. In fact, controls are more typical of a non-iMovie video editor with floating palettes for the effects tools.
If iMovie isn’t enough and Final Cut Studio is exactly too much, Elasty gives you more of what you’re probably looking for.
There are caveats. You need an Intel Mac (PowerPC Macs need not apply), and plenty of RAM and plenty of graphics RAM in the GPU. This app performs better with more CPU horsepower. Movie clips must be QuickTime, MPEG 2 to 4, AVI, DV Stream, or iSight. Otherwise, Elasty easily does what iMovie cannot, but the two together can make your videos look unique when compared to your Mac-loving neighbor’s videos.