Et tu, iMovie?
August 19, 2007
Having worked in the design industry for over a decade, I’ve often been called on to dabble in various forms of media. Print and packaging design, multimedia presentations, website and icon design (of course) and every now and then, digital video editing. With Apple’s recent announcement of iLife ’08, I was excited to check out the latest updates to both iPhoto and iMovie. iPhoto’s new features and reorganized user interface are a marked improvement from previous versions. Sadly however, iMovie, as David Pogue recently noted, has taken a big step backward.
I was skeptical of Pogue’s critical points in his review until I tried the program out for myself. Almost instantly I could tell that the new skimming feature was going to be more trouble than it was worth. Because it’s initiated simply by rolling the mouse over a clip, you find yourself accidently skimming video you never intended to view. In addition, iMovie 8 has removed almost all control over audio, and the familiar time line for editing clips has bowed out. I grew overwhelmingly frustrated, especially since I had come from iMovie 4, and was expecting, perhaps a bit too much. After wrestling with the program for over 2 hours, I gave up and turned to a copy of Final Cut Pro HD that I installed long ago, but never learned to use.
In a matter of hours I was able to edit a short sequence exactly the way I wanted. This isn’t surprising since Final Cut Pro, as the name suggests, is the tool of choice for professional video editors. As I became familiar with the application, I managed to put together a short promotional video for Pixadex as a test. I’m pleased with how it turned out and will use it as the basis for a series of short video tutorials for IconBuilder over at the Iconfactory.
In retrospect, I definitely think Apple decided to dumb down the new version of iMovie to give Final Cut Pro some breathing room. Like The Talk Show’s Dan Benjamin, I’m a firm believer that the program was becoming too powerful and was being used for projects that went beyond “home movies” of people’s kids. Even Pogue admits that he used iMovie for all of his NYT video reviews, something that sounds like it should have been done with a professional editing solution. Unfortunately, with the price of FCP being so prohibitive, average users can only hope that Apple will decide to put back some of the missing features from version 6 in the months ahead. Perhaps sensing people’s dissatisfaction with iMovie 8, Apple decided to make version 6 freely available. Kudos to them for doing it, but in the meantime, I’ll be rediscovering the joy of video editing. My only regret is that it’ll be thanks to Final Cut Pro instead of Apple’s humble iMovie.