Video Essentials

A Visual Tour of iMovie ’11

iMovie, part of Apple’s iLife suite of creativity apps, has long been a favorite of non-professional video-makers. For those who simply want to create short videos that look good, and do so with a minimum of learning, it can’t be beat. There are plenty of offices that use it to create their online videos.

A few versions ago, Apple completely revamped iMovie, turning from the traditional timeline approach to a clip-based interface that fits in better with how people share and post videos. While that change was good for home users, it was bad for businesses that needed finer control. With this release, iMovie re-gains much of what was stripped out, again making iMovie suitable for small businesses.

The new ability to make Hollywood-style movie trailers may be getting all the attention, but it’s the audio improvements that you should really learn about. Those and some interface improvements make this version much more usable.

Here are nine shots of what you’ll find in the new version:

iMovie can now guide you through the process of making Hollywood-style movie trailers from your home videos. Doing so requires having lots of action shots, lots of different scenes, and multiple views of everyone in the family. The results are cute, and mercifully shorter than actual home videos.

To create a trailer, iMovie guides you through the process of picking shots. You simply drag in appropriate clips, fill out some text, and you’re done.

But it’s the audio editing that’s really welcome. You can view the audio waveform and edit it as you want, dragging it all higher or lower, changing sections, or adding fades.

A new equalizer lets you fine-tune your audio. You can also choose from several audio filters for comic effect.

New visual effects let you add an instant replay or change the speed of a section with just a click.

Serious editors will appreciate the new single-row view. This makes it easier to see your whole project at a glance, and is especially useful for audio waveforms. It works best if you use the swap button first, putting your project in the larger bottom window.

A new feature lets you analyze your video for just clips with faces. When you’re done, you can choose to view only the face clips, and even narrow that down to only group shots, wide shots, or close-ups. This makes creating movie trailers faster.

To give your work the look of real reporting, iMovie ’11 includes news and sports themes.

When you’re done with your work, new export settings let you quickly share it online or export it to a mobile device.


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