In a press demo that was streamed live over the Web, Apple CEO Steve Jobs presented a new version of iMovie, a part of the iLife ’11 suite of home creativity applications. While Apple made it known that the demo would give details about the next OS X release, and it was widely rumored that we’d see an updated MacBook Air, the iLife ’11 announcement was the surprise of the day.
The suite includes updated versions of iMovie, iPhoto, and GarageBand. Buyers will also get iWeb and iDVD, which, apparently, weren’t updated.
While iMovie is a home movie tool, it’s widely used by small businesses just getting started with online video. It’s easy to use and it’s cheaper than the competition. With this release, Apple delivers one of the most requested features for people who want more control over their results: audio editing. When Apple radically changed the look and function of iMovie two generations ago, it stripped away much of the program’s fine-grained control. With iMovie ’11, movie makers can again get detailed control over their audio waveforms, and also add fades. Apple has added audio filters to give a new or bizarre spin to a section. A new single-row view is welcome, as it makes previewing and editing a movie easier.
New one-step effects let you speed up or slow down sections, or add jump cuts timed to the beat. The application includes 12 effects. You can also give your work a more professional look with new sports and news themes.
The big eye-candy feature of iMovie ’11 is the ability to make movie trailers from longer works, trailers that have all the pacing, style, and hokiness of a Hollywood trailer. While it’s impressive to watch—the program’s new people-finder can tell which sections have faces in them—it’s hard to imagine it being used that much. Buyers will get 15 trailer templates.
When you’re done with your creation, iMovie lets you export it to Facebook, Vimeo, or CNN iReport. You can also export to your Apple portable or Apple TV.
With this release, iMovie becomes a lot more usable to those who need a professional look to their videos. While it’s meant for the home crowd, plenty of small businesses will like it, too.