iMovie – Not Your Daddy’s Reeled Projector!

by Content Solutions on December 30, 2010

Remember the good old days of producing home movies? There was the honking huge video camera, the reels of film, and the clicking of the movie projector as the images flashed on the screen. That was all well and good for the parents of yesteryear, but with today’s technological devices video is easier than ever to acquire. Nowadays we need something flashier, something convenient, and something easy to use to make our lasting memories. Let me introduce you to iMovie, just one part of the iLife software suite.

iMovie is Apple’s solution for simple video editing on your mac. All you need to do is plug your camera into your computer and you’re ready to make your own movie. Didn’t take video, only still photos? That will work just fine, too. iMovie will take your stills and produce camera effects that make your images come to life.

Once you’ve got your video or images in the program, it’s a few simple steps to turn it into a production. Choosing one of the available themes will allow iMovie to insert in automatic transitions and effects. If you don’t like them, it’s simple to click and drag to change them. You can easily move segments of video around by clicking and dragging as well. Want to edit your footage? iMovie makes it easy to choose a section of the video you would like to use and it will only use that part. Add music and sound effects where you’d like, and “voila!” you’ve got a homemade movie ready for the doting grandparents.

One of the nice things about iMovie is that it lets you decide what format to produce your movie in. If you want to be able to view it on a mobile device, that’s a possibility. Sending it to all the family? iMovie will upload straight to a youtube channel. If you want to watch it on your home theater, then you can produce it in HD at 1280 X 720 pixels. Then there’s the fact that no matter what you’re working on, you’ll never lose it. iMovie automatically saves, so that no matter your recent changes they’re all there when you close and reopen the program.

The only shortcoming I’ve come across with iMovie is the limited number of themes. iMovie ’09 comes with six standard themes. They are versatile for many different productions, but as a designer it would be nice to be able to edit or create your own theme within the program. For a Christmas video, I ended up producing title slides in Keynote, and then importing them into iMovie, just so I could have a Christmas themed background for the movie. It would have been nice if I could have taken one of the standard themes and changed the background colors to make it more Christmas-like. There are sites out there where you can buy new iMovie themes, but they are not Apple certified, and most can cost you anywhere from $35 to $75 dollars.

Apple recently came out with the updated version of iMovie with iLife ’11. While I haven’t had the joy of playing with that toy yet, some of the new features include 2 new themes (for a total of 8), additional video effects, creating movie trailers, a people finder to help you create your cast and locate shots, and additional audio options for voice overs and sound effects. Take a look at all the new features.

Having a tool that allows easy video editing in this day and age is inspiring. No more hour long footage of little Ben trying to open his first birthday presents while cousin Janice whines in the background. That’s home movies of the past. Now with iMovie you can become the producer and director you’ve always wanted to be, allowing your handheld video camera, smart phone, or digital camera to capture those important moments that you can turn into exciting and entertaining productions for any audience.

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