Apple iMovie for iPad, iPhone v2 review

When Apple introduced iMovie for iPhone back in June 2010, it ushered in a quiet revolution: never before had there been a device with which you could shoot video, edit your footage and upload it wherever you happened to be. The App Store had nothing like it and although it was lacking many features - calling it bare-bones wouldn’t even do it justice - it was easy to use and elegant enough for those downsides to not matter too much.

Over the years, the app has received a number of modest updates, and despite the emergence of numerous competitors, none of them have been able to match iMovie in terms of its elegance and ease of use, but in terms of features, many put it to shame. Read more Apple iOS app reviews.

You can slow down or speed up playback but any exported clip will play at its regular speed.

So it was with great anticipation that Apple released version 2.0 of iMovie for iOS. What features would it be bringing to the table?

For one thing, gone is the old cinema front with its flickering lights; the app has been streamlined for iOS7 and in fact requires that version of the operating system to run. It’s divided into three sections, Video, Projects and Theatre, which we’ll look at in turn.

Put simply, Video displays all the clips stored on your iOS device. You can preview them from here, select a portion of it if you wish, and share it directly to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, CNN iReport or even by email - no editing required.

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When selecting a clip, you can choose the type of overlay you’d like to apply to it: full sized, picture-in-picture, or side by side.

But of course, a video editing app wouldn’t be worthy of the name if you couldn't build a film out of the clips in your possession. This is where Projects come in. Everything’s changed and you’ll find you have many more options at your disposal. For instance, when you select a clip from your library, all you could do was trim it, play it back and add it to your project. Now, you’ve also got three overlay options as well as the ability to only include the clip’s audio, leaving the video part behind.

The types of editing you can perform are more complex. For instance, you can now detach the audio from your video, enabling you to create split edits (where the video and audio are cut in different places). Despite the fact that they’re detached, they still remain linked when you drag the video part of your clip.

Although you can still cut a clip by swiping down over it at the playhead’s location, you now have a series of audio and video tools at the bottom of the screen to make it clear what you can do with your selected footage, and the split function is right there, along with freeze, to create a still image of the frame the playhead’s over, and duplicate. Speed should just be called Slow Motion, because you can’t speed up your clip, only slow it down by up to a quarter of its original speed. Your titling options are more varied with a series of pleasant animations, and even the theme’s own titles have been redesigned. But you still can’t change your font, size, colour or even its placement on the screen. Since every single text choice is white, with no drop shadow to make it stand out, it can sometime be hard to read if the clip your text is over has many bright and vivid colours.

You can slow down your clip to one quarter its normal speed to savour those dramatic moments.

The audio tools are quite anaemic: you can merely alter its volume or detach it from the video clip. However, once detached, more possibilities open up: you can alter its speed, slowing it down to a quarter just like the video clips, or speeding it up to twice its usual duration; you can apply fades on either end of it; split and trim it and turn it into a background audio - which means it starts at the beginning of your clip and lasts for the entire length of your project - or as long as its duration will allow. Consequently, it’s therefore possible to move a background score, like a theme’s music or a song from your iTunes library, into the foreground, so you’re no longer forced to start your film with music, but it can come in later. You can also lower the volume in certain places by splitting the music and applying fades at the edit points for instance.

The aforementioned overlays are a nice addition: you can add a picture in picture which you can resize and reposition anywhere on the screen, create a split screen effect, or simply have a full screen clip on top of another, thereby allowing you to work with two layers of video.

Now that you can detach the audio from a video clip, you can perform complex split edits with ease.

Movie trailers, where iMovie does most of the heavy lifting for you are of course still available, and now you have two new themes to play with: Family and Indie, bringing the total to twelve.

Theatre is a very clever addition: once your movie is done, you can export it to that section and not only will it be safely stored on your device, but it’ll also sync to your other compatible devices via iCloud.

Any song you add no longer has to start at the beginning of your project, and you can also split it and fade sections at will.

OUR VERDICT

If you already own the previous version of iMovie for iOS, this update is free, and considering all the new functionality, upgrading should be a no brainer. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, but for three pounds, you have an incredibly capable editing studio in the palm of your hands, and at that price, what’s not to like?

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