iMovie 3 full review

When Steve Jobs introduced iLife at January’s Macworld Expo, Apple was doing more than just offering upgrades to several of its Digital Hub applications, it was creating a more tightly integrated package out of the four programs - iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto, and iTunes. So does Apple deliver what it promised with iLife? We’ve had our experts review the three new programs, as well as offer tips to help you make the most of iLife. iMovie 3
It’s been two years since Apple last revamped its easy-to-use video-editing application, and for most people it will definitely be worth the wait. Apple has given iMovie 3 a number of enhancements that are more than skin deep, and the program benefits immensely from integration with the rest of the iLife suite. iMovie 3 tips and tricks
Enjoy our tips on how to overcome the limitations of the Ken Burns Effect and how to use iMovie’s new audio tool. Controlling iMovie’s Ken Burns effect The Ken Burns Effect animates still images between the start and finish of a clip, but the image is in constant motion. Often this is all you need, but sometimes you don’t want the image to begin moving immediately at the cut, or you want to hold on an image after the animation is done. Indeed, in many of Ken Burns’ own documentaries a pan or zoom will stop on an image to accent its importance. To hold on an image before the animation starts, or when a move ends, you’ll actually need to treat the animation and the still images separately. First, apply the Ken Burns Effect to an image and add it to the timeline. At this point, you have a clip with different pan-&-zoom positions for the beginning and the end. If you want to have the animation start on a still image, position your playhead at the start of the animated clip. Choose Create Still Image (Shift-c-S). This creates a still image in the clip browser. Insert the still image ahead of the animated clip, and choose the amount of time you wish the still image to linger. If you want to end the animation with a still frame, choose the animated clip in the sequence and place the playhead at the tail of the clip. Again, create a still image and drag the new still from the Clip Browser to your timeline after the animated clip. Volume vs volume When iMovie is in Timeline mode, you’ll see two volume sliders – one above the timeline and one underneath. Although they look identical, they actually do very different things. The slider above the timeline is a permanent fixture in iMovie that controls the computer playback volume. The second volume slider appears only in the Timeline window – it is the clip volume control. To active the slider click the Edit Volume button. To adjust the audio of a clip, simply click the section of the clip in the timeline you want to adjust and either drag the maker (also known as a keyframe) up or down or move the slider. With this knowledge you can reduce the volume of background music – handy when you want to hear someone speaking in your movie, for example. There is no limit to the level adjustments you can make here. Anton Linecker From the outset, iMovie 3 sports a more refined, yet still familiar interface. Instead of taking over an entire screen, the application’s contents are inside a single resizable window - especially good news for users with large monitors who want access to the rest of their screen space. The iMovie Monitor, Clips Pane, Clips Viewer and Timeline Window remain in the same relative positions. Working within the Clips Viewer is similar to before. However, when you drag a piece of video from the Clip Pane into the sequence, the other clips now fluidly make room for the newcomer. The difference is more profound in the Timeline view, where a new option called Edit Volume lets you visually adjust volume throughout a clip to create audio fade-in and -out, cut unwelcome noise, and boost a weak voice when needed - a very useful feature. Integration
Expanded in iMovie 3 is the iMedia Browser, and it is here that iMovie and the rest of the iLife apps interact. iPhoto The new Photos button displays the contents of an iPhoto 2 Library. You can simply grab photos from the library and slide them into the timeline or can animate them with the new Ken Burns Effect rostrum-typetool. Named after the documentary filmmaker behind "Jazz", "Baseball", and "The Civil War", the Ken Burns Effect is a powerful tool that can zoom and pan across still images. To use it, you establish the position and size of the image at the start of the clip, and then set the position and the size for the end - iMovie animates the in-between movement. Unfortunately, iMovie automatically applies the same settings to all subsequent still images that you want to add to the sequence, which is unhelpful because it is rare that you’d ever want to animate two images in exactly the same way. It would be more logical - and reduce mouse-clicks - if iMovie’s default photo treatment was always a standard still image. To make matters worse, it’s not that simple to turn the Ken Burns Effect off. There isn’t a reset button for the effect. To turn it off, you need to load the clip into the Ken Burns Effect work window, and set the Start and Finish to a Zoom value of 1.00. iTunes The next button in the iMedia browser is Audio. This pane gives you access to an entire iTunes library and an expanded set of sound effects. While this is a helpful element, the interface is clunky - there’s only a Play button to preview the music and sound. This forces you to preview the audio clips in real-time from the start, which can be very annoying with long clips. iDVD In iMovie 3’s iDVD pane, you can set chapter marks at logical breaks in a project, which will give viewers the option of skipping ahead to particular scenes while they’re watching a movie on a DVD created in iDVD 3. To create a chapter mark, place the playhead on the timeline, click Add Chapter in the iDVD Pane, and name the chapter. When you’re finished editing a project, you can transfer it to iDVD just by choosing Create iDVD project - there’s no longer any need to perform a lengthy QuickTime export of a movie, and the transfer to iDVD 3 takes only a few moments. Welcome changes Beyond the marquee features, there are a few other new touches that make iMovie 3 even more of an impressive update. Special effects iMovie 3 includes an expanded set of video effects, with filters like Aged Film, Fairy Dust, Ghost Trails and Earthquake. These filters take iMovie one step closer to its more-professional counterparts. The Title tool has similarly been updated with additional settings. Video import Click on the Clips button and you’ll see the familiar Clips Pane, where recorded video elements are catalogued and stored. But now you can import all sorts of different clips into the pane, instead of just footage from a DV camcorder. iMovie 3 can now import any QuickTime movies - providing that the resulting clip is less than nine minutes long. You can drag them into the Clips Pane or choose Import from the File menu. Either way, it means you can easily get DV clips captured by Final Cut Pro or AVI movies taken by a digital camera into iMovie. iTunes tips and tricks
Apple's iTunes music application wears a variety of hats - audio CD player, MP3 ripper, music librarian, audio CD burner, Internet radio player, and gateway to the iPod - and these tips will show you how to make the most of iTunes' many capabilities. Add remote tunes to iTunes To play songs on other computers through iTunes, simply create a network, mount a networked volume that contains songs you'd like to play, and invoke the Add to Library command found in iTunes' File menu. Navigate to the folder that contains the tunes on the networked volume and click the Choose button in the Add to Library window. Aliases to those files will be placed in your iTunes Library (the files themselves will be copied to a Mac if you have the Copy Files to iTunes Music Folder When Adding to Library option checked in the Advanced portion of iTunes' Preferences window - allowing you to delete any MP3s outside the folder). MP3 to go If your hard drive is too full to accommodate an entire music collection, don't despair. In iTunes rip as many audio CDs as your hard drive will hold, create a new playlist made up of the tracks you just converted to MP3 format, and add approximately 10 hours of music to that playlist. In Mac OS X select Preferences from iTunes' File menu (Preferences is in the Edit menu under OS 9), click the Burning button, and select MP3 CD. With your playlist selected, click the Burn CD button to burn an MP3 CD that contains all the songs in the playlist. This CD will hold up to 10 hours of MP3 files encoded at 160kbps (iTunes' default encoding rate). When you next want to listen to that 10 hours of music in iTunes, simply insert the MP3 CD you created, select it in iTunes' Source list, and press Play. Smarter Playlist You'll find that you can create more-flexible Smart Playlists by putting the Comment field of an ID3 tag to good use. For example, click on a tune, press c-I, click the Tags tab in the resulting Song Information window, and enter comments such as "Sunday Morning Music" or "Romantic Rumbas" in the Comments field. Then create a smart playlist using Comments as a filter. Gently down the stream Care to add streaming radio stations to iTunes? Go to and click the Tune In button next to a station that interests you. The station will begin streaming in iTunes. Create a new playlist and call it My Radio. Click the Library entry in iTunes' Source list, locate the currently playing stream (it should be at the top of the list), and drag it to the My Radio playlist. Continue adding stations in this fashion. When you next want to tune in one of these stations, click on the My Radio playlist and double-click the station you want to listen to. Batch edit An often-overlooked feature of iTunes is the ability to edit the ID3 tags of multiple files at one go - useful when you want to assign a single genre to a batch of songs, for example. One way to batch-edit your songs is to select multiple songs in iTunes main window, press c-I, and make adjustments in the resulting Multiple Song Information window. Alternatively, you can select Show Browser from iTunes' Edit menu, select an album or artist, and press c-I to produce the Multiple Song Information window for that album or artist. Christopher Breen
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