Slick 5 and 6
The Slick series of iMovie plug-ins has been around for almost as long as iMovie itself. Publisher Gee Three has now extended its Slick range, adding a fifth and sixth collection of titles, transitions and special effects.
I’ve been using the Slick plug-ins for ages, and have always found that the area in which they’re strongest is titles. Titling has always been iMovie’s most pronounced limitation – an area that marks it out as a consumer product. iMovie’s built-in titling capabilities remain wanting, with frustrating limitations on text manipulation and placement.
Slick 5 carries on the Slick titles-enhancing tradition, offering a colossal 70 title effects. Allied to the effects that came with Slick 3, this will take your iMovie titling about as far as you can without buying a higher-end product such as Apple’s Final Cut Express.
Among Slick 5’s most impressive title effects are Stencil, for masking-off titles against footage; Flow, a serene effect ideal for wedding movies; and Place Text, and invaluable tool for click-&-dragging text, giving iDVD-like text-placement functionality.
Slick’s titles have been developed in conjunction with Wildform, a leading developer of Flash-based products, and the quality shows.
If you’re from the less-is-more school of movie making then Slick 6 will have little to offer. By far its most powerful tool is Color Correction. This provides Photoshop-style controls over white- and black-points. Such adjustments can rescue under- or over-exposed footage in a non-destructive way, unlike tweaking brightness and contrast. Color Correction also allows editing of the RGB channels in shadows, midtones and highlights – another potent way of bolstering ill-lit movies.
Slick 6’s 10 other effects – including Video Wall, Film Reel and Spotlight – offer the kind of effect that I believe screams “amateur”. I feel the same about transitions. (I’ve only ever used one – cross-dissolve. In all other instances I jump-cut between shots.)
Those producing promotional movies, though, may welcome Slick 6’s ability to keyframe areas of film (HiLite) and add graphics (VidMotion).
Slick 5 offers a cornucopia of titles effects that most keen iMovie-makers will welcome. More than any of the gimmicky transitions and effects that come with both Slick 5 and 6, these titles will help your movies take on a more professional look. But what do I know? Maybe you love gimmicky, fun effects, and have no pretensions of being Martin Scorcese – in which case you’ll love both 5 and 6.