iMovie ’08 was much criticised for cutting out features from the previous version of the program – iMovie HD 6 – for no apparent reason; a move receiving a worse reception than a lazy analogy! Apple later conceded to its customers by offering up that preceding version as a free download to iLife ’08 owners, but such a move won’t be necessary this release, because most of the missing functionality has been added back into the program.
Going up against its Windows equivalent, Windows Movie Maker, iMovie doesn’t really need to do much to impress, but it does nonetheless. Some of the features are just a tad gimmicky – Travel Maps being a notable example – but for those wanting their home videos to look slicker than is generally possible straight out of camera, it’s hard to match.
One particularly useful function is video stabilisation, which does exactly what you’d expect, searching through videos to remove camera shake when detected. I can see that being of particular use with wedding or birthday footage; especially for the over 18s on the latter occasion.
Travel Maps while, as I mentioned, a bit gimmicky are still quite funky. If you happen to be filming a travel documentary, or are perhaps collating video footage from a cruise, then you can have transitions between locations animated A to B on a globe or map view. Why leave the clichéd transition effects to Hollywood?
Drag and drop editing is enhanced by the addition of some advanced editing functions, such as picture-in-picture video and a green screen effect – the latter offing a few bundled backgrounds. A slew of video (slow motion, film grain and black and white) and transition (fades, dissolves and rotations) effects are also available. The precision editor allows clip transitions to be refined in a zoomed-in view, showing the transition points between clips making for easy adjustments of overlap points.
For those not bothered about dealing with the intricacies of editing together a video, an array of dynamic themes will be of use. Depending on the theme chosen, clips will be joined, transitioned and even given credits intervention free. There’s an option to edit to music too, with transitions matching songs’ beats.