The Bottom Line
For the most part, Apple’s iMovie '11 is an easy-to-use video editor. It includes most of the video editing tools many Mac users will ever need, including themes, audio editing, special effects, titles, and music. iMovie '11 doesn’t look all that different than the previous version, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for any upgrade.
Appearances to the contrary, iMovie '11 offers new or improved features that make video editing a fun, relatively stress-free, and satisfying process; no experience necessary.
- Easy to use, even for video editing novices.
- New feature lets you create movie-style trailers, such as blockbuster or film noir.
- Enhanced audio editing tools, including a volume leveler.
- New sports and news themes.
- New support for sharing your videos via Vimeo and CNN iReport.
- Selecting portions of a video clip is a little tricky until you get the hang of it.
- Built-in help files aren't installed by default.
- Requires OS X 10.6.6 or later
- $14.99 via the Mac App Store
- $49.00 as part of the iLife '11 software suite
- AVCHD video from supported video cameras requires a Mac with an Intel Core Duo processor or better.
Guide Review - Review of iMovie '11 - Apple’s Consumer-Oriented Video Editor
If you're like many people, you avoid tackling any video editing projects, because you think the software is too difficult to use, or too expensive. (Or both.) iMovie '11 quickly and easily overcomes both of those arguments, so you'll have to come up with a better one. Before you know it, you'll be using iMovie to whip your home movies into shape, as well as add audio, titles, and special effects. With the addition of inexpensive hardware, you can also use iMovie to convert a closetful of VHS tapes to DVD, although be warned that if you're going to view them on an HDTV, you'll have to be a little forgiving about quality.
The trickiest part of using iMovie is selecting the video clips you want incorporate into a project. And by 'selecting,' we don't mean choosing which of the many possibilities to use and which to discard, but the actual physical process of selecting clips. It can be a bit tricky to select the first and last frame of a video clip without selecting a little too much or not quite enough. Once you get the hang of that, though, the hard part's done.
Importing and Editing Movies With iMovie '11
The bottom half of the main iMovie workspace is devoted to Events, which is what iMovie calls the video source material. The top half of the workspace is devote to Projects, which are what you do with the source material.
The first part of the video editing process is to create a new project, name it, and select a theme (if any) and other parameters. Next, you import the video you want to use. iMovie is a non-destructive video editor, which means you can experiment without losing the original video. It can import still images and video footage from digital cameras and camcorders, as well as from other sources. When you import a video clip, you give it a name to identify it, such as Yosemite Trip 2010. The contents of the video will display as a series of frames in the Events area; its name will appear in the Events Library. You can add the entire video clip to a project, or just a frame range (selected parts of the video clip).
Once you've assembled the video pieces that you want to use, you can enhance your project with a theme (if desired), background music from your iTunes library, photos from your iPhoto library, onscreen titles, and transitions between clips.
Finally, you can burn your movie project to a DVD, publish it to your MobileMe account, or share it online, via YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, or CNN iReport.
New or improved features include the ability to create movie trailers based on popular genres; new themes, including news and sports, which should prove especially popular with parents of future baseball, tennis, or football stars; and enhanced audio editing tools. You can even adjust the volume levels in a video clip, so that one type of noise (such as background music or a loud talker) doesn't drown out another. Perhaps Hollywood should consider using iMovie '11 for future productions.