iMovie is growing up -- and I have to admit, version 2.0 is looking really good. Although it feels a bit awkward at times and its look is not quite pulled together, iMovie 2.0 shows lots of promise. iMovie has taken some tips from its older sibling, QuickTime Pro, and its features are moving in the right direction. It's also clear that iMovie developers are paying attention to what users want.
In this first look at iMovie 2.0, we'll touch on the changes and additions that we were most happy to see. Watch this space for more in-depth, How-to coverage of everything hot in iMovie 2.0.
A New Look
iMovie's changes pop out at you in living color. Lavender and blue Aqua-like screen components lend a snazzy, friendly new look. iMovie 2.0 gives us a hint of what's to come by employing new navigation components like sliders and buttons from Aqua (the new OS X user interface). And the best part is that long-awaited new functions have been woven into existing features without added clutter.
|iMovie interface: version 1 (left) and version 2 (right).|
The Clip Shelf
|Clip shelf in version 1 (left) and version 2 (right).|
iMovie provides the Clip Shelf to temporarily store clips that you have imported from your camera and plan to use in your iMovie. iMovie 2.0 leaps over the annoying 1.0 restriction that limited the Clip Shelf to the number of clips that your screen resolution could bear. On an iMac, that means 12 clips at a time, tops. The Shelf now expands as needed, limiting you only by the amount of hard-disk space you can spare.
Clip Info In addition to a new, brighter look, the clips hold the Clip Info window. Here, together for the first time, are the lovely and talented Clip and Media File names. At last, no more playing every clip in your Media folder to identify the one you want! Double-click on any clip to display the clip name, the (very handy) file name, file size, and the (previously hidden) duration of any Audio Fade In or Audio Fade Out.
The rising panel that used to take you to the Titles, Transitions, Effects, and Audio features has been condensed into to a single row of buttons that open feature areas with a lean and clean new look.
More on Titles and Transitions later -- for now, we'll cut to the most exciting stuff: the new video effects. The new effects look terrific and hauntingly familiar. Can you say "QuickTime Pro?"
|The Brightness and Contrast Effect At last there is some salvation for those of us with poorly lit footage. The Brightness/Contrast Effect (A) makes it easy to brighten and increase the contrast of a clip. Use the slider bars (B) sparingly to put the pop back into your flat, washed-out footage.|
|Before (left) and after (right) using the Brightness/Contrast effect.|
The newly named and greatly enhanced Timeline Viewer in iMovie 2.0 (below), formerly known as the Audio Viewer in version 1.0 (above).
As you can see, the Timeline Viewer is packed with new features. You can see proportionately sized thumbnails of your clips while you edit, and the new colors make your audio clips easier to identify. The Timeline Viewer also sports some of the most useful improvements in iMovie 2.0:
The Apple folks also improved the Playback Controls in Edit mode by adding a Home button that takes you quickly to the beginning of your movie, adding a Play Full Screen button to create a cinema-like experience, replacing the separate buttons that took you between Edit and Camera mode with a toggle at the bottom left, and replacing the much-maligned thumbwheel volume control on the right with an Aqua-like slider control.
Old iMovie playback controls (above) and the new 2.0 controls (below).
iMovie 1.0 users will have to adjust to the new Playback Controls but it's a new trick worth learning. In iMovie 2.0's Edit mode, the second button from the left is now the Home button. The second button from the right is now the Play Full Screen button.
This brings us to the end of our first look at iMovie 2.0, but there is so much more beneath the surface. Keep watching Macworld's iMovie section for the thrills, drills, and in-depth dirt of iMovie-making.
Jill Baird is an independent writer. She co-wrote My iMac , published by IDG Books. In previous lives she was a Web QA Engineer and Technical Writer for Intuit.