It is absolutely shocking how much of an improvement iMovie 4 is over iMovie 3.
I know, it's old news that iMovie 3 was a major disappointment. Even on my dual-2GHz G5 (why not start out a weblog item with a bit of bragging?) it was unforgivably slow. Press the spacebar and then wait, wait, wait until finally your video started playing. It was so bad that I decamped for Final Cut land.
But today I've been spending some quality time with iMovie 4, part of Apple's new iLife '04 suite, and I've been really impressed. Press the spacebar, and the movies play instantaneously. Rendering of effects and titles is much faster.
(By the way, my favorite little addition to iMovie is probably the Scroll to Playhead command. No longer must I desperately slide through my clip viewer trying to find the clip containing the current playhead. I've mapped it to a button on my trackball. Big, big time-saver. Now someone just needs to come up with a fresh settings module for the ShuttlePro or ShuttleXpress and I'll be in hog heaven!)
And I've got to say that as much as I enjoyed using Final Cut Pro and Express, I actually think I prefer trimming down video in iMovie. It just seems faster to me, for whatever reason. It works the way I work. Final Cut's got some amazing features, for sure -- the color-correction plug-in alone is practically worth upgrading for.
But iMovie is back, and it's about damned time.