For Robert Cohen, the emergence of digital video has been a godsend. A software designer by day, Cohen enjoys making movies in his spare time–and digital video has made his hobby a whole lot easier.
“Years ago I used to work with film, and I found that it got very cumbersome to shoot blind, develop the film, then edit manually,” the 53-year-old resident of Portland, Oregon, says. “Now I can mix production and postproduction, changing the shooting halfway through if the editing or composition gives me a better idea.”
The one drawback for Cohen? Powerful but affordable editing programs have been hard to come by. “Moviemaking is a hobby for me, and not something I can afford to pay the price for Final Cut or a similar application to do,” he says.
But now Cohen has joined many other Mac users in taking advantage of Apple’s (800/692-7753, www .apple .com) decision to release its iMovie video-editing software as a free download. More than 150,000 people downloaded iMovie the first week it was available.
Rated R for Restricted
iMovie, which promises video assembly easy enough for everyday users, originally came bundled with the iMac DV. That left Power Mac and PowerBook owners with few video-editing options outside of low-end programs such as Strata’s $249 VideoShop or high-priced packages like Apple’s $999 Final Cut Pro.
Digital video has gained greater attention from Apple in recent months (see “Is Apple Going Hollywood?” News, July 2000). The company believes that desktop video will prove every bit as important to its fortunes as desktop publishing was more than a decade ago. “iMovie has taken that sphere of what you can use your computer for and blown it up to include more,” says Jon Bass, group product manager of video applications for Apple.
Apple says the iMovie download will work on any Power Mac G4 or PowerBook with built-in FireWire, QuickTime 4.1, and Mac OS 9.0.4. But what Apple says its software requires and what that software will actually run on are not always the same thing.
G3 or Not G3?
Indeed, Mac users on troubleshooting Web sites such as Macfixit .com and Macintouch .com have reported some success in getting iMovie up and running on both beige and blue-and-white G3s using operating systems as old as OS 8.5. “There are no technical reasons why users of G3s wouldn’t be completely happy with iMovie,” Bass says.
A few have even managed to install and run iMovie on pre-G3 Macs with upgraded G3 processors and FireWire PCI cards. That doesn’t guarantee iMovie will work on older Macs. Some users who’ve ignored Apple’s system requirements report problems with speed and stability. Still, giving the software a try could be worthwhile if you’re an amateur director eager to make your first DV masterpiece. Best of all, you won’t have to risk a dime on untested software.