reports on what may be a first: A feature-length film edited entirely on an iMac using iMovie. It’s called “Tarnation,” and it’s described as a “hybrid documentary” created by Jonathan Caouette. “Tarnation” premieres this week at the well-known Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Caouette’s effort combined footage he’d shot on VHS and Super-8 with photos and audio tapes he’s created. The filmmaker said he spent a total of US$218.32 on videotape and materials to create his opus, which has already garnered the support of indie film darlings Gus Van Sant and John Cameron Mitchell, who have signed on as Tarnation’s executive producers.
Wired describes “Tarnation” as an autobiographical work that explores Caouette’s own life as the victim of abuse and the child of a parent suffering from acute mental illness.
Caouette said that he was urged to use Final Cut Pro, but found iMovie easy to use. Caouette’s efforts — and his use of resources — are lauded by Van Sant, whose own resume includes directing “Drugstore Cowboy,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Finding Forrester” and more than a dozen other major feature films.
Apple uses a three-tiered approach in its video editing strategy: iMovie is for home users and consumers looking to stitch together amateur footage of birthday parties, vacations and weddings. Final Cut Express is for prosumers and students looking to build their professional chops, before finally migrating to Final Cut Pro, the professional’s video and film editing tool.
And Apple has made big strides recently in the professional space with Final Cut Pro: The software has been used to edit television shows like the sitcom “Scrubs” and feature-length movies including the recent Jude Law/Nicole Kidman vehicle “Cold Mountain.”
Up until now, though, iMovie — included as part of Apple’s iLife 04 application suite and installed on all shipping Macs — has a reputation that’s been strictly amateur. Caouette’s efforts would seem to throw Apple’s product strategy on its head. The use of iMovie to create “Tarnation” even provoked Van Sant to throw down the gauntlet to others thinking about making their own movies.
“No more excuses, or filmmakers’ block, or procrastination. Either they start shooting, or they are waiting for the vanity crew, or they aren’t filmmakers,” he said.