ArcSoft’s VideoImpression 2.0 is an iMovie-like video-editing application that also can create slideshows from your digital photographs. The program, which typically ships with consumer-level digital photo and video cameras, was originally created for Windows and ported to the Mac. Unfortunately, there’s little reason to consider this program as an alternative to Apple’s stellar video-editing application, iMovie ( April 2005 ).
VideoImpression 2.0 has a unique interface in which six tabs guide you step-by-step through the process of creating your movie. The first tab lets you import and organize a variety of media types, including MP3 files, digital photos, and video. While the program easily imports these files when you select them from an Open dialog box, importing video from your camera is not quite as simple.
Unlike iMovie, which allows you to control your camera from within the program, VideoImpression requires you to start, stop, fast forward, and review your preimported video by using the camera’s controls. For example, to bring video from your digital video camera into a new VideoImpression project, you’ll need to cue the video that’s in the camera, start the camera, and then press the Record button on VideoImpression’s Media tab. Compared to iMovie, VideoImpression is downright kludgy.
While VideoImpression 2.0 allows you to import media and add transitions and text to your videos, the program’s video-editing capabilities are nearly non-existent.
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Once you’ve added your media and placed it in the sequence that you want it to appear in your final project, the program’s other five tabs let you edit your video, add effects, titles, and narration, and finally save your video. These features work well individually, and include several fun transitions and interesting text effects. The Produce tab even includes an option for outputting your video in a format suitable for an iPod with Video. But it can’t export your video to DVD format.
The Editing tab is very limited, and it is one of the program’s major shortcomings. There are very few options for copying, clipping, and cutting sections of video. Thus, you’ll need to import your video clips almost exactly the way you want them to appear in your final production.
ArcSoft says it has no plans to improve these issues for the Mac version of the software.
Macworld’s buying advice
In a pre-iLife-and-iMovie world, VideoImpression 2.0 would be a huge leap forward for home-video editing, but today, great home-video editing software for your Mac is old news. VideoImpression doesn’t even rise to the level of the original iMovie, which means that, even if your Mac is ancient, you probably already have a video-editing app that’s much better than VideoImpression 2.0.
[ Jeffery Battersby is a frequent contributor to Macworld.]