iMovie is Apple s consumer-level video editing application that comes preinstalled on every new Macintosh computer. If you have a Mac that doesn t have iMovie preinstalled, you can pick it up from the Mac App Store for just $15. Don t let the price point deceive you - iMovie is a powerful video editing application that will satisfy the needs of the vast majority of its users.

Like all applications developed by Apple, iMovie is a meticulously crafted experience. As such, it is accessible, user-friendly and well coded. It should be noted that iMovie is not intended for professional editors. Apple designed this video editing program specifically for amateur users. By and large, Apple succeeded in making iMovie accessible to everyone. Even those who have never edited a video before should have no problem using this movie-making software.

Previous versions of iMovie have used the traditional timeline workflow for video editing. This iteration of the software employs the easier-to-use storyboard workflow. The difference is that clips and other elements are given equal representation in the workspace rather than arranging them by their run time. The storyboard approach makes it easier to identify all the elements in your project. The trade-off is that the storyboard is not capable of making some of the fine-tuned edits that some more advanced users may want. To combat this problem, Apple introduced the Precision Editor to the storyboard mode. This goes a long way to getting your clips cut exactly the way you want them, but never fully overcomes the drawbacks that come with storyboard editing.

iMovie also comes with an audio editor, but it is very basic. You re limited to simple enhancements like adding effects, ducking, adjusting the volume of clips and adding fades. It also has a basic audio equalizer that has some nice presets and the ability to adjust levels manually. Probably the best feature in the audio editor is the Normalize Clip Volume button. This allows users to set the volume to an ideal level with one click, thus saving the eardrums of future audiences. These options should suffice for most video projects edited in iMovie.

Another feature that Apple users will enjoy in iMovie is the integration with iPhoto and iTunes. This is really handy because it provides access to your music and photo libraries without having to import all the individual files; this is a benefit of living in the Apple ecosystem.

Titles and transitions are relatively simple to use. Unfortunately, iMovie s library of these features is limited to the most commonly used titles and transitions. However, since the vast majority of iMovie users wouldn t utilize a more comprehensive library, this seems like the right move.

The export options in iMovie are quite simple as well. You can create a stand-alone file (iMovie only exports files in the .MOV format), or upload it right to YouTube. iMovie doesn t have an option to burn your video to a disc; you ll have to purchase a separate application for that.

Summary

In the final analysis, iMovie is great for nearly all amateur video editing projects. It has all the necessary tools you need to make a great home movie. The tools and features are basic but very easy to use. Before you spend your hard-earned cash on a more expensive video editing application, fire up iMovie and see if it meets your needs. It's most likely already installed on the Mac you re using right now.

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