iMovie '08

Apple released iLife '08 recently. It's been broadly well received, with the very notable and vociferous exception of iMovie '08 which has suffered from the severe disapprobation of the commentariat (thanks to Alastair Campbell for that term, by the way). iMovie power users everywhere are up in arms about all the stuff that is missing or different, compared with iMovie '06, the previous version.

You see, the thing is this. Apple ditched the whole way of thinking and working that underpinned the previous version. Someone at Apple decided, correctly in my opinion, that iMovie '06 was too hard to use for your average non-technical user. They decided to change the direction of iMovie to cater for this kind of user - which arguably is who the iLife apps should be targeted at.

Apple's aim, therefore, was to make it very quick and easy to import a movie from your camera and edit it. Having done this, it they wanted it to be very easy to publish the movie so that people can watch it. With the exception of publishing to iDVD, they succeeded very well at satisfying those requirements. It's to their credit that they simplified, rather than just adding bloat. There's more than enough bloat already in the world of software.

I expect things like iDVD publishing to be added incrementally over time, as non chargeable updates to iMovie '08. I don't expect to see timelines, timecode, audio track editing and other complicated stuff coming back. The problem with iMovie '06 was that it was neither a consumer app, nor a prosumer one. It was too hard for consumers to use, and too limited for the prosumers.

For the machinima that I've been involved with, I used (read: battled) iMovie '06 for a while, but subsequently upgraded to Final Cut Express, and have never looked back. Now, with this upgrade, I can finally use iMovie - in fact I have. I have published two videos of my family to the .Mac web gallery, in order to share them with family members.

Here's a list of things that took me longer than editing either of these movies:

  1. Picking the musical accompaniment to the videos;

  2. Uploading the videos to .Mac;

  3. Cooking tea for two tonight;

  4. Writing this blog entry;

  5. Watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on More 4 tonight.

Viva iMovie '08!

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