iMovie ’08: the reviewing

I’m just staring at iMovie ’08 and I gotta say, the interface is a mess. You’ve got this one button that reorders arrangement of the panes in the window. The animation is nice, but is that option really needed? I don’t see a way to hide the library even though it takes up have the window.

Likes

  1. The scrubbing is pretty nice
  2. I like the idea of having a cross-project video clip library

Dislikes

  1. The timeline is missing, as feared
  2. You can’t extract the audio from a video clip anymore
  3. It doesn’t scan iTunes for video clips
  4. clip selection is a little weird

The Programmer’s Perspective
iMovie has been around for a while. It used to run on OS 9. I’m sure it was getting pretty crufty, internally. It probably needed a rewrite and I’m sure the programmers were excited.

I’m not sure why the timeline was cut. It was possible to completely avoid the timeline in the old iMovie. Timelines are a major feature and should be planned into the UI from the start, but if the new iMovie was written with an eye to the Model-View-Controller pattern, and it was just rewritten from scratch, so it should have been, it shouldn’t be difficult to add another view of the underlying data.

I think that a lot of the people who don’t care about the killing of iMovie just don’t care about movie making. I’m not sure what their favorite programs are, but I can guess that someone like John Gruber would complain if Apple removed the Kern and Ligature items from the Text menu, confusing as those features are. Apple doesn’t make great software because they dumb it down. They make great software because they figure out the best way to expose features.

I also think that the “let them use Final Cut Pro/Express/iMovie ’06” sentiment is bullshit. Final Cut has a completely different UI. I should know; I own it. iMovie ’06 is a great program, but I don’t think it’s wrong of me to want to see it continue to be updated. The scrubbing in the new iMovie ’08 is great. I’d love to see that added.

Also, I don’t think that Apple is providing iMovie ’06 out of consideration to those of us affected by the change in workflow. It’s doing it because the new iMovie ’08 won’t run on Macs that are only 1.5 years old.

So in summation:
iMovie ’08 is great if all you want to do is produce the moral equivelent of this clip:

Yeah. Have fun with that. Actually, you can’t even do that because the song is timed to start when the goalie throws the first punch.

People who care about timing and soundtracks and generally have taste about these things, well, we’re screwed.

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