iMovie ’08 trepidations

John Gruber writes:

I totally believe Jobs’s story that it’s a complete re-write. The old iMovie was a good app, as a sort of stripped-down consumer-level Final Cut — but it still wasn’t any good for just putting clips together in a few minutes.

This makes very little sense to me. What about those of us who want to spend time working on their movies but who want to avoid Final Cut Pro/Express? Who expects to be able to do great things in just a couple of minutes?

When I make a movie, what I like to do is pick out a soundtrack, and then layout the clips in time with the music. I also like to adjust the volume curves to have different sounds fade in and out as appropriate. In the iMovie ’08 tutorials I’ve seen, you don’t get a timeline anymore. You get a box. You don’t get an audio waveform anymore. You get a shade of green in the box background.

I’m still going to buy iLife ’08, in the hopes that these features are still enabled somewhere. But I’m going to hide my iMovie ’06 application where it can’t be deleted in case it sucks.

The irony is that I was just telling a co-worker how iMovie is my favorite piece of software, of all time. The explorability of the software, with its undo-everywhere, was key. I still believe that unless you’re working with two video cameras, iMovie will serve most of your needs.

When I worked at an art school, I would teach students how to use iMovie, and I would always stress how important it was to experiment and that it didn’t matter if they made mistakes, because you could always undo. I’m sure undo is still a big part of the program. But getting rid of timelines seems too big a step away from traditional movie editing.

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