The Bottom Line
If you're a Mac user, you have no reason not to try iMovie 09. It's either already on your computer, or it's cheap to buy.
It's not the world's best program, and picky video editors will definitely find things to gripe about. But for beginners looking for a powerful but simple way to get started editing video, it's great.
With all of its features for organizing media and adding effects, iMovie 09 will get you a long way in video editing. And when you outgrow it, you can always upgrade to Final Cut. Though, like me, you may find yourself returning to iMovie 09 now and then to do something quick and easy.
- Free with new Macs; low cost to purchase
- Excellent integration with other Mac programs
- Large library of digital effects, transitions, titles and templates
- Unusual interface that can be difficult to get used to
- Not well designed for precision editing
- iMovie 09 works with a wide variety of video formats, making it easy to save, organize and edit videos from any source.
- Digital templates and effects let you add various backgrounds to your movies, including green screen and picture in picture.
- Using keywords and "favorites" you can log your footage for easier editing.
- The storyboard editing layout makes it easy to drag and drop elements into your videos.
- For more detailed editing, iMovie 09 offers a timeline view. However, this program is not designed for precision editing.
- With the included video effects, you can change the color and appearance of your video footage.
- iMovie 09 makes it easy to export videos in variety of formats, including as Final Cut Pro XML files.
Guide Review - iMovie Offers a New Look at Editing
iMovie 09 offers a whole new way to look at media management. Unlike other free editing programs that are stripped-down imitations of higher-end software, iMovie 09 offers a completely new interface for interacting with media, editing movies and organizing memories.
I must mention here that while iMovie 09 resembles iMovie 08, it is vastly superior. If you hated on iMovie after that upgrade, give iMovie 09 a try and you may get back on board.
People who are used to nonlinear editing software may have a hard time getting used to iMovie 09, because the interface is so different from other editing software. But after spending a little while experimenting with the program, you should find it quite easy to use the basic features.
The program is offers a lot of features and capabilities, without being too complex for beginners to use. It's simple to add a green screen effect, picture in picture, music tracks or creative titles. Many graphic templates, special effects and transitions are included in iMovie 09, and you can purchase many more online as plug-ins.
While iMovie 09 makes it simple to create intricate videos, the program has a bit of a drag-and-drop feel. It's easy to add all kinds of combinations of video clips and crazy effects, but very difficult to edit them on a closer level. You can switch into a track-based editing timeline, but most editing is done in a very non-precise storyboard layout.
Luckily, iMovie 09 does let you export your projects as Final Cut XML files. Do this, and you can open up your video in Final Cut and do any kind of intricate editing you need.
In fact, it's because of this integration between the programs that I use iMovie at all. I really like some of the features that the program has for organizing footage and assigning keywords. For some projects, I actually find it simpler to quickly log footage and do a rough edit in iMovie 09, and then refine it in FCP.
Overall, if you're an editor looking for control and precision in your craft, you'll be frustrated by iMovie 09. But if you're a hobby videographer looking for an easy way to start editing, you'll have a lot of fun with it.