The New York Times’ Pogue on iMovie ’08: What was Apple thinking?

“Last week, Apple released a new version of its iLife suite — its $80 package containing iPhoto, iMovie, iWeb and GarageBand. The suite also comes preinstalled on every new Mac,” David Pogue reports for The New York Times.

“The enhancements in iPhone, iWeb and GarageBand are great. But iMovie ’08 is an utter bafflement,” Pogue reports. “To rephrase (and sanitize) the wailing on the discussion boards: What the [bleep]! What was Apple thinking?”

“The new iMovie, for example, is probably the only video-editing program on the market with no timeline—no horizontal, scrolling strip that displays your clips laid end to end, with their lengths representing their durations. You have no indication of how many minutes into your movie you are,” Pogue reports.

“All the old audio effects are gone, too. No pitch changing, high-pass and low-pass filters, or reverb… Bookmarks are gone. ‘Themes’ are gone. You can no longer export only part of a movie. All visual effects are gone—even basic options like slow motion, reverse motion, fast motion, and black-and-white.The new iMovie doesn’t accept plug-ins, either. For years, I’ve relied on’s iMovie plug-ins to achieve effects like picture-in-picture, bluescreen and subtitles. That’s all over now,” Pogue reports.

“To be sure, the new version has some cool features. You can send a completed video to YouTube with one menu command; the color-correction and frame-cropping tools are unprecedented in a consumer program; and you can really, truly delete unwanted pieces of your clips, thus reclaiming hard drive space,” Pogue reports.

“It’s also worth pointing out that iMovie ’08 creates titles, crossfades and color adjustments instantly. There’s no ‘rendering’ time, as there is in Final Cut or the old iMovie. So you gain an exhilarating freedom to play, to fiddle with the timing and placement of things,” Pogue reports.

“I’ve used the real iMovie to edit my Times videos for three years now. The results are perfectly convincing as professional video blog work. But the new version is totally unusable for that purpose. It’s unusable, in fact, for anyone doing professional work that requires any degree of precision,” Pogue reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iMovie shouldn’t be about doing any level of “professional” work. Apple had pushed iMovie way, way too far ahead of its original intent. Let’s face facts: iMovie is part of a US$79 suite of five products (also includes iPhoto, GarageBand, iWeb, and iDVD). For one-fifth of $79, or $15.80, you shouldn’t be able to edit feature films on it (which people were), or Apple isn’t doing a very good job of running their business of differentiating and selling software.

iMovie ’08 lets consumers quickly edit clips to create good-looking movies. If you want more, then you want Apple’s Final Cut Express HD or Final Cut Pro 6 (included in Final Cut Studio 2). If you loved iMovie before (as former professional Avid and Final Cut Pro editors, we didn’t – iMovie 08 is much better for beginning editors), Apple has offered iMovie HD 6 for free to iLife ‘08 owners, while they reel iMovie back in and reposition it correctly.

This isn’t about some nameless “genius Apple engineer” who wanted to edit his vacation videos, this is about what Apple should be offering for $15.80 and how they can make editing as easily-accessible as possible for consumers.

Things to keep in mind before screaming about iMovie ’08:
• You paid $15.80 for it
• You got pretty advanced features for many years
• iMovie is supposed to be entry-level and very easy-to-use
• Different does not mean worse and change can be for the better
• Apple will add features to the new iMovie
• iMovie ’08 is pretty amazing, if you approach it without previous iMovie baggage.
• Paradigm shifts often face vehement resistance.
• Apple is offering iMovie HD 6 for free to iLife ‘08 owners (you’ve lost nothing, only gained another new way of editing video)
• Apple is a business, not a provider of basically free editing tools for professionals

iMovie users, Filmmakers and NY Times video bloggers: Apple is ending your free ride so gently (by continuing your free ride, no less), that you ought to be making iMovies thanking them.

Apple’s iMovie ’08: Completely redesigned to help consumers make movies in minutes:


  1. MDN

    Your ‘take’ is totally hosed……

    Apple totally gutted iMovie – I do videos for my kid’s basketball and track teams – and school plays… I am NO WHERE near ‘professional’ work – just movies that look cool and give kids decent memories.

    I use video effects, transitions, and other things that iMovie HD provides but iMovie 08 does not.

    Get it straight – Apple hosed this one *BIG TIME*….

  2. MDN, i mostly agree with you, but….

    …having given us a product too advanced for what was intended, they can’t just pull the rug like that without some bitching.

    they should have made a product somewhere between ’08 and ’06. that would keep the majority happy. ’08 is a wonder of usability, but it is too lean on features people have come to depend on for their work.

  3. Come on, MDN, that’s ridiculous to defend Apple. Business 101 suggests a company not pull the rug out from under its users and forcefully “reposition” them to a more expensive, more complicated, product. They won’t do it. They’ll switch companies. Adobe must be so thrilled…

  4. I agree, I never used a video editing program and I picked up iMovie (pre-’08) and learned it quick and had gotten quicker and more proud of the videos I could make; the new iMovie has lost so many of the features I loved and yes, the timeline is very missed! I am a Mac Fan Boy but I must agree that the new iMovie isn’t better. I will probably say that maybe a beginner can use it easier – but the average Joe will probably get frustrated and give up before understanding it. I must say export to YouTube is cool!

  5. You know, MDN, I usually agree with your takes, but this sounds like you’re a crusty salesperson spinning a negative review. If iMovie was so far ahead or complicated, then Garageband should be gutted down to the same level. I now see iMovie as a giveaway, and the previous version now has to be purchased with Final Cut Express.

  6. MDN: Your take on this is absurd and reeks of fanboyism! The point of the article is to say that if iMovie ’08 is the “next generation” of the software then don’t arbitrarily just toss all the meaningful features out the window just because the app is re-written from the ground up. It’s ridiculous to think that Apple would do this but they did and now they’re suffering the backlash they should have expected.

    Does this “new” iMovie have it’s benefits? Certainly. But it should have those benefits PLUS and the features that made iMovie ’06 HD so spectacular.

    Lastly, don’t give us the line about “it’s only a $79 piece of software”. If that’s the case then everyone using iLife should live in fear b/c then Apple can just rewrite any piece of the software and use that STUPID excuse. What makes iLife so great is that Apple, in their infinite wisdom, make a suite of software so spectacular and offered it at a reasonable price that everyone can afford. That why we love Apple! This move with iMovie takes that love, knocks it down a peg, and starts to put them on part with Microsoft’s method of software development. It’s Shiite!

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