Apple’s iMovie ‘08: strengths and weaknesses

Tom over at The Small Wave has taken a detailed look at iMovie ’08 and listed what he sees as the application’s strengths and weaknesses:

• Only 12 titles and transitions. I suspect it made sense to concentrate on the engine, I think we’ll see more later.
• No effects. As with titles and transitions, I see these as something added pretty easily later.
• Audio adjustment is weak. You can duck and control volume but that’s about it. For all the great ease in placing multiple audio items, and the good control over where it starts and ends, you’d think there’d be a bit more control over its properties.

• Organizes video as easily as iPhoto does photos. By setting favorites and keywords, you can reject the rest so all your footage is not on your hard drive. I have already begun importing tapes from years ago and creating more highlight movies because it’s so easy to do. The prospect of this in another editor made me never even consider it.
• Skimming rocks. Period. This is not some sort of gimmick, it’s the real deal. I can’t imagine this not being useful sometimes even in a professional editor.
• Crop tool is great for photos and HD footage where you want to concentrate on a portion of the clip. A very advanced tool for consumer software.
• Adjust Video tool is especially appealing to me because my old DV camera in this particular venue needed help. I set white balance, and in some cases adjusted exposure and saturation. Color correction in a consumer video app? Wow!
• Non-destructive editing. Make all the changes you want. Go back, change your mind. Whatever you want to do. iMovie never modifies the original clip.
• No rendering. Add titles, change text, play as much as you need. No need to render so the results are immediately available for review.
• Easy voice-over capabilities with automatic ducking.
• Easily shares video to YouTube, .Mac Gallery, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, or a web page.
• Can create a movie faster than any other tool will allow. I know, for me at least, more movies will be created than I ever would have done with anything else.

Tom writes, “For a 1.0 paradigm-shifting application, I found iMovie worked not only as advertised, but even better. I’m excited about getting my old DV tapes imported and putting other movies together. Performance is great on my new iMac. I have no idea if skimming will make it to other movie editors, but it ought to. Further, if I ever upgraded to, say, Final Cut Express, and by that time FCE didn’t allow skimming, I’d still use iMovie for many kinds of projects.”

Tom writes, “Instead of continuing on the path of making iMovie a ‘Final Cut Express Elements Lite,’ Apple switched gears and came up with something that will be a lot more accessible to a lot more people. At the same time they offered powerful cropping and color correcting tools. In short, they’re trying to do for video what iPhoto (and others) did for photos. Given what I’ve seen in this first release, they’re well on their way.”

Much more in “A Detailed iMovie 08 Review, Part II: Wax on, wax off, or how to polish your movie,” here.


  1. iMovie 08’s biggest weakness is that it ditched iMovie 06.

    All of Apple’s current problems and user complaints could have easily been avoided if they kept and upgraded iMovie 06 and simply added iMovie 08 as a feature called “instant movie” or “YouMovie.”

  2. I also want to add that iMovie really is quick and easy, but I really dislike the notion that iApps need to be so rudimentary..

    I like to believe that most Mac users are sophisticated enough to figure out a basic timeline application.

  3. Get off it, MacDailyNews. The new iMovie ’08 is A HORRIBLE PROGRAM THAT DESTROYS EVERYTHING WE HAVE COME TO **DEPEND ON** IN IMOVIE ’06, and no matter how many times you try to convince us otherwise, you’re just making yourselves look foolish.

  4. All you iMovie 06 fans should get it through your thick heads that Apple has made it’s decision and it’s final and your opinion hasn’t had any effect on the stock price. It’s over, finished, done, end of story. And, Apple is not suffering.

    Now, you kids run along and go play with your iMovie 06.

  5. Runs fine here on my DP 2.0 G5.
    Can someone explain what ducking means?
    If I had to point out one weakness…really an the thumbnail creation after you’ve imported your video. After a 2 hour import you have to wait another 30 to 40 mins while iMovie creates the thumbnail needed, i guess, for skimming. perhaps this extra time is lessened with Inel processors.

  6. I haven’t been keeping up with this so my apologies if this has been discussed to death but it seems to me that iMovie 06 was just powerful enough to steal some sales of FCExpress. I asked a few Apple Store guys why I should bother learning FCE (I’m not a pro nor will I ever be) and never got a compelling answer. The 1st thing out of their mouths was always 99 audio tracks. When I asked what I would do with #11-99 they never had an answer.

    Now that they’ve dumbed-down (streamlined? right-sized? whatever) iMovie, they can nudge guys like me toward their $300 app. I bet we’ll see FCE 4.0 in the next 6 months with some compelling you-can’t-do-this-in-iMovie features.

    Or not.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.