Friday, February 27, 2009

iMovie09 - Run to the Store NOW

I have been playing around with iMovie 09 this week, which took a lot of courage. After the debacle of iMovie 08, which I couldn't figure out for the life of me, and the earlier love affair with iMovie HD, which I adored, I clung to David Pogue's slightly put down review of 09 on the basis of losing its export to tape function.

While I couldn't agree more and beg, plead and whine to Apple (in store, online, posting a comment at the bottom of the Pogue column), Apple Has Spoken. So Far.

Once I could focus on actually Using iMovie 09, to do a quickie edit (carving up an 8 hour conference video into the individual presentations) that didn't require much deep thought, I began to be thrilled.

Whiz, whiz - the edited footage was scooped up, lassoed, and plopped into place. like the old Road Trip Effect code I put in my 2005 book Create Your Own Digital Movies. But wait - it's much more. And it's soooo fast? It IS so fast. Plop, plop - here I can plink down some titles. Awesome. It took awhile to sort out the audio editing process in iMovie, but it does make sense. It does however require relearning old habits. Some good, some bad in that.

The upshot was however, that my video took all of about 5 minutes to edit. It would have taken at least an hour in the old style iMovie HD. Hmmm. Moral dilemma now. What do I say to my trustworthy faithful horse? For now, it's a fond farewell.

All went well until I went to upload the conference video. YouTube is no longer free for more than 100MB or 10 min. So with 30- and 60-min. 336 MB+ files, it was off to Google Video I went. But then the default window opens on Google Video, larger by far than on YouTube, and the quality was atrocious. My lovely world maps were blurred almost beyond recognition. Was it something I could control?

I spent a bit of time on the phone with Apple tech support. First with the iMovie specialist, who walked through various paths with me - intelligently and patiently and competently. Though I try to steer clear of actually using Final Cut Express, I do own a copy and wondered if exporting it from FCE would improve the quality of my uploaded video. An FCE rep asked for my support code, which I didn't have and informed me that it would $199 per incident to talk to her. Wow. That's more expensive than a call girl. After I explained that the information I was seeking was related to a capabilities issue form a sales and technical perspective rather than my actual USE of the software, she was very helpful. But ultimately I was transferred back to another iMovie person who walked through even more detail. Yet, in the end, the method I had used was the best one and the solution lay not in the creation side of the fence but in the publishing side.

Slow moving dolt that I was, I finally had a reason to go to Vimeo, where videos Look Good. I did a test post last night. I'm sold.

iMovie 09 and Vimeo - the way to go.

PS I have been telling people for some time to use iMovie HD for rough cuts or producer's cuts and encouraging people to hand off the roughs to real editors using FCP for quite some time. I just noticed Apple actually promoting this idea. Right on.

PS2 Take the iMovie 90 min. class at your local Apple store. Awesome. They'll show you how to open up the Advanced Features (under Preferences) which is what really sold me on iMovie 09. But better than that, for everyone, is the hands on approach in the class. No more show and tell. It's show and do. And did I mention - it's FREE?

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