iMovie: So Easy Even A Girl Can Use It
(Ow! I was Just Joking!) March 28th, 2000
Gary: Whoo, baby, that's a good one.
Randy: Hey, Gary, what are you laughing at?
Gary: Well my lovely and intelligent wife, who has never edited one piece of video in her life, says she is going to put together a five minute piece of cinema before dinner on the iMac DV upstairs.
Randy: You don't think she can do it?
Gary: Not that I doubt she could eventually pull it off, but editing video, even with awesome programs like Adobe Premiere and Apple's own Final Cut Pro requires a serious learning curve.
Randy: She is pretty smart. You remember that time she got your head unstuck from inside the glaze machine at the Krispy Kreme doughnut store?
Gary: Mmmmmm sugary But that was just an isolated freak incident.
Randy: Or, remember when she got your tongue out of that wet-dry vac?
Gary: You said you would never mention that.
Randy: I'm just saying, she figured that out. And remember when your pants exploded in that grocery store? If it hadn't been for your wife
Gary: All right! She's pretty darn smart! I think that's painfully clear to everyone now. But that notwithstanding, the ins and outs of editing digital video on a computer are more than the average user can tackle before the appetizers are served.
Randy: I'll agree with that. Between pricey hardware requirements and the frustration of learning how to harness the power of an industrial strength program like Final Cut Pro, desktop video has pretty much been for the pros and the most serious hobbyists. Until now, that is.
Did she mention she was using the incredibly easy to use iMovie software from Apple?
Gary: Uh, no.
(Cut to two hours later. Gary's wife, Jennifer, is removing an unshelled peanut from Gary's left nostril.)
Gary: But I thought I could make it shoot out when I sneezed. Ouch!!
Jennifer: Okay honey. If that's important to you. I'm going back out to where the adults are. They're about to show my movie on the TV.
Gary: Thanks sweetie What! You're finished?
Jennifer: Yeah. iMovie was a breeze. I just quickly read an article on it in the latest issue of MacAddict, and I was off and running. I didn't even need to refer back to the article.
Randy: Well, let's take a look at your masterpiece. So, why did you make an iMovie anyway?
Jennifer: Well, my little sister is heading off to college next year and she needed an audition tape.
Randy: Mmmm young, innocent co-eds.
Gary: Dude! That's my sister-in-law we are talking about!
Randy: I will have you know that I was referring to young innocent co-eds everywhere. Say, what the hell kind of college requires an audition tape. Are you sure this is legit?
Jennifer: My kingdom for some adult conversation just once. She is going to an equestrian college.
Randy: I wasn't making a judgment on her religion. And that still doesn't explain why she needs an audition tape.
Jennifer: It's a horse riding college!
Gary: Yeah, dude, don't be so stupid.
Jennifer: You didn't know either. Anyway, I took our DV camcorder out and videotaped her riding and jumping to show the college her skills. Don't say a word, Randy.
Randy: What? Who me?
Gary: Originally, since Jennifer wanted to do this and bond with her sister, she had two choices: learn high-end video editing software in a couple of days, or simply do a direct copy of raw footage to a VHS VCR.
Randy: That would have sucked. There would have been static between takes and it would have looked pretty bad.
Gary: I bet a lot of candidates did just that though.
Jennifer: So this gives my sister an advantage over the competition. I was able to create a polished piece of video in just a couple of hours, never having used this kind of software before. Without a manual, I captured the raw video using the built-in FireWire from our DV camera.
Randy: Pretty nifty.
Jennifer: Each clip you import just goes right into what they call the Shelf. Then you just double-click the clip you want to work on, and it appears in the Preview Window. Then all you do is drag two sliders to crop the clip and then drag it down into the Timeline at the bottom of the screen.
The iMovie interface
The Viewer WIndow where you see your movie in progress.
The Shelf where all your clips are stored.
Add music, transitions, sound and titles with this palette.
This is the Timeline where you arrange you movie clips and sound tracks.
Gary: Sounds easy.
Jennifer: Do that with all of your clips and you are almost done. A couple of my cuts looked kind of rough, so all I did was drag a couple of different transitions between my clips in the Timeline and I had a professional looking piece of video.
Randy: So, that was all there was to it? Pretty impressive.
Jennifer: Well, I wanted to add some titles to the beginning so they would know who she was. That was as simple as adding a transition. Pick the style and font you want type what you want the titles to say, and drag it to the beginning of the timeline, and I was done.
Gary: What about sound?
Jennifer: Well, I admit I cheated there a little.
The Idiots: What!?!?! I can't believe it!!!! I am so disenchanted!!! Etc etc etc
Jennifer: Shut up and stop saying etceteras. The sound that was on the videotape was just of her instructor screaming at her as she rode, so I just unchecked the box by the soundtrack and it went silent. Then I just took a piece of classical music
Randy: Classical music?
Gary: You know, like The Who or Zeppelin.
Randy: Oh, yeah, classical music rules.
Jennifer: No, you morons, like Beethoven.
Jennifer: Forget it. I don't have all day. I just took a piece of classical music from an audio CD, and with one button click you can import it into your iMovie and all I did was fade it out at the end of the video. Then I was done.
iMovie even lets you output your final movie back to the tape in the DV camcorder so you can play it on your TV.
Randy: Man, that's awesome. I want to use iMovie.
Gary: You have no iMac DV, so there is no iMovie for you. Besides you can only capture from Firewire and you only have a Hi 8 camcorder. Ha ha! I laugh in your face!
Randy: Ah, but, laughing monkey-like boy, iMovie can import QuickTime. So I can use my Hi 8 camcorder with my ATI Xclaim VR card to capture QuickTime files and then import them into an iMovie.
Gary: Monkeyboy laughs no more. You know you actually have good workaround there, if you are in a pinch, but for ease of use Firewire and DV camcorder are really the way to go. It sounds like capturing analogue source and digitizing headaches are a thing of the past with iMovie.
Randy: You know, besides bundling iMovie with every iMac DV Apple needs to sell iMovie as a standalone product, this is the coolest Mac-innovation since sliced bread.
Gary: Wow! Macs make sliced bread too huh? Macs rule!!
Jennifer: Alright you Idiots. Keep it down and watch the iMovie.
Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.
The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.
You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .