Halloween Fun with the new iMovie 11

screen_shot_2010_11_03_at_73350_pm.pngWe’re having some technical issues with embedded videos, so CLICK HERE to see the short movie trailer I’m talking about below!

Apple just announced the iLife 11 suite of software a couple of days before Halloween and I jumped on the upgrade right away because so far, iMovie is the only NLE (non linear editor) that I can understand. But iMovie 09 lacked a couple of things (like a timeline) that I really need. So I went for the upgrade right away.

I’ll probably never open iWeb, and I could care less about iPhoto. But GarageBand and iMovie are right down my multimedia alley.

Among the new features of iMovie 11 is the “movie trailer” feature which is a pre-cut template for a Hollywood movie trailer. You drop your clips in and iMovie does the rest.

It’s sure to be a feature we’ll all be sick of seeing soon, but for the time being, it’s cute and fun, and it saved me from actually trying to edit a story from the wackiness that goes on in my town on Halloween.

But iMovie11 also has a semi-timeline setup that greatly increases your ability to deal with audio, it has an anti-rolling shutter filter (the downfall of CMOS sensor cameras, like DSLRs, is the tendency for a moving camera to produce “jello-ey” shake effects) that even video guru Philip Bloom (he’s the video world’s answer to Chase Jarvis) admires. 

It has several one touch effects like freeze frame, and slow and fast motion, some new themes, and even a function that can find people by face recognition (Hello? Big Brother calling!).

All in all, it’s a pretty functional and easy to use program for an aging still guy trying to go all non-linear.  Check it out…if I can use it, anybody can.

Tech notes on the video…just the late, lamented Sanyo Xacti HD 2000 pocket video cam with a LitePanels MicroPro LED light and a little Sennheiser MKE 400 baby shotgun mic….not that I needed any natural sound, what with my readily available Hollywood soundtrack courtesy of iMovie 11!

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Hi Bob,

    Looks like a, err, fun way of spending Halloween…
    Nah just kidding, it looks like people were having fun, which is always a good thing. And the inclusion of a timeline in iMovie is even better, the lack of it always used to drive me crazy in the previous versions. Working with it always felt too easy, but lacking control. I’ll have to give this one a try sometime.

    If you don’t mind me asking, how do you find the Sanyo Xacti in a real world scenario? It’s sitting pretty high on my “wanted gadgets” list right now, but the couple of reviews I read so far were pretty much tech and measurements oriented (and it rated pretty high on them), but then there’s the real world… do you find it easy to live with or does it have the tendency to drive you mad?



    1. Hi Filipe: Yes, Halloween in New Hope is, er, very wacky!

      As for the Sanyo Xacti HD 2000….I love that little thing. It’s great in everything but the way I used it at Halloween….that is, in low light.

      But consider that it has 1080p 30 and 60fps, (although I’ve shot it primarily in 720 30fps), Mac-friendly MP 4 format (no AVCHD headaches), a mic jack, a headphone jack, manual control over audio levels, manual control over exposure, a cold shoe, inexpensive but high quality add-on lenses….well, for $400, it’s a killer.

      What are the negatives? Well, despite the fact that the lens is sharp, it’s poorly coated.So if you have ANY bright light source in the picture, you get flare and ghosts.

      But, honestly, that, and the lowlight performance, are the only drawbacks, IMHO. And low light with small chip cameras has always been a drawback.

      The bad news is that Panasonic recently bought Sanyo, and they quickly killed this camera because it had better specs than most $2000 prosumer Panasonics (all without the difficult to deal with AVCHD format).

      You can still find them on Amazon, but they recently jumped up to the $500+ range because….well, because people are finally catching on to this wonderful little camera.

      As my grandmother used to say, “too late we get smart!”

      Amen, Grandma!

      1. Bob,

        Many thanks for your reply, it was pretty much what I wanted to hear except for the last few paragraphs, which indeed sound like bad news… 🙁 I think I might have to try and make Xmas come a bit earlier this year!

        … Nikkor 10-24 or Xacti… decisions decisions…

        Thanks again,


  2. Thanks for your comments about iLife11. I drove to Best Buy here in Frederick, MD, and bought it tonight.

  3. Bob:

    Nice to hear positives about iMovie, especially the new version. The hotdog video folks at Canon look down at me for not embracing the Hollywood level of Final Cut Pro. I’m having fun and learning to tell stories by keeping it simple.

    Do you remember our late dinner in Maine a number of years ago when I was presenting at L. L. Bean. I enjoyed the conversation and it’s great to be working along side you at Pixiq.

    George Lepp

  4. Hi George: Nice to hear from you, and yes, I remember our LL Bean dinner fondly.

    Sounds like we’re in the same boat, video-editing-wise. Thing is, with good story telling, good audio, and good clips, you can do a heckuva lot in iMovie. It’s all in the ingredients.

    I was dismayed to read about your TSA patdown experience. It’s just one more reason why I’m trying to spend more time at home, doing little video stories about people and places closer to my backyard.

    Hope to see you in person again and in the meantime, glad to share the Pixiq space with you!

    cheers, Bob

  5. Bob: I have found the Sanyo Xacti on several websites for $369 but they say “import” model with one year USA warranty. Amazon sells them for $599 but doesn’t mention USA, Import, or whatever. What are your thoughts? I always buy the USA versions of Nikon and Nikkor lenses but the price difference on those don’t seem as steep as this one.

    I read some of the reviews on the LitePanel and they seemed mixed…feels cheap, hard to adjust, etc. Seems like a great idea but maybe not just yet.

    On another note, we used to provide a lot of services in our office such as filling out paper work, writing letters, etc that we now charge for. Times have changed and you might consider selling some of your expertise to those of us who are needing guidance and your expertise. sign me up. Thanks Mike

  6. Just ordered mine from Amazon.fr for approx. €360 after tax and shipping to Portugal. Guess Xmas came early after all! 🙂

  7. Hi Bob!
    Glad you’re liking iMovie! I’m a diehard apple fan myself!
    But….. I’ve played with Premiere Elements 9 for mac and am finding it super duper!
    Easy to edit, affordable, lots of tracks, ….
    Easy to adjust color, sound levels, transitions,….
    So if you find yourself snowed in somewhere with a bit of time, do a trial, and let us know what you think.

    It’s always fun to check in & what you’re up to – might just have to get the husband a P7000 frm Santa! Great review – thanks!

    You’ve been doing awesome on the motion/audio transition!

    You’re fan
    Malinda Hartong

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