Apple iMovie HD

Apple iMovie HD
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5


  • 5th generation product, very stable, HD support good for future projects.


  • Very processor hungry compared to previous versions. Could have better music track inputs into the timeline.

Bottom Line

iMovie ignited the home video editing industry and the latest version may help accelerate the adoption of HD related video products.

Would you buy this?

Releasing a High Definition (HD) version of iMovie may seem like an odd move by Apple. HD equipment is still out of the reach of 99% of the iMovie user demographic and the fact that no-one has really come up with a standard for HD-DVD video is also an issue when it comes time to share your HD-DVD masterpiece with family and friends.

Aside from HDV support, other improvements in iMovie HD should appeal to users who have purchased the latest mini DV camcorders and increasingly popular tapeless camcorders. Support for widescreen video (16:9 format) and MPEG-4 video (a format used in many tapeless videocameras) allows easy video input from a variety of sources. The ability for iMovie HD to keep the imported movie in its original form, without having to transcode the video is also a big timesaver.

Yet the most important feature of iMovie HD is its ability to work well as a simple drag and drop movie editor, with a default interface that presents no nasty surprises to the new user. Simply connect your camcorder to the PC and select the clips you want to use and drag them to the timeline. Once the clips are on the timeline, you can move individual clips around until you are ready to add transitions, effects and music. Unlimited undos also allow you to be creative with no consequences if you botch something up.

Even if you never use it again, try the Magic iMovie feature at least once. Depending on the footage and movie project, the Magic iMovie works surprisingly well. The program automatically imports footage from your camcorder, adds a transition and music you have selected and even writes the movie to iDVD if that's what you want. The proliferation of podcasts has not been lost on Apple, with iMovie HD able to output video to support the format, as well as easy movie preparation for uploading web quality video to your personal site.

iMovie HD features pro-quality special effects, including the a "Ken Burns" effect that was introduced in iMovie 3. This is a very good effect for adding still images to help enhance what may be a slow part of a movie, although more control over where the effect starts and finishes would be very useful. The effect zooms and pans across still photos giving new life to a static image.

For the more experienced, or more adventurous, iMovie HD allows you to add certain levels of sophistication to the interface - revealing more powerful tools as you gain the experience to use them. For example, once you get past the drag and drop nature of making a video, you may want to work with the audio component, both on the video track and on any music you may want to include in the video.Go to View and select Show Clip Volume levels and the timeline delivers an adjustable line for any audio tracks allowing you to alter the volume at exactly the point you want.

Apple has drawn a line in the sand with its release of iMovie HD, which means when the inevitable drop in the price of HD equipment happens (both video cameras and HD TVs) and a standard for HD shown on some sort of disc is adopted, Apple users will be ready to go.

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