Calling iMovie for iPhone a video editing app is a bit of a misnomer. In fact, iMovie is at its best when it doesn’t handle video at all. Frankly, it’s great at slideshows and not much else.
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced filmmaker, those slideshows are simple to make. Fine-tuning them is a different story because iMovie doesn’t teach you the (decidedly short) ropes, so you’re on your own for almost everything. It shouldn’t take experienced video editors more than a few moments to rearrange clips and add titles, but when it does, it’s indicative of a larger issue.
Landscape mode allows for attractive and efficient iMovie editing.
That’s because when something in iMovie is difficult, you can usually take it as a sign that it’s simply not possible. There’s no way to turn audio down without taking the audio out of the video completely. You also can’t use music that was sold in protected form from the iTunes Store, and you can’t make simple cuts to insert clips at precise points.
It’s easy enough to tell why Apple opted for this approach--video editing is an intricate and complex task, and the process can be a visual overload for rookies. So Apple opted to make it easier on its users by scaling the app down to the bare-bones minimum. Unfortunately, iMovie mistakes ease of use for limited features.
Certain missing functions are truly unforgivable. All video editors, whether on phones or computers, should have a “fade” transition. Apple only offers two transitions--or rather, two transitions at a time. See, there’s a “theme” transition that’s only usable if you select that theme at the beginning of your project. Retroactively changing your theme also changes your theme transitions. For some baffling reason, you aren’t permitted to use more than two types of transitions for each project.
Titles operate in a similar manner as transitions, mimicking whichever theme you’ve picked. However, you can’t add titles over pictures, and since iMovie for iPhone really is better suited for photos than video, titles will likely collect cobwebs.
iMovie also supplies audio for each theme, but hokey-as-all-get-out stock music isn’t much of a perk. Luckily, adding your own music from the iPhone’s iPod app is about as simple as it gets.
Apple’s made navigation effortless as well, with iMovie’s ingenious method of accurately finding a spot in a clip. Instead of scrubbing through a clip with a very thin scrubber like most video editing software, you’ll move entire timelines around a stationary scrubber. It’s easy and allows iMovie to look clean and uncluttered.
Beautiful, handy, but severely crippled, there’s no denying that iMovie is certainly a mixed bag. It might be the best option for video editing in the App Store, but it’ll only meet the needs of a small, easy-to-please audience.
REQUIREMENTS: iPhone 4
Looks great. Scrubbing entire timelines is a really effective navigation tool. Can use music from your iTunes library.
Can’t put titles wherever you want. Can’t adjust volume. Just can’t do a whole lot.