Wednesday, January 28, 2009

iLife09



I've been able to put my hands on iLife09 less than a day after its formal release. During the month of January we've seen most it could do in those detailed video tutorials in Apple's site but it's an all different ball-game to get to test the soft on your own gear. I must admit, I take extra pleasure in using iLife in general as it works superbly together with my AppleTV for clips, slideshows and more, in HD Ready quality, which is all I care about, really...

What's my verdict you may ask... I tried iPhoto and iMovie first. I'll deal with iPhoto some other time, since I'm not a big fan, as I use Aperture and Lightroom for my photographs most of the time. 'Places' and 'Faces' is fun but it's more the kind of thing for my bride... I'm much too advanced prosumer to seriously fall for it. I tried geotagging for kicks and it seems to work fine. Books are fun too but far more expensive than the equivalent from Blurb. Facebook works... except, I'm not too regular facebooker... So, whatever...

I liked a lot iMovie though... Watch this clip above and try to see through a number of its functions. Of course, the clip's original quality is severely damaged by the Adobe Flash format conversion on Youtube, but anyways... it still shows you the good parts. I shot the footage with a HDD AVCHD Sony camera, relatively new. Upon connection with the Mac via USB iMovie recognized the footage in a heartbeat and allowed me to select the scenes I wanted.

I tried movie filters, slow-mo and image stabilization. I was amazed by how stable, relatively speaking, the resulting scenes were rendered after a slow-mo filter and image stabilization were applied. Not to mention the speed by which these conversions took place. People are really going to enjoy these functions. Watch the scenes as I was moving the camera around... you might have the impression I was carrying a Steadicam! The slow-mo was also extremely smooth. For kicks, try to figure out which scenes I put on slowmo. Hard to find out if you don't know. As for the titles and transitions, cool and smooth too. More than you'll ever need.

I know most serious amateurs 'hate' iMovie. I don't. I loved it from day one. I can do a quality video in terms of resolution, transitions, titles, etc, in fractions of the time I'd need with FCP, AE or Premiere, not to forget Sony's Vegas on Windows. No way I'd ever go back to those. Most reasonable amateurs prefer to pay a lot of attention during shooting and follow some best practices so that their footage won't need too much fiddling around. Then, with a package like iMovie you can do miracles within minutes that you can then show off to your neighbors to make them die of envy...

The final fun part in my case is the interoperability between the Mac and my AppleTV. Once the clip is ready on my MacBook, wifi takes over and the clip is played with impeccable (HD) quality on the Bravia flat screen via the AppleTV box. Wunderbar. No need for copying over, or burning DVDs for that matter. Environmentally friendly as well, so to say...