iMovie ’08 = utter disappointment

My initial joy of the redesigned iMovie ’08 UI with clip browser did not last very long. Last night I checked out the tutorials and the getting started manual, and after reading some research today it appears all too clear that iMovie ’08 did away with the timeline. Inconceivable!

I also watched the keynote presentation of the improved Movie-Making-in-minutes and must say that I find it very unimpressive. Bar the skimming, Steve did not do anything you can already do with iMovie ’06. He simply grabbed a few clips, arranged them, added a title, some transitions, and music. iMovie ’06 has a clip viewer that lets you do all of this except the sound track. You do that in timeline view. Done.

I need the timeline, I use to fine-tune the recorded audio levels. Sometimes there some sounds or noises you want amplified or muted w/o affecting the entire clip volume level. Impossible w/o a timeline. The new iMovie apparently only allows you to change the volume of the entire clip. No granularity.

And here’s the kicker, from the “iMovie ’08 Getting Started Manual”, page 17. This is what will happen when you try to import your old projects into iMovie ’08 — they get clobbered:

You can also import video from a project created in iMovie HD. When you import an iMovie HD project, only the video that was originally imported from a camcorder into the project is imported into iMovie; any video that was dragged into the project from the Finder is not imported. The clips in the clip viewer are added to the video library and grouped as an Event; the clips in the timeline are placed in a new iMovie project. All transitions are replaced by cross dissolves. No titles, effects, music, sound effects, or photos are imported into iMovie. All chapter markers are also lost.

Since January I have been waiting for this update, but apparently good things not always come to those who wait. Since I started using iMovie ’06 last year I have quickly outgrown it and wanting more features. However, since Final Cut Express (FCE) has not been updated in a long time I don’t want to buy it just now. I was hoping for an iMovie update that would save me the $220 difference, but it looks like I have no choice. Until FCE is updated. Of course, Final Cut Pro (FCP) was just updated, but I cannot justify the expense for a hobby.

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