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This is a recap of my experience using iMovie for the first time on my new iMac. As a new Mac user, but a proficient computer and software user, this is a good test to show how easy iMovie is to use. Or not?…read on…

Last week I created a new church promo video for Mesa View Church in Golden, CO to serve as a short introduction of what the church is about. It’s now posted on the church website home page.

(click the viewer or you can also view it here on Vimeo or here on YouTube)

I produced this video as a pro-bono service provided by MileHighMarketing for Mesa View Church since this is where I attend church regularly (I’m actually the worship leader there for the past year, along with my wife who plays piano and sings).

A couple of weeks ago just before the church service I handed my son my Sony Cybershot DSC-W200 digital still camera and asked him to take a video of parts of our worship service. (As a side note, I just found this camera in the washing machine after it went through the wash! …so we’ll see if it ever comes back to life in a few days. That’s one of the problems with these small electronic devices, some times they’re too small. P.S. – Nope, sorry to say it didn’t survive the wash.)

This new video was created from that footage, along with a couple of photo stills that my son and I took that same day.

Since this video was not pre-planned, and taken with a still camera which is not really designed for video (it doesn’t have a zoom feature or image stabilization during video mode), the video quality is only so-so. But it should serve as a quick introduction to our worship service at Mesa View.

In the future I hope to get a ‘real’ video camera and take some better quality footage.

iMovie 2009: Ease of Use vs. Learning Curve

This movie was created for a church using iMovie 2009 on an iMac (iMovie is part of the iLife 2009 package that comes with new Macs). You can just as easily create a corporate video using iMovie in a few short days that serves as a commercial about your company that can be posted on your website.

I had never used iMovie before this, so there was a short learning curve of using iMovie over a period of about 3 days. But it wasn’t a bad experience. There was some frustration getting the transitions to work (some of which I ultimately could not get to work), and I never did get the hang of using the fine tuning editor, but overall iMovie was easy enough to learn for creating a basic movie in a short time frame.

One feature of iMovie I really like is the ability to select some frames from the movie grid, and using Control-Shift-drag, you can place just the audio selection onto the movie editor as an audio overlay onto photos or movie sections. You can also easily add an audio overlay for some narration by directly recording into iMovie using a microphone or built-in mic if you have one (for this movie I used the built-in mic that came with my iMac).

You can also easily import an audio track to iMovie from any podcasts you have residing within iTunes, which is what I did for adding excerpts from sermons that I had within my iTunes podcast folder.

Once you place audio, video, photo stills, and transitions, you then drag them around to manipulate and adjust the placement and timing (this is where the learning curve kicks in since if you move one thing, it tends to affect other things, which means lots of fiddling to get things they way you want them). I also liked the built in transitions, but they are finicky to work with.

Adjusting features like ‘Ken Burns’ pan and zoom is a breeze.

‘Sharing’ and Exporting Your iMovie:

One of the best features about iMovie is the ability to export or ‘Share’ your movie directly to iTunes, to YouTube, to Adobe Quicktime .Mov format for uploading to websites like Vimeo, or to your MobileMe account, all right from within the iMovie ‘Share’ menu.

For playing back your movie from iTunes you will need to sync your iPod to iTunes. If you want to upload your movie to iTunes for others to download (such as a podcast) you might want to use a
service such as PodBean.com which provides free podcast hosting along with a lot of built-in functionality to help you get your movie published as a podcast. PodBean offers a free service, or up to $20/month for more bandwidth, or $39/month for branded videos for business.

When exporting your iMovie you can designate the format you want such as Tiny (176×44), Mobile (480×360), Medium (640×480), Large (720×540), or HD (1280×720). You can also select to export your movie to iDVD for burning to a DVD.

With iMovie you can even add keywords to help your video to be found by search engines once posted on the web.

iMovie Help:

The help available within iMovie is severely lacking, so I suggest you don’t even bother with iMovie help or searches, just refer to a quick Google search for some quick tips on how to use iMovie.

Next Time:

For my next video I intend on using Final Cut Pro so I can have more control over editing the movie, but for a quick project iMovie is a decent solution that is easy to use.

As always, I’d like to hear your comments and feedback!

~Jeff (milehighcentral)

Jeff Kemp, milehighcentral (Golden, CO), www.milehighcentral.com.