The New iMovie

The other day, Tuesday to be exact, Apple released an update to their OSX operating system. Alongside it, they updated all of their iWork and iLife applications. In this post, I want to talk about the new version of iMovie.

Now, I personally upgraded from iMovie to Final Cut Pro X last year. However, I do think iMovie is a great piece of software; and there are some nice features that have been added to iMovie that easily make it the best piece of starter video editing software out there (as it has been for a while).

First of all, there is a new layout to iMovie. Personally I am not a fan of it. It’s one of my few gripes with the new version of the software. iMovie for the Mac used to look a lot more like a nice piece of desktop editing software, with good media organization and good tools all put together nicely. Now, iMovie for the Mac looks a lot like iMovie for IOS. Whether or not that is a bad thing is yet to be seen. Anyone who uses the IOS version of iMovie can probably start using the new Mac version with no real problems. My gripe with this is that it looks like it was designed for a touchscreen device, not for a computer. To me, the layout just doesn’t make much sense on a desktop/laptop. For a mom who’s looking to make home movies and swap easily between her computer and her iPad, it’s nice. However, for a person who’s looking to go into filmmaking and take editing seriously it’s not that great.

My second gripe with the new iMovie is the new color tools. They SUCK. Exposure cannot be done properly like it used to, because when you slide one part of it (ex. the shadows) everything else slides with it. So if I adjust my mid-tones, my shadows automatically get adjusted as well.  I searched in the “HELP” bar to see if there was a place where you could change a setting and make it all independent, but there wasn’t a single result. Another thing, there are no individual level tools. If you don’t know what that is, it is basically getting full control of the levels of reds, blues, and greens in a shot. In more professional grade pieces of software, like Premiere Pro and Final Cut X, you get much more color options. In the old version of iMovie, they had those three that I mentioned above and it worked fine. Why they took it out, I do not know. It was a great feature to have that allowed people to achieve better color correction and looks.  On top of that, there is absolutely no way to be remotely exact with your color correction. They had the ability to type in specific numbers for your amount of saturation, levels, etc. in the old version. Now, it’s all sliders. So, what you are left with is only the ability to slide the bars back and forth until you find the look you want. Having a way to be exact is much better. Again, why they took that feature out is a mystery to me.  They did keep the “auto enhance” feature (which now has a very large button up at the top beside “adjust”), but honestly that isn’t totally useful. If you hate doing color correction yourself, I guess it’s ok. However, any person that wants to color correct their own footage and make it look how they want it to look should not use this tool. Really, anyone who wants to do their own color correction may not want to upgrade/purchase the new version of iMovie at all. It’s just a real shame that Apple has done away with the great color correction tools they had before. It was one my favorite features of the old version of iMovie, and a feature that really made the software a nice bang for your buck.

Now, onto the things that I do like about iMovie.

All of the same sound tools are there, and they are great for anyone who is just starting out. Again, it is all slider based, so there is no way to be exact, but all of the main tools are still there and should satisfy any beginning filmmaker.

Also, the stabilize tool is still there and functions great. It’s not as good as Warp Stabilizer, which is found in the Adobe apps, but it’s great considering it’s in a piece of free software.

Another feature I like is the Theatre. This is a nice feature Apple has implemented for viewing your movies and creating your new projects with themes.

Trailers are still in iMovie and remain one of my favorite features. They aren’t overly useful for making actual trailers for a short film or anything like that, but they are fun to play around with for family/friend videos.

A major feature that I absolutely LOVE is the new iCloud integration. Basically, if you export a project to iCloud, it is automatically on all of your Apple devices for viewing, even the Apple TV. This is a great feature, and one that I would love to see with Final Cut Pro X (perhaps with a viewing app for IOS and Apple TV or something like that). Whether or not this allows you to edit the same project on different devices I do not know for sure. However, I doubt it does simply because all of the effects, transitions, etc. that are on the Mac version of iMovie are not in the IOS version of iMovie.

All of your standard text tools and effects have remained the same as well, except now they are on the left side of the window under your events instead of the right side under the viewer.


So, just to recap:


1.) Sound Tools

2.) Stabilize Tool

3.) Theatre

4.) iCloud Integration



1.) New Layout

2.) Color Tools


In conclusion, the new version of iMovie is nice, but it is a step in a new direction. iMovie doesn’t really feel like a piece of beginner video software anymore. It feels like a basic, fun extra added into Apple’s products to make them more attractive to parents. The main use it is intended for is home movies, for sure.

Despite this, though, the software remains as one of the best pieces of beginner software on the market in my opinion. I have not used Premiere Elements, but I hear it’s nice as well. If iMovie doesn’t do it for you, you might take a look at that.

Overall, I think that if you are just starting out as a filmmaker, this is a great piece of software to have. If you own a Mac, give it a look. That is, unless you have iMovie 11. If you still have that, I would personally not recommend upgrading because that has the better color correction tools and allows you to be more exact. Also, the layout and workflow better prepares you for more professional pieces of software, if you plan to upgrade in the future.

So, if you have iMovie 11 and have some editing knowledge and experience, DO NOT upgrade unless the things I mentioned don’t matter to you (they are all MY OPINION and you may not agree, and that’s fine). If you are about to buy a new Mac, or have no video editing experience at all, then go ahead and try using the new iMovie. It’s nice and simple and allows you to learn the basics.

Is it as good as before? No, not in my opinion. However, that’s just MY OPINION.

If you are just starting out and have no editing experience, then you will not even notice or care about the cons I mentioned.

It’s a great bang for your buck for beginners.

Check it out on Apple’s website:





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