iLife 09

iLife 09
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5. iMovie’s New Titles, Transitions, and Effects

While the titles and transitions in iMovie 08 were pretty good, it looks like Apple made a big leap forward in iMovie 09. 18 new animated titles is a great improvement by itself, but add to that the fact that Apple has complemented them with a bunch of animated backgrounds and you have a winning iMovie combo.

There are also new effects added as well, such as the ability to give your movie an aged effect (see the Apple demo for an example).

4. iPhoto’s Face Recognition

I realize that this feature might very well be number one on most people’s list. I’m just more into video these days, and since I just moved to Tokyo I just don’t have as many friends and family nearby to photograph as I used to.

But all you photographers out there must be jumping for joy at this new feature. When iPhoto finds a picture of (for example) Grandma, it will ask you to type the “Grandma” in the label field. From there iPhoto does all the work, as it will scour through the rest of your photos, analyzing faces for more pictures of Grandma. You’ll be asked for confirmation, just to make sure that iPhoto didn’t mess up. I’m curious to see how accurate Apple’s facial recognition software is. I have three brothers, and I doubt any software could distinguish between all of our faces successfully. But that remains to be seen, of course.

3. iMovie’s New Precision Editor

One of my complaints about iMovie 08 was that it didn’t really allow you to make truly precise edits. It was aimed at your everyday consumer who didn’t really need anything too exact. But as consumers become more and more video saavy (and make no mistake, iMovie 08 played a big part in that) they’re going to want something a little bit more powerful. While they might not be willing to make the jump to something as industrial-strength as Final Cut, iMovie 09 should give the average home movie maker all the tools he needs for any job. The new precision editing feature allows you to edit video and audio independently, and do so with far more accuracy than ever before.

2. Travel Maps in iMovie & iPhoto

Both iMovie and iPhoto have added Travel Map features. I’m most looking forward to iMovie’s Animated Travel maps though, since I tend to take a lot of video whenever I’m on the road. Whenever I visit other cities or countries I’ll usually document the whole thing, and produce a nice movie of the trip when I return. What better way to create an introduction to such a movie than by whipping up a cool map animation!

For any travel photographers out there, you’ll be pleased to hear that iPhoto can take your picture’s location data and use it to render a travel map in any photo theme. I won’t use this feature nearly as much as I’ll use it in iMovie, but I’m glad to see it added nonetheless.

1. iMovie’s Video Stabilization

I use a Flip Camera for taking video. And while I do have a small tripod, most of the movies that I take are of the on-the-fly variety, with no planning involved. Like for example, when my 1-year-old niece has just finished building a shaky tower of legos, I might want to whip out the flip cam and grab a quick recording before the wobbly structure inevitably crashes.

In such instances there’s obviously no time for a tripod, and the video will undoubtedly end up being a little shaky. iMovie’s new video stabilization feature gives you the option of analyzing your video and then correcting camera shake as best it can. While it looks like this process might take some time, it will certainly make a huge difference to the quality of your home movies.