doing more with less
the age old cycle of release product, add features, release next version of product has gotten out of control. so many products and software now have such an overwhelming number of features that most people can’t figure them out. Apple has been guilty of this, but they are also one of the few brave companies to buck this trend too. they’re not afraid to remove features if they’re under used, confusing, or even if they place a low-end product too close to one of their high-end offerings. it’s good business in every sense. too many features scare most users and apple recognizes this. if you want more features, upgrade to an “pro” level product (hardware or software).
so when apple announced imovie ’08 everyone freaked out. it doesn’t just have a whole new interface, it works in a whole new way, and in doing so it drops a number of the advanced features in imovie ’06. in what he calls a review, david pogue spends the bulk of his time listing the features apple removed from imovie and complaining that now he can’t do what he used to. however in the process, pogue made it perfectly clear that he was using imovie for pro-level like work. and now that he can’t do that anymore, he’s upset because he has to go buy final cut express. i can’t really blame pogue, who wants to pay $250 for features that he was getting for free.
but what about all those other people, mr. pogue? the ones who just looked at imovie and said “i can’t figure this shit out. too many buttons and windows and choices. forget it.” the new imovie is a refreshing change for these folks. it finally works like an apple / ilife application – the way it should have all along. now when you open imovie, you see the clips you’ve already imported. plug in a camera and an import window automatically opens up, and lets you choose to import all new clips by default, or manually select specific clips to import. using selected parts of your clips is magically easy. adding transitions is instantaneous. text overlay are easily adjustable and editable on the fly. everything a beginner might have wanted to do works better, and faster with less effort.
yes, there are fewer choices of transitions and text titles now. there is far less control over audio and you can no longer separate the audio from the video on clips. and you no longer work in time codes, but in simple minutes and seconds. but you know what? if you need those features, you need a pro app. admit it. what entry level user even understands time codes? and why should they be forced to learn that just to edit their video?
after reading pogue’s review i decided to try imovie ’08 for my latest video review. i admit i had to make a few changes to some of the things i normally put in my video reviews – i could no longer use a custom color for the title bar at the beginning, and i couldn’t chop the audio from the video so that my voiceover continued while the video faded into the credit screen at the end. but none of those are particularly critical features of my video.
but the joy, the joy of being able to quickly select the good parts from all the video i imported, string it together, add titles and the credit screen, and then crop the video from HD to standard definition with 3 clicks… 3 clicks! it was such a good experience. and uploading it to youtube from within the much more reliable imovie interface as opposed to youtube’s completely wonky web uploader. well, it was amazing. and not just amazing, it was efficient. it took me at least 30 minutes less to do this all in imovie ’08 even though i had to learn how to use it, than it took using imovie ’06. i got back 30 minutes of my life yesterday.
so, mr. pogue, for those of us who aren’t pro level users who refuse to admit it. for people who want to edit video quickly and easily, imovie ’08 is a huge leap forward, not a step back.
HELP sorry, i have tried to respond to many of your fine comments with comments of my own, however wordpress.com is currently having problems letting its members comment in their own posts. i am not ignoring you and i am keeping up with the lively conversation below. as soon as this is rectified i promise to jump in.
Filed under: apple, good design, imovie, technology | 73 Comments