What is iMovie?

iMovie is a product of Apple and was originally released in the year 1999. Like many applications designed by Apple, it only runs on the Macintosh operating system. If you bought your Mac new from an Apple Store, it may already have iMovie. If you do not have iMovie, it is available as part of Apple's iLife suite which can be purchased from Apple for $79 or $99.

iMovie is Apple's basic video editing application, aimed for the amateur consumer. Apple makes an advanced video editing suite, Final Cut Pro, which is aimed at a more expert market. Though the features of iMovie have grown and changed over the years, the same basic tasks can be completed with all versions of iMovie.


A strength of iMovie is that it is not merely video edit software, it is video import software. iMovie will detect digital camcorders, digital cameras and analog-to-digital converter devices on your computer's USB and / or FireWire ports and allow you to transfer footage to and from these devices. iMovie will allow you to review video from the source and import it to your Mac's hard drive.


iMovie, as compared to other amateur market video editors, is easy to use and feature-heavy. Video clips are imported into an iMovie project from a camera, camcorder or from the local machine. iMovie employs a simple visual editing interface, which is toggled between clipboard and timeline style by the user. Clips can be dragged to the timeline / clipboard, where they can be cut, combined or edited with effects.

Transitions and Effects

As time goes on, the strength and variety of effects available in iMovie increases. The simplest of video effects are fades: fade in, fade out and cross-fade. There are film effects, such as sepia tone and black and white. There are also action effects, such as earthquake or lightning.

Photo and Audio

iMovie, as part of the iLife suite, is integrated with your iTunes and iPhoto libraries. It is simple to add music and pictures from your collection to enhance your movie. iMovie also allows you to cut and edit music with audio fade effects. Photo integration features the "Ken Burns Effect," a slow zoom on a still image.

Titles / Text Effects

iMovie, like many editors, allows you to add text to your films. Text can be added over video or over black and there are a number of different text effects which are available, ranging from music video style to scrolling titles. Some text effects are more artful, such as falling letters or spinning text.


iMovie has a range of export options once a project is finalized and saved. iMovie videos can be exported as simple Quicktime video files of various sizes (and levels of compression) to the local computer or to the internet or email. Completed films can be pushed back onto camcorders for later review on televisions. Completed films can also be exported to iDVD for integration into DVD projects and burning onto DVD-ROMs.

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