iLife ’11 First Impressions

Last week I ordered Apple’s new iLife ’11 suite, which includes iPhoto and iMovie which I’ll be talking about here. iLife ’11  also contains Garage Band, iWeb and iDVD, but I don’t use those products much so I’ll talk about them less. This post will be my first impressions on the new release and won’t go into a lot of detail since I only took a cursory look at the product this weekend. Over time, I’ll work with it more and write more detailed posts about specific things I’m doing with it.

As you know, Apple is launching the App Store for the Mac and full-screen applications like you find on the iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad will be coming to  the Mac. I think this is generally a good thing, but I’m going on gut as I don’t have a lot of experience with full-screen apps on my desktop. Certainly for portable devices, full-screen apps are a necessity since the screens are too small to sport the necessary multi-window UI elements that would be required if apps were not strictly full-screen. However, I also know that on my desktop apps like my browser, Microsoft Office, and my IDE’s support full screen modes and I rarely use them. I do often maximize these apps, but that’s slightly different from what we mean when we say full-screen. Full-screen generally means there is nothing else visible but the one app… no title bars, minimize/maximize buttons, etc. I’m not sure what full-screen means for multiple monitors. Most apps full-screen mode is just for a single monitor.

Anyway, I’m getting distracted. One of the features of iPhoto is a full-screen mode. I tried it and it works really well. In fact, it quite naturally became the way I’d like to work with iPhoto as it allowed me to see a lot more events on the screen at once and scan through more photos on-screen at a time when I was searching through my library (of almost 30k photos). I didn’t notice if iMovie now supports a full-screen mode but supporting one in iMovie, to me, would be just as useful since the way iMovie presents thumbnails would benefit from as much real-estate as possible so you can cover as much of your footage as possible on the screen at once.

Both iPhoto and iMovie integrate better with the web and services you may use like YouTube and Facebook. Integration for both of these has improved. For instance 1080p is now supported as well as support for Vimeo and other web services, 2-way integration with Facebook (comments get propagated from Facebook back to iPhoto), etc.

Frame rate is more precise with iMovie and this seems important to me since one of my cameras shoots in 24fps, another in 30, and still another in 60 (interlaced). The difference in the rendered final product is probably subtle, but I’m imagining that a video shot in 24fps will look better if the resulting movie remains in 24fps and isn’t interpolated to 30fps. I’ll have to experiment to see if the difference is noticeable.

iMovie supports some highly automated ways to create themed movie trailers. My kids had a blast with this over the weekend and quickly mastered it. While they were excited to see their work become so professional-looking so fast, I wonder if they will begin to see that every trailer they produce looks the same and get bored. Oh wait, that’s the same thing that happens in Hollywood movie trailers! Kudos Apple, for capturing the monotony and lack-of creativity found in  real-life and bringing that to everyone’s desktop!

Here is one trailer Giovanni made: and here is one done by Antonio:

Notice that they are.. the same.

2 Replies to “iLife ’11 First Impressions”

  1. Does iMovie now support direct AVC import and editing? That would be worth $50 alone (stupid slow h.264 conversion process).

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