iMovie Gets Huge, Awesome Upgrades, But Leaves One Or Two Big Holes

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This is it — we’re entering a golden age of video. Thanks to processor and camera upgrades that allow phones and tablets to shoot high-quality video, edit them then turn around and very quickly share them with pretty much any audience.

Apple has obviously realized this, and beefed up the populist iMovie, on both the Mac and iOS.

This is the biggest update to the iOS version of iMovie since its arrival over three years ago. Of all the new features, three look like they really sing. The first is video wizardry in the form of split-screen, picture-in-picture and slow-motion controls, the latter made possible by the slow-mo, 120 fps capture setting in the new iPhone 5s (if you haven’t played around with this yet, I strongly recommend you find someone with an iPhone 5s willing to let you play with it and give it a whirl; it’s fantastically super-awesome).

Then there’re the major enhancements to audio controls — the ability to cut and edit audio, duplicate audio clips and replace audio from one clip with audio from another (and more). Finally, Apple has made it even easier to share clips with AirDrop and iMovie Theater, which sends clips to iCloud — a little like Apple’s version of YouTube.

But the really good stuff has gone to iMovie on the Mac. And there’s lots of it — sophisticated stuff like color-matching between two different clips, the ability to adjust highlights, shadows and color temperature, improved stabilization and the ability to adjust the speed of the clips in the timeline. Of course, it’s no Final Cut Pro; but the inclusion of real editing tools means iMovie is growing up quickly — and for most of us, will strike the perfect balance between strong features and simplicity.

Still, I can’t help but feel Apple left some big holes they might easily have filled.

Where’s the ability to collaborate between several shooters, like the new app Cameo is capable of? Bravo, Apple, for finally launching your version of Google Docs that allows users to collaborate on iWork docs using iCloud. But couldn’t you have brought something similar to iMovie?

And what about simple video effects for the iOS version? If the whole idea of the iPad is freedom from a desktop, budding directors will need better creative tools at their disposal. And unlike iPhoto, which, as my colleague Charlie points out, is now strikingly better on the iOS than it is on the Mac, iMovie on iOS still looks somewhat toothless, especially now.

About the author

Eli MilchmanWhen he was eight, Eli Milchman came home from frolicking in the Veld one day and was given an Atari 400. Since then, his fascination with technology has made him an intrepid early adopter of whatever charming new contraption crosses his path — which explains why he's Cult of Mac's test editor-at-large. He calls San Francisco home, where he works as a journalist and photographer. Eli has contributed to the pages of Wired.com and BIKE Magazine, among others. Hang with him on Twitter.

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