My first iMovie

by Volker Weber


I do not own a DV cam. So last night I cut my first iMovie — instead of sleeping. Hey, one can sleep at the end of the month. :-) A few things I learned:

1. Ripping from DV cam takes up a lot of disk space. I had about 100 minutes of footage, each 9 minutes and 27 seconds take 2 gigabyte of disk space. I actually had to borrow an external FireWire disk to complete the task.

2. Snoopy is very well capable of handling this, however I moved the external disk to Lucy because she has a lot more screen estate.

3. iMovie is really easy to learn. I knew absolutely nothing about the task I was trying to get done and it was all smooth sailing. This program has exactly the feature set I needed. One thing that did not work: I set the program to automatically start a new clip for each scene while importing, but it never did that.

4. It takes a very long time to tweak a movie until I like it, especially when the footage consists of 90% waving the camera around. I had to do a lot of cuts where the camera was panned from left to right and back.

5. You have to be consistent. You can only cut over from a left-to-right pan to another left-to-right pan. Always try to keep moving things in the same direction. I had to reverse a few clips that where the wrong way. Look out for people moving backwards. :-)

6. You don't cut audio and video at the same point. You better let the audio for the next scene start before you cut the video over. This feels much more natural.

I am very pleased with the results. The final movie is 28 minutes out of 100 minutes footage. If I had not cut the story short I could have done around 40 minutes maximum. I think the whole project from screening the footage to burning the DVD took around ten hours. This includes learning to use iMovie.


Congrats on your first iMovie. I too found it very easy to use. Was this done with iLife 4.0 iMovie or with the older version. I can't wait to get my hands on iLife 4.0.

Bruce Elgort, 2004-01-10

It was done with the current version, whichever that is. Apple does not make an exception for me. I won't have it in my hands before you do.

Volker Weber, 2004-01-10

That'd be iMovie 3... which has a very limited list of compatible cameras. I hope this changes as new versions come out.

For example, my Panasonic camera is just four months old, and has the requisite DV output plus dire PC-only software. It is not supported in iMovie: only about three Panasonic cameras are.


Ben Poole, 2004-01-11

Not to worry. The camera I ripped the video from is an unsupported JVC model. Just plug it in.

Volker Weber, 2004-01-11

Ah, and while we are at it: There is a teenie-weenie control under the viewer with a camera and scissors. Move that to the left to switch to the camera.

Volker Weber, 2004-01-11

iMovie 4 adds the ability to perform non-destructive edits on clips (if I followed the introduction correctly on Tuesday), rather than forcing the user to split the clip at the playhead, as in previous versions. This should make the inevitable tweaking of clips much more productive.

I hope that the rendering for pans and zooms is improved ('the Ken Burns effect'), although the third-party tools available are superb. I also hope that the render quality of titles is improved in the new version.

If enough disk space is available to work with adequate source materials (3-5x the source video needed by amateurs like myself) iMovie is absolutely addictive. Improvements in integration with iTunes and iPhoto have made it even more enjoyable.

David Richardson, 2004-01-11

Is there any cance to see the result ? ;-))

Schweppes, 2004-01-11

Nope. That video is not for public consumption.

Volker Weber, 2004-01-11

Not to worry. The camera I ripped the video from is an unsupported JVC model. Just plug it in.

Interesting... more justification for that new Mac then ;-)

Ben Poole, 2004-01-11

Hi Volker,

good to find this webpage and to hear from you again. Its been a long time since we talked. Anyways, congrats to have moved into the macintosh space as well. I thought you´d be still into OS/2 and am happy to read this page.


armin, 2004-02-15

Does anyone know if imovie 3 projects will work in imovie 4? I am thinking about upgrading to panther and the whole new ilife suite. If they are compatible I will do it for sure. Thanks

John, 2004-04-03

This may be a dumb question as I never read manuals. All I'm try to do is apply one effect to about a 2 minute .avi file and export it for quicktime. Everytime I try and export it tells me it's "still rendering a title or effect". How can you tell that your effects and titles are done rendering os you don't have to keep attempting export until it lets you?!?!?

Theo, 2004-04-27

I am looking for some help on this.
Many years ago I saw a five min. or so video on late nite tv that has
stuck in my throat all these years.

It was a composite, image/voice visual poem.

The images were taken from the Nez Perce forced march and they were set to the tonality/rhythm of the narrators voice. The voice was that of a descendant of Joseph and was very special. The images triggered by in a rhythm with the voice that drifted in and out of sync to produce a wonderful effect.

Is anyone famiiliar with this work.

Thanks for taking the time


Russ Gray, 2005-05-04

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