Apple iLife '05 review:

Apple iLife '05

If you like moving images more than stills, iMovie HD handles beginner and intermediate users' needs as well. In addition to support for MPEG-4, iSight, and DV footage, you can import and edit high-definition (HDV 720p and 1080i) video. While this is not a widespread format right now, it was good of Apple to include the functions for early adopters and future users.

Apple simplified work within iMovie HD with most operations--adding DV clips, music, images, and effects--performed by dragging and dropping your content.

Editing within iMovie HD is intuitive; simply drag and drop imported clips onto the timeline at the bottom of the interface. However, to make the experience less frustrating, you'll need a moderately powerful system. We tested iLife on a 1.25GHz G4 PowerBook with 512MB of memory, a configuration close to the $499 Mac Mini. While we were able to complete most tasks without significant slowdowns, we experienced some stuttering and glitches during playback and rendering.

Those new to iMovie or editing digital video in general will appreciate the new Magic iMovie feature that takes you through the process of assembling a movie from uploading video from your camera, through adding transitions and music, to importing your creation to iDVD.

iDVD, in fact, is the ending place for most projects created in iMovie and iPhoto. The app adds all the extras to your DVD projects, such as chapter menus, menu transitions, and themes. Apple included 15 new themes with animated drop zones--small areas that you can drop still images or video clips onto that move across the screen--to add a creative punch to your projects. These worked well, but iDVD's 15 themes lack variety (though you can still use the unanimated themes from previous iDVD versions), and they were a touch too sentimental for us.

Within iDVD, you can quickly tailor your DVD's themes, add images from iPhoto, change titling fonts, and pick background music.

For those who don't feel like editing or adding features to their digital video, iDVD offers a direct-to-DVD feature that will import footage from your camera and put it straight onto a DVD.

Apple provides free software support by telephone, e-mail, or online chat for 90 days. After that, you'll have to use its extensive getting-started and help files, online support pages, and iLife community discussion boards to resolve any issues.

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