With great processing power comes great film editing ability. Not really, but iMovie on the iPad 2 offers productivity on the tablet that's almost so essential, it's almost a little silly that the first iPad didn't have it (of course, it didn't really want thunder stolen from it). Now of course, iMovie on the iPad can't offer all that its desktop counterpart can but it's pretty handy for creating uncut finished videos on the go. Now that the iPad contains cameras, it makes even more sense to have a video editing program that can take care of what you shoot. That being said, iMovie on the iPad is very, very basic. For people who use Final Cut Pro, or even Final Cut Express on a regular basis, iMovie can get a little annoying in how basic it it. However, the fundamental philosophy is mobile, and though it can do a little bit more with being mobile, it definitely adds value to videos you have on your iPad.
The design of iMovie makes it simple enough to use. Like most proper video editing programs, it has a timeline, a project window and a bin for your clips. When you open iMovie, it takes you to a nice, cheesy welcome screen of an old school movie theater, with a 'lit up framed poster' of your current project. Other projects you have in cue are also in 'framed posters' but aren't lit up. In the banner of the movie theater you'll see the name of your project, when it was created and how long it is. At the bottom, there's a bar with a help tab, a tab to add a new video, a tab to play the current 'lit' video full screen, a tab to share your video to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo or CNNiReport or add to Camera Roll and/oriTunes, a tab to copy projects from iTunes and a trash tab.
The homescreen with the 'lit' up project you're working with
In the project you're working with, you have a top bar with a tab, "My Projects" which takes you back to the home screen, an Undo tab (very important!) and a Project Settings tab which lets you choose a theme for music, and insert fade ins and fade outs. Above the timeline, you have another bar with a method of inserting media, either via what you have in your Photo Library or by taking pictures or video within the app, a tab to add music and sound effects, a tab to show wavelengths on your timeline, a play button, a method to record audio and another tab to record video.
Thumbnails of still images in the left window, you can make a slideshow with
The timeline is very, very simple looking. It adds layers albeit in a little bit of an unorthodox fashion. A music bed you add will take up the entire timeline lengthwise, up top you have your video layer and below it, you'll have your VO layer as well as sound effects layers. Each layer will show their wavelength should you choose and they're colour co-ordinated by type of layer (for eg. VO recordings can be purple while sound effects can be blue and music beds can be green).
iMovie on the iPad, as said above, is a very basic video editing program. You can alter the duration of clips by cutting them at the head or tail end, but you can't make specific cuts mid clip. The clip library is a little messy and it would really help if you could add labels to your clips. The way the clip window works now is that it provides you with a series of thumbnails from the clip, and you're supposed to know which clip is which depending on the thumbnail. However, sometimes two clips look alike and you'll actually have to play them instead of just knowing them with a glade as you would if they were labeled.
Prop your iPad 2 up and edit
It's nice that the settings include fade ins and fade outs, and gives you an option for themes, however, the themes are a little gimmicky and I wouldn't use them too often. The biggest problem I had with the program is the lack of full control on the timeline itself. As I've mentioned, you can't cut within clips, only change their duration, you can't really play with the length of the music bed, and you can't have it fade in and out with your control. iMovie controls that when you add a sound effect or VO. So if you want the music bed's volume to go down mid clip for some reason, add a sound effect at that point and turn the volume all the way down on the SFX (which you can control by tapping on the layer for the SFX).
With the theme you add to your clips, you can even add text through the theme, but you can't choose which font or size or colour. You can choose whether you want the title in the beginning, middle or end of the clip, however, the title I created stayed through the clip even though I selected 'end'. One thing I wish the app had was even playing around with the colour of the clip. You can't make a clip black and white or sepia tone from within the app which even a generic phone app like Viddy does (granted with Viddy, you can't add a music bed or sound effects to your video).
The one function I do like in this mobile editing program is the ability to record a VO in the program as you're playing a clip, so you know what to say according to the video that's playing. Also, when you put two clips together on the same timeline, you're able to choose to add a dissolve or a plain cut. The same music bed covers both the clips, however, by extending itself and you really can't control this.
Like I said, iMovie on the iPad really doesn't offer any kind of hard core editing but consider this, it's at $4.99 (Rs. 224) which is basically video editing at a steal. Regular iMovie from the Mac App Store (that doesn't come in the iLife package) costs $14.99 (Rs. 674) which for more intense editors might be a better option, but of course, you're missing out the mobile factor. I rated this program 7 on 10, taking points away for some pretty important video editing features that it misses, but at the same time remembering that it's a mobile editing program. It's great for making videos of events, be it birthday parties, product launches, or even the odd everyday thing you see on the street that you might record with your phone, as well as making slide shows with your photos and recording a narrative for it. The ability to share your videos is nice, however, like certain other video sharing and editing programs, it would be better for iMovie if they allowed users to add effects to video, in addition to the sound effects they can already add.
iMovie for the iPad is available from the iOS App Store here.