iMovie ‘08 SUCKS

Oh. My. God. How could Apple do that???

At a first glance, I got excited about iMovie ‘08. In fact, for those who read my blog posts or forum posts on video forums, iMovie is the No1 application I recommend to newbies. But not anymore.

The new version of iMovie, is completely rewritten. While they added some nice features (e.g. AVCHD), they removed some others which are simply too important to be removed. There is no timeline view anymore. There is no iDVD integration anymore. You can’t “see” your audio timeline anymore. There are no chapter markers anymore. Cutting is not precise anymore but a matter of approximation.

It’s like they took iMovie, they added a couple of flashy things, and they made it even more useless as the version of iMovie that was shipping in 2001. I am extremely disappointed by this. The only good thing is, Apple seems to know that their new version sucks, and so owners of iLife ‘08, can download for free the iMovie ‘06 version and install it in parallel (although you will have no AVCHD support with that older version). If you have a G5+ that is, as the new iLife won’t run on G4 computers.

And before you reply about Final Cut Express HD: it is now an old version, and it costs $300. On the PC side equivalent prosumer apps don’t cost more than $130 and they can do more too (e.g. Vegas Movie Studio 8 Platinum does more than Final Cut Express for less than half the price, complete with 24p and some AVCHD support). So either Final Cut Express HD must be both be updated and get a price-cut, or in my book, there is no NLE in the Mac world (except iMovie ‘06) that is useful right now to consumers.

Update: A particularly critical of the new iMovie thread over at Apple’s board was deleted by the admins. Only to see the topic sprang again within minutes. Other topics also show how problematic iMovie ‘08 is.


Adam Scheinberg wrote on August 9th, 2007 at 8:29 AM PST:

On the other hand… I have never used iMovie successfully, so I am going to be learning it COMPLETELY FRESH. I just got back from buying iLife ‘08 and I am going to experiment with iMovie for the first time. It will be interesting to see if the trade-off is that experienced people hate it but noobs to the app love it.

Also, I cannot believe they still don’t have an iVideo for managing video libraries outside of iTunes. Do that many people really want to keep their MP3s and all of their videos in a single library?

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Eugenia wrote on August 9th, 2007 at 8:47 AM PST:

Adam, you might like it because simply you don’t know what you are missing. When I started with video editing, I liked iMovie ‘05 just fine. As time was going by and I wanted more flexibility, I knew I needed to move on to something else. The problem with iMovie ‘08 is that I think you will hit that “wall” much faster than I did, simply because ‘08 is a downgrade to ‘06 in terms of features. Please install (if you already don’t have it) iMovie 06 in parallel to ‘08. It will be really handy before you know it.

As for video library, there is a nice pro app out there, I read a review of it a few months ago, can’t remember its name. It cost about $60 I think, but it was well-made.

Are you getting a camcorder btw?

Kees Wibra wrote on August 9th, 2007 at 10:53 AM PST:

I 100% agree.
I am a iMovie lover and Mac software reviewer. Using iMovie from version 1.0 and trained many new Mac users. In addition I use FCE and FCP. Yet always iMovie has proven to be the tool to get great results in a short time. I edited in iMovie approximately 100 movies.
The new iMovie is extremely sluggish and unusefull on my iMac G5. On my MacBook iMovie 08 feels like iMovie 1.0: the code needs polishing. More important: all the features which help me create what my creativity wants are gone. Now we have an instant movie maker app for dummies with canned result. This is not a serious editing programme. I wished the inventor stayed longer on his diving trip and did not mess with iMovie.

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Eugenia wrote on August 9th, 2007 at 11:11 AM PST:

> I wished the inventor stayed longer on his diving trip and did not mess with iMovie.

Hehe… I wonder if piranhas ate some of his brain. :D

I agree with you. iMovie ‘08 is one step forward (better HD support), but three to five steps back in flexibility. IMO, it’s a joke.

Greg wrote on August 10th, 2007 at 5:02 AM PST:

Your observations are on target. I’ve both produced with and taught i-movie for years, as part of my digital audio and media program. When I rushed out and bought ‘08 last night, I was astounded for about 20 minutes with the “new” features, before the reality of what it could no longer do set in.

And then it hit me: This is no longer i-movie, but u-movie as it’s clearly part of Apples obsession with all things YOU-Tube right now. But even my students who post their creations on YOU-Tube aren’t going to like this version.

For me, the absence of a timeline is unthinkable, particularly the loss of the symbiotic relationship between the clips and the audio.

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Eugenia wrote on August 11th, 2007 at 1:30 AM PST:

Exactly. What is really missing from iMovie 06 is scrubbing and AVCHD support. If they would promise to add these two features, fix a couple of bugs and release support versions that work with newer versions of OSX, home users need NOTHING else!

But instead of taking that EASY way out (which is actually a cheap way), they rewrote the damn thing from scratch and made it way worse!

Steve wrote on August 11th, 2007 at 2:04 AM PST:

I am really disappointed for a couple reasons. I am a recent mac convert – going on 3 years now, and mac has done everything right, and more importantly, I have felt like the Apple folks talked to you straight. I feel like Jobs in his launch of iMovie 08 just assumed we were dopes – that we would fall for all the hoopla. This is the part that frustrates. I have patience for great brands. I feel like he went overboard in his emotions about iMovie, and I would prefer he talk to his customers straight next time. I am quite confused about the product strategy. iMovie 06 (which is what I am once again using), iMovie ‘08 (nice for .mac integration) Final Cut Express, Final Cut Pro. By the way, same question with iPhoto and Aperture. What is the strategy here? I have both, and am now moving all my photos back into iPhoto. Events are definitely nice as is skimming. Oh, and when I upgraded from Photoshop CS2 to CS3 – I actually got more features not less !

Apple’s Software product management, and overall communication to the market is broken. They need to articulate their product strategy much better. And I am not talking hoopla, just straight talk. The legions of faithful mac users will understand and support you all the way !

Kees Wibra wrote on August 11th, 2007 at 10:17 AM PST:

After my first disappointment of iLife 08 and the lack of many things which where in iMovie 06, I started to make movies in iMovie 08.

On my ‘old’ iMac G5 1,8 Ghz with 2GB Ram the user experience is terrible slow. Not useable.

On my MacBook iLife works great. When the skimming etc is without slowdown; the workflow is an interesting new approach of the Apple team. In fact the cropping of clips is superior to iMovie 06. The themes are nice etc. Yes we need an update to get some basic stuff in and bugs solved but the new interface and workflow might result in an iMovie 08 which is far superior to iMovie 06.

We have to be patient…

Kees Wibra wrote on August 11th, 2007 at 10:57 AM PST:

Okay I agree iMovie 08 is less feature rich than iMovie 06.

Indeed I made a few movies with iMovie 08 in a snap. The workflow works. The library view is way better than FCE or FCP (apps I also use and have been trained for). For instance in iMovie 08 there is in indicator in the files in the library to show what sections are used. I miss this in FCE or FCP. In addition iMovie 08 seems NON DESTRUCTIVE!!! to the original footage. This is like FCE and FCP. On the contrary iMovie 06 is destructive to original footage when applying filters, transitions and titles. Selecting clips is also better in iMovie 08 than iMovie 06.


I cannot get iMovie to work regarding sound. Even the supposed cooperation with Garageband is not intuitive.

What if Apple made this:
The timeline with audio tracks interface from Garageband in the iMovie Library pane when pressed on a timeline button. The library view is needed in the beginning of the workflow. The sound editing is done when the library view is not needed. Thus make it possible to swop it with a Garageband timeline with several Audio tracks. In this track interface we can lower volumes etc.

Would be great!

cosmix wrote on August 11th, 2007 at 12:54 PM PST:

Its surprising that Apple came up with such an update to a very successful product and its (typically over the top) presentation; with the exception of ’scrubbing’, there seems to be no improvement whatsoever in the workflow between the two programs. On the contrary, iMovie was (arguably) superior in many ways, despite it being a very basic editor.

Still, there are several possible arguments for the reasoning behind Apple’s move:

1. There’s very little competition for video editing application on the Mac at that level/price. Apple did not *really* have to improve iMovie.

2. FCE is long-due for an update and Apple might have thought that a better iMovie than the 2006 version could cannibalise its sales. By dumbing it down it paves the way for higher sales as it will undoubtedly ‘persuade’ those that care for the more elaborate editing features to switch to FCE. Especially if the price of the latter goes down to — say — US$200.

3. iMovie’06, despite the obvious advantages over the newer version, was an aging application with many flaws. Time was probably ripe for a rewrite. This could be yet another typical Apple “1.0″ app.

If they really wanted to, they could have easily added ’scrubbing’, the new ‘Library’ and AVCHD support to the old codebase.

Matthew wrote on August 12th, 2007 at 8:28 AM PST:

iMovie ‘08 sucks. I use both Final Cut Pro and iMovie HD extensively in my job and after playing with iMovie ‘08 to do a simple 5 minute video I just stopped and went back to iMovie HD. No timeline? No chapter markers? No effects? WTF were they thinking? I expected more features in this “upgrade” and instread got an idiots video program from 2001. At first I simply thought it was nonintuitive but then I realixed, that’s not it. It simply doesn’t have the features.
No timeline!?!?!??!!? Come on! Steve Jobs ripped me off. I want my $80 back. If it’s true that they went this route to encourage people to buy Final Cut Express will they soon ruin Garage Band and remove that timeline so people will by Logic Express?

anonymous wrote on August 13th, 2007 at 3:45 AM PST:

the new imovie is nothing more than a flashy GUI on top of quicktime.
Just thought I would let you know why there aren’t as many features yet.. hopefully soon (08?) there will be another minor release that brings those things back.

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Eugenia wrote on August 13th, 2007 at 6:40 AM PST:

Problem with FCE is that it has not updated for 2 years now, so it has no good HDV and mostly AVCHD support. For the $300 FCE to be a good upgrade, Apple must update its features.

Karsten Schlüter wrote on August 13th, 2007 at 2:35 AM PST:

Hi Eugenia,
.. just stumbled over your blog.. I would like to comment here, you probably know me from iM boards at AD … :

I’m a iM user since vers. 2/Sys9 … I grew with the product, got a Frequent Contributer at the boards, got a lot of geethree plug-ins and even did my StarWars fanproject for my lil’ son mainly with iM..

The new iM08, I like to call it iM-EZ, is totally new from the ground, re-written, getting rid of old codes and old paradigms..

.. and that is the problem: you do expect from 6 >> 7 an upgrade, an enhancement, add-ons, additional features (as 5 >>6: Themes) .. we now see no themes, no effects, no chapters, no audio processing, no Quartz, less transitions.. that seems to be a step backwards (.. many steps backwards) …

allthough, iLife is for beginners, for non-users, for the plug’n play Youtube generation. the new skimming feature is awesome! I had the chance to try it on sunday… if you don’t have/need audio (scuba diving is silent) nor a second video source: the new ‘beyond-realtime clip/line-view’ is groundbraking!

if you get rid of your learned habituals over the years, think different!, iM-EZ is excellence in User Experience.

and it is vers. Zil of a new app…-
cause, iM-EZ is NOT iMovie …

speculations are not allowed over there at AD, but I’m pretty sure and speak out loud here, we see in October the first mayor update… this version is just a ‘case study’, a public User Interface Test … beta. ;)

… and I’m pretty sure, after years of using iMovie happiely, I’m a happy switcher to FCE… which is the last video edit app from Apple which does NOT support the many formats, which are on the market..
I’ll keep my money for vers. 4 of FCE (and DVD-Express?) .. and will watch patiently, what will happen to that new.. app.

greetings from Munich!! ^-^

cutter wrote on August 14th, 2007 at 3:30 AM PST:

I feel like Jobs misled me. You can not find a bigger Steve Jobs fan than me, but I feel like he blew it with this “amazing” new imovie 08. Compared to the features of imovie HD it STINKS ! The interface is cool. And I was excited to get the same features from imovie HD in this groovy new interface. I even bought iLife just to install it next to my versions of Avid and Final Cut Pro. I was thinking that for quick cutting of simple projects this would get me there even faster than my pro apps because it has this steamlined interface.

But nooooooo. It is a weakling compared to the old imovie. No decent audio control, loss of rubber banding and weak video fx. The title tool has some promise. But I’m angry. I feel like it should have been named iTube or iVideo or something other than imovie 8 ! Ripped off and disappointed. I thought I was going to get something pretty revolutionary, something I could cut with on my mac book pro and my quad pro at work and was going to lead the charge on a new day dawning. But no ! I got got this toy. Instead of a brand new and cleaner interface than either Final Cut Pro or Avid boasts – that had some real tools under the hood – we got hood winked.

christopher wrote on August 14th, 2007 at 4:46 AM PST:

I linked your blog to mine so others can see how crappy the new ILife is.

Joe wrote on August 17th, 2007 at 2:00 AM PST:

I was 2 days away from buying the new IMAC until I read the negative comments on the Imovie 08. I am retired and plan to transfer many family VCR tapes to DVD to share with my family. I have been researching Apple vs PC with Adobe for 2 years and had decided on Apple (up until the negative comments) based on discussions I had with pre-Imovie 08 users. Those users, including David Pogue of the NYT, now say no to Imovie 08. I know I could still get the earlier version via download but that is not a good solution. Any ideas before I buy a PC with Adobe?

Phil wrote on August 17th, 2007 at 7:55 AM PST:

I am just 100% disgusted with iMovie o8. It has been ‘dumb’afied… As a full time film editor of Hollywood feature films, who lectures and teaches editing and uses iMove as a way to introduce basic principals to students- there is NOTHING in iMovie 08 that has ANY relievence to REAL film making. To get a good editor takes years of learning timing and technical skills in audio and video. This is nothing more than an excuse for talentless, lazy people to call themselves film makers… and claim 4 seconds on you tube- which by complete co incidence is changing from being flash based to apple quicktime H.264 based soon… gosh…P#ssed off after preaching apple for years…

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Eugenia wrote on August 17th, 2007 at 9:28 AM PST:

I hear ya. David Pogue of NYTimes wrote a good article on the situation btw.

Dan Connolly wrote on August 17th, 2007 at 10:21 AM PST:

I’ve loved iMovie since the OS 9 version. I’ve done lots of family video and some corporate video for my clients and it was an amazing piece of software, just what you would expect from Apple. I’v converted many people from PC to Mac solely on the strength of iMovie touting its ease of use and integration with the other iApps.

This piece of crap shouldn’t even be called iMovie. I don’t think you can even extract audio from a clip on this thing.

It looks like Apple decided to replace the real iMovie with this poor excuse for a clip manager in order to get more people to shell out for FCE and FCP. Don’t fool yourselves iMOVIE AS WE’VE KNOWN IT IS GONE, NEVER TO RETURN!!!!


I’m sure Apple has already discontinued support for 06 and sooner that later Apple will stop making 06 available all together.

Ricky Mondello wrote on August 17th, 2007 at 10:47 AM PST:

I actually cut together a video about this, using the new iMovie, and put it on YouTube. Your readers might like it. Linky to video.

Aaron wrote on August 19th, 2007 at 7:28 AM PST:

I’ve noticed a few misconceptions in a few posts. While I too am disappointed in iMovie ‘08, that disappointment has lessened as I’ve been learning more about it. I have posted How To’s on a few things that people were used to doing in iMovie HD. You might find these useful:

How to add chapter markers: 1

How to extract audio: 2

How to fade audio within a clip: 3

How to send a movie to iDVD: 4

Anyway, I plan on doing more of these as I have time. If any of you have requests on specific features, drop me a line.

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