Graphic iMove '08 & iDVD - The Missing ManualiMove '08 & iDVD - The Missing Manual

iMove '08 & iDVD - The Missing Manual
Author: David Pogue
Publisher: Pogue Press/O'Reilly Press
Retail Price: $39.99

David Pogue, the author and creator of the Missing Manual series of books, is the New York Times technology columnist and a CBS News correspondent. His renowned style of user-friendly technical writing is revered by we hard-core MacHeads.

Therefore, when I read Mr. Pogue literally "trashing" the new iMovie '08 in his NYT online column, I was intrigued and wanted to read his latest Missing Manual about the very application he called "totally misnamed. It's not iMovie at all." He also wrote about his disappointment that the new iMovie - unlike the previous version - has no timeline, no audio editing, and no visual effects. Mr. Pogue's comments were harsh and he was unmercifully critical.

I eagerly opened the book, wondering just how the author had managed to write 500 pages about an application he seems to dislike in its new incarnation. I was surprised at what I found.

After reiterating his disappointment, the author starts to convince the reader that iMovie '08 is "a different program, with a different focus and a different audience. But it's here to stay, and it has charms of its own."

OK, I get it. This Missing Manual convinced me that iMovie '08 is a pretty pleasant and efficient way to edit digital video. To take the book to task, as well as the application, I hooked up my new HD camcorder and proceeded to follow the step-by-step, only-as-David-Pogue-can-explain-it, manual. In a surprisingly short time, I edited my movie into a perfectly smooth, quality piece of digital media.

iMovie '08 & iDVD - The Missing Manual has color illustrations - primarily screen shots of the interface and workings of the application. They are very helpful to understand the process, especially when editing in this very tactile and visual program. A picture is worth - well, you know how that goes - and the new interface nuances are clearly shown and explained.

There are additional treats. Under the umbrella title of "Part One: Shooting Great Video," the chapters include A Field Guide to Camcorders, Turning Home Video into Pro Video, and Special Event Filming. These topics, as well as the meat of the book, "Part Two: Editing in iMovie," can be read "cover to cover" or accessed piecemeal as a reference book.

One of the most valuable sections, "Part Three: Finding Your Audience," clearly explains export procedures to iPod, iPhone, uTube and other topical formats. As the book explains, Apple is adding fuel to the fire of electronic format viewing over "old" tape and DVD media. "Part Four: iDVD '08" is worthwhile to update you on the new iDVD. "Part Five: Appendixes" includes a line-by-line explanation of menus, troubleshooting, master keyboard shortcuts, and a visual cheat sheet.

Certainly, Final Cut Express or Pro are more suited to editing the more intense, complicated video project. But for "the rest of us" who want to turn our camcorder videography into media masterpieces of wedding, vacation, or event documentation, iMovie '08 does the job easily and quickly. And iMovie '08 & iDVD - The Missing Manual will painlessly teach you how to create the media that will amaze your friends, and even amaze yourself.

Review by NCMUG member John Hershey