iMovie3 & iDVD: the Missing Manual

by John Hershey

Now that iMovie3.0.3 is here, budding video producers, home moviemakers and indie videographers need no longer be afraid of bugs and crashes prevalent in previous versions. In fact, your free iMovie application is just sitting there on your OSX Mac, waiting for you to dive in. Just make sure you upgrade to version 3.0.3, Quicktime 6.3, and if applicable, iDVD3.

You will need one more thing in order to become an efficient and knowledgeable video editor and distributor. That is iMovie3 & iDVD: The Missing Manual by David Pogue. The creativity is up to you. This friendly and totally comprehensive manual is well organized into five parts:

1. Capturing DV Footage: camcorder selection and necessary features, DV format demystification, and tips to shoot like a pro.

2. Editing in iMovie3: wide-ranging step-by-step instruction in getting your video clips into iMovie3, editing with transitions on a timeline, use of titles and narration, soundtrack layering, and countless tips and insights, including hidden features.

3. Finding Your Audience: Methodology for exporting your masterpiece to DV or VHS tape, CDROM, Quicktime movies, Video CD, email, the web, and even the living room TV. Especially enlightening are the descriptions and recommendations for choosing from all the video and audio codecs in iMovie3 suitable for your particular final delivery media.

4. iDVD3: The Missing Manual: DVD menu templates and your custom design, video clip moving buttons, themes, chapter creation, DVD Slideshows, preparing your video for DVD burning, and secrets of burning and duplication.

5. Appendixes: Explanations of all menus, crucial tips, troubleshooting, and workarounds for hidden preferences and the few bugs that remain in iMovie3. Two of these tips saved my project from chewed-up title type and rendering quality issues.

Author David Pogue continues to be as amazing as he has been in previous Missing Manuals. Straightforward and logically organized content flows as an easy read. Read the Manual front to back for a self-taught crash course in everything you ever needed to know about iMovie3 production. Keep your dog-eared and post-it-ridden copy by your side, while editing, as reference. Any topic you suddenly need to access is easy to find due to the Manual’s clear content organization.

In order to be a typical reader of the manual, I started at the beginning and studied it before purchasing the right DV camcorder for me. I have some experience in shooting, so the pro tips for capturing video were not of major use. However, I had no experience whatsoever with iMovie3, so when it was time to get clips into the program I paid rapt attention to every word in the manual.

It was easy and certainly fun—with the author’s help of course. I also took his advice on the infamous Ken Burns effect while importing still images from my iPhoto library. I panned and zoomed and cross-dissolved the stills judiciously, and the end result was extremely successful.

Paying attention to the book’s audio advice, I was able to bring in music, cut and trim it, overlap cross-fades, adjust volume selectively throughout a clip (a new feature in 3.0.3 which the author lionizes), and extract audio from the imported video so I could shift its position and manipulate it separately. ?is last task was something I would not have even thought of doing had the text not tempted me with simple directions.

Throughout the book there are resources listed for third-party transitions and effects, royalty-free music, and sound effects - all available for download on the Web. I took advantage of this information to get additional transitions.

After finalizing the iMovie3 movie, I consulted the book to compress and export it to a Quicktime movie which I played in full screen mode from the hard drive. Its quality was incredibly good, thank you David Pogue. Next I delved into iDVD3 for more fun customizing the menu interface with chapter buttons. The book provided detailed instructions for all this and the DVD burn process also. My first iMovie3 DVD would not really have been possible, or at least would not have been as easy and enjoyable to create, without iMovie3 & iDVD: The Missing Manual. You may have gotten the point by now. that is, I highly recommend this book.

Pogue Press/O’Reilly & Associates Inc.
by David Pogue