March 16, 2011

My Review of iMovie for iOS 1.2 at Macworld

A stomach bug kept me from completing this a day earlier, but now my review of iMovie for iOS 1.2, the latest version that works on the iPad 2, iPhone 4, and fourth-generation iPod touch, is now online: Review: iMovie for iOS 1.2. I found some holes and limitations, but overall it's a great, friendly app.

02:15 PM in Articles and Books, Digital Video, Handhelds/iPhone/iPad/Palm, Movies, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 06, 2011

iLife ’11 on the New Mac App Store

Apple today released Mac OS X 10.6.6, notable for including the Mac App Store. I think the App Store is a great thing for most Mac users, providing a clean, understandable way to buy and install applications. (I can't tell you the number of times I've helped someone with a Mac who has been confused about where a downloaded installer is, how to open it, how to run an installer, and then what to do with the disk image that gets created.)

With the Mac App Store, you buy an application, it's downloaded to your Applications folder, and placed in the Dock. It will also provide app updates, just as the iOS App Store does.

The iLife ’11 suite is also available, with a couple of interesting twists:

  • You can buy the latest iPhotoiMovie, or GarageBand applications separately for $14.99 each. If you don't care about GarageBand, for example, you don't need to pay for it by buying the entire suite as a retail box.
  • However, those are the only iLife ’11 apps available from the Mac App Store. iDVD and iWeb (neither of which were updated for iLife ’11, but which are included in the boxed set) are not available. So, if you wanted the entire suite, you're better off paying $4.03 more to buy the packaged version with all five apps (or currently $3.27 more from

If you already own iLife ’11, the apps appear as "Installed" in the App Store. Based on what I'm reading from some Mac developers, only updates for applications purchased from the App Store will be available using the Updates feature; so, you'll still need to run Software Update (from the Apple menu) to get the latest versions.

Mac App Store

01:22 PM in Digital Video, Macintosh | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 27, 2010

My Macworld iMovie ’11 Review


Macworld has now posted my review of iMovie ’11. I gave it 4.5 mice, up from the 4 mice I gave iMovie ’09 largely due to the inclusion of audio editing features that have finally caught up (and slightly exceeded) those of the late, lamented iMovie HD 6.

Putting together a video last night drove that home: I was able to isolate some sections where the shutter click from my still camera was overwhelming. To do so, I selected the portion of the audio where a spike appeared in the waveform, and dragged the Volume bar down to zero. However, that left a noticeable gap of silence.

So, instead I selected the clip, detached the audio, then trimmed it down so that just a section of background noise was active. The video clip is automatically muted when you detach the audio, so I un-muted it, placed the background noise clip over the shutter click, and lastly reduced the volume where the spike occurs. Here's the finished product:


The green waveform at the bottom of the screenshot belongs to the background music track; I've reduced the volume to about 40 percent so it isn't competing with the audio from the video. (I tried turning on ducking for the video clips, which reduces other tracks automatically, but doing so negated the purple background noise fragment clips. It was easier to adjust the background track volume where I needed it.)

Here's the finished video:

10:41 AM in Articles and Books, Digital Video, Macintosh, Movies, Photography | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 13, 2010

Fremont Fog

[Update: Sorry, I accidentally flagged the video as private. It's now public.]

Looking for some serenity? This is what greeted me when I came to work this morning.

Be sure to view it in HD. Shot with a Canon PowerShot G12, edited in iMovie.

04:12 PM in Digital Video, Photography | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 26, 2009

Two New Articles Posted this Week

My latest Seattle Times column is online, which is about when my wife's MacBook drive exploded and how I recovered her data: You can't have too many backups for Mac hard drives.

In my most recent iMovie column for Macworld, I look at several methods for stretching the boundaries of iMovie's editing interface: Maximize Your iMovie Editing Space (26 October 2009).

02:07 PM in Articles and Books, Digital Video, General, Macintosh | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 17, 2009

Organize Your iMovie Video Library

Macworld has published an article of mine: Organize Your iMovie Video Library. Learn how to mark video as favorites, assign keywords, and get your video library under control.

01:22 PM in Articles and Books, Digital Video, Macintosh | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 06, 2009

New Article: Five Cool and Useful Techniques for iMovie '09 and iDVD has posted an article I wrote about iMovie and iDVD: Five Cool and Useful Techniques for iMovie '09 and iDVD.

And remember: You can download the iDVD portion of my book for free here (PDF).

10:48 AM in Articles and Books, Digital Video, Macintosh | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 26, 2009

My Seattle Times Review of the iPhone 3GS

My review of the iPhone 3GS is now live on the Seattle Times Web site, a day ahead of when it's scheduled to appear in print. I like the new iPhone quite a bit; Apple sent me a review unit, but I had also ordered one the day it was announced.

I skipped the iPhone 3G last year because the iPhone OS 2.0 software provided all the improvement I needed; I did buy one for my wife (see my TidBITS article "iPhone 3G: On the Line in Seattle"). But partially due to the fact that I write about Apple and technology for a living, and due to new features like the compass (which many people will tell you I need) and the improved speed overall, I decided it was time to move up.

Here's a link to some of the photos and videos I took to demonstrate the camera: iPhone 3GS Review Seattle Times. (I also discovered a bug: when uploading a photo or video to MobileMe, the first album it lists can't be deselected; so in my case, anything I upload goes into a password-protected album I set up for a photo client, which I then have to move to the album I want using the MobileMe Gallery interface on my computer.)

03:13 PM in Articles and Books, Digital Video, Macintosh | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 29, 2009

Download the iDVD portion of my book for FREE!

idvd_addendum_page.jpgClick here to download the PDF (6.2 MB).

When Apple revealed iMovie '09 at Macworld Expo this year, I was thrilled to see so many new features compared to iMovie '08. (You can read my Macworld review of iMovie '09 here.) But that also created a problem: my publisher needed the book to stay within a certain page count to avoid increasing the price of the book—remember, this is a full-color book printed on good paper. I knew I couldn't fit everything into the book.

As it turns out, Apple made my job easier. iDVD wasn't updated at all, so I made the decision to do something unusual: I removed the iDVD section from the printed book and am offering it as a free download to anyone who wants it. That freed up the pages needed to cover all of iMovie's new and changed features (and, in fact, the book's retail price is lower than the previous edition, now $24.99 compared to $29.99!).

Don't worry, the printed book still contains all the essential information you need to use iDVD. I added an iDVD Overview chapter that walks you through the steps of creating an iDVD project, and the "Archiving, Encoding, and Burning" chapter is there, too.

So what's in the free download? More than 70 pages of all the ins and outs of creating and editing an iDVD project, including:

  • Customizing themes
  • Customizing individual elements such as buttons, backgrounds, and text
  • Creating DVD slideshows
  • Using the Map, drop zones, OneStep DVD, Magic iDVD, and more.
  • A full index to the addendum, to make it easy to find the information you're looking for.

If you don't own the print book, this free iDVD addendum will give you an idea of what the book is like: easy, step-by-step walkthroughs of how to do everything, with lots of color screenshots.

The PDF also includes a deal in the back to buy the book at 35% off when you order directly from Peachpit Press!

02:20 PM in Books, Digital Video, Macintosh, Movies | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 28, 2007

Projects Project Projects!

The past few months have been some of the busiest of my professional life, mostly due to a confluence of deadlines that I expected would be spread out over a longer period of time. But since I mostly write about Apple and the Mac, I never know when new products are going to hit. In this case, they hit all at once. Here's what has kept me up until 1 or 2 a.m. most nights over the last three months.

iMovie ’08 & iDVD ’08 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide: When Apple announced iLife ’08 with a completely rewritten version of iMovie, I knew I was in for a lot more work than I expected. I just received my first author copy of the book, and it looks great! I've almost completely rewritten the iMovie section to account for the changes in this version, including a new chapter on managing video (one of iMovie's hidden strengths, with keywording and marking features), and of course tips and tricks for using iMovie to its fullest. Amazon has the book now for just $16.49; if you click the link above, I get a small piece of the purchase, in case you want to help your favorite author (and hopefully that's me).

I've also just finished helping another Peachpit Press author update portions of his book, but since I'm not a listed co-author, I'm hesitant to name the title until it's available (which is very soon). In this case, I ended up doing most of the work in an extremely short amount of time due to scheduling issues. Getting 12 hours of sleep over three days while also entertaining visiting family is fun, to a degree, but not something I recommend often.

In addition to book projects, I've recently written several articles, in reverse-chronological order:

In the midst of this, I've been preparing to become a father, a big project indeed!

11:31 AM in Articles and Books, Digital Video, Macintosh | Permalink | Comments (0)