iMovie has always made it impossible to produce advanced slideshows, especially when setting custom Ken Burns start-and-end frames. The problem used to lie with iMovie’s sluggish importing and encoding functions, however the problem seems to have been fixed with iMovie ’08, thanks to Apple’s decision to completely rewrite the application. Encoding and clip manipulation performance is faster than ever, and the new user interface is clean and intuitive.
Previously with iLife ’08, making a fully-customized Ken Burns DVD slideshow was impossible. The closest you could get to a fully-customized slideshow involved making an iPhoto slideshow with custom Ken Burns effects and audio, exporting it to a QuickTime file, and importing it into an iDVD project. However, it was impossible to add and mix multiple audio tracks into the slideshow and iPhoto’s user interface made customizing each photo’s effects awkward. The entire slideshow production workflow just wasn’t thought out very well by Apple.
Thanks to the iMovie code rewrite, photo slideshows are now fully customizable and easy to produce inside iMovie. iMovie is no longer sluggish when importing and encoding photos, start-and-end Ken Burn frames are now easy to manage, and managing multiple audio tracks and transitions are more intuitive than before. iMovie ’08 also has much-improved transition management.
But on the other hand, Apple’s new iMovie rewrite has left a few features out that many will miss, such as movie themes and video effects. Fortunately, the iLife ’08 installer does not remove the previous version of iMovie, instead moving it inside a directory within the Applications folder named “iMovie (previous version)”. Hopefully Apple is already working on implementing the various features they left behind with iMovie ’06 into the new iMovie in a future software update, because once iMovie has those great features back it will once again become the easiest-to-use, most stable, and most fully-featured movie production application.