Alright. I’m sure just the title of this article has half of you cheering and the other half throwing rotten fruit at your monitors hoping it will travel through cyberspace and hit me in the eye. And that’s fair. But hold your skepticism for just one second while I explain myself.
This is not a debate about PCs vs Macs. This is not a debate about why video editors are often stereotypically labeled as Mac lovers. And before you ask, yes, I have used both programs. In fact, it was Windows Movie Maker that allowed me to complete 80% of the projects I worked on for fun before I made video editing into a profession. This is simply my take on the two most commonly used free video editing programs out there.
I’ve broken my argument into three factors; effects, easy-use and upgrading.
(No matter which program you use, free production music is always an easy way to jazz up your project. Download a free production music track here!)
One of my major complaints with Windows Movie Maker is that since there is only one video track, you are extremely limited. iMovie does not necessarily have multiple tracks that you can see, but it does allow you to layer effects and video. A great example of this is iMovie’s green screen tool. By simply dragging one piece of footage on top of another, you have an amazing new effect that might have taken a lot longer in a more complicated editing program. iMovie also allows picture in picture, which again, lets you layer video elements. Windows Movie Maker should be able to take a few of these ideas and make them realities in the next version of their product.
This category is more subjective to the individual, but I find iMovie a little more user friendly than Windows Movie Maker. I like that when you drag video together, a menu automatically pops up with options on how to manipulate the clip. I think that is a great idea for someone who is just learning the program. Plus, iMovie comes with everything you need to get started, meaning you do not have to find extra plug ins to perform special effects or create new graphics.
If you get to a point where you feel comfortable with your video editing and you want to upgrade to a more professional program, I feel strongly that iMovie will better prepare you for the switch. Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X was designed to fill that bridge between novice user and professional editor. There is no equivalent upgrade from Windows Movie Maker, so a transition to a more sophisticated editor might be more difficult.
Is iMovie a perfect program? Absolutely not. To buy a Mac in itself is expensive, making the program less of a value than Windows Movie Maker. It also has some hidden tricks to unlock before you can take full advantage of the program (like making sure you have the ‘Advanced Tools’ option turned on). If you don’t know about these tricks, it can prove to be very frustrating.
What do you think? Should Windows Movie Maker restructure to be as sleek as iMovie? Or is iMovie simply overrated? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!
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