Saturday, November 28, 2009

iMovie 09 and iDVD for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide

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Typically, Peachpit's Visual Quickstart Guide jumps you into a program giving you the "quickstart" to get working and obtain a basic understanding of the program. This book didn't follow that theme as closely as others in the series, but it's still an excellent guide to iMovie 09. If you buy only one book on iMovie, I firmly believe this should be the one. It's short, straightforward and highly accessible to someone who has never used a video camera before.

The book starts off with the essentials of movie making on your Mac, discussing important topics such as AV equipment, movie planning, lighting and composition. These preliminary chapters are an absolute gem. While I've worked with iMovie before, I never really understood the essentials of lighting, focus, and composition. A great iMovie starts out with the fundamentals and the first five chapters of the book are devoted to just this.

Next, the book gives you a "Make a Movie in a Hurry" overview of iMovie so you can quickly complete a task and have some initial success. Then, the author goes in detail about iMovie in a logical progression as to how the typical project would go: importing, editing, and exporting. Throughout the chapters the author includes tips and tricks not just about the usage of iMovie, but why a user should care about certain functions. Knowing all the features of iMovie doesn't really help unless you know how to use them in your projects to enhance your work. After reading this book, I understood much more of the power of iMovie and how to use the features of iMovie to make better movies.

Ironically, what's missing from the book is a guide to iDVD. One small chapter is devoted to iDVD and then the author directs you to his website for another 60 or so pages of iDVD info: http://ptgmedia.pearsoncmg.com/images/9780321601322/supplements/iDVD_Addendum.pdf That's my major con of the book: the title is extremely misleading. This is NOT a book about iDVD, it's strictly about iMovie. I can't imagine why the book was titled and distributed the way it was.

Pros: Easy to understand, accessible
Cons: No iDVD printed materials in book

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Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right