iLife '08: Impressions & Discussion

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Craig S, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    OK, I installed iLife '08 and have played with it VERY briefly. Here are some initial impressions:

    iPhoto

    iPhoto will upgrade your library when you first open it. I only have a few photos on this MacBook Pro. It went quickly, but I have no real idea how long a large library will take until I set it up on my main machine.

    The upgrade essentially takes what used to be called "Rolls" (which were individual import sessions) and turns them in to "Events". As I say, this is a tiny library, so I have no idea if it employs more intelligence and breaks up larger Rolls into multiple Events. The only Roll I had in my library was the pics I took on the EMA trip, which encompassed a week. It kept all of these in one Event, but it was easy to break it up into multiple events (EMA, Grand Canyon, etc.) just by selecting the boundary picture and clicking the "split" button. This new feature would have saved me MUCH work if I had had it a month or so ago...

    The Rolls view shows thumbnails for each Event. If you move the mouse cursor over a thumbnail is quickly skims through the pics in that Event. This is almost impossible to describe, but it is WAY cool in practice.

    I also looked quickly at editing. Now, iPhoto is never going to be a substitute for a full-blown editor, but they have added to its bag of tricks. The new Shadow/Highlight adjustment sliders work very well and I expect they will get a lot of use.

    Garage Band

    I checked out the new Magic Garage Band. It works as advertised, but after the initial coolness you realize that, in its current form, it's basically a gimmick. The problem is you have a small number of genres and only ONE tune per genre!! The only variations are the instruments you pick for each arrangement. I guarantee we are all going to get tired of hearing these tunes very quickly. If you need music generation like this you'll be much better off with that old standby Band-In-A-Box, or Sony Creative Software's (Windows-only) Cinescore.

    Otherwise, GB looks much the same. There are other improvements I've read about, but I haven't had time to dive into them yet

    iMovie

    Jobs wasn't kidding. iMovie looks like a complete rewrite. I don't have any movie clips on this machine, so I briefly played around with photos. Seems to work fairly well. I'd love to hear Ron's take on this update given his recent experience with iMovie '06.

    iDVD

    Didn't do much here other than check out some of the new themes. There are some cool ones in there.

    iWeb

    Played around with this for a few minutes. It looks like they've addressed one complaint and added comment capability to blogs. The on-the-fly theme replacement works well. Didn't play yet with the web clip feature.

    Summary

    It's really too early to give an overall assessment of the new iWork, as I've barely scratched the surface of these apps. Most of my existing projects (iMovie, iWeb, iDVD) are on my other machine, and I look forward to reading them into the new apps and really checking out the new features. I can say the iPhoto update looks like a winner.

    More over the next few days...
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Craig,

    I was going to wait 2 more weeks to buy iLife 08 but damnit,
    your sneak peak is making me salvate.

    Where did you buy it? The Apple store is a good 30 minute ride from
    here. I could order it on Amazon today and have it tomorrow with no
    sales tax.

    I would have to spend the extra $20 to get the family pack as I have
    two Macs in my home. For $20 more that's a bragain.

    Please keep us posted on the software as you continue to play around
    with it.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I just bought it from Apple. Amazon did not yet have it in stock.
    I was charged about $7 for sales tax and opted for the $10 2-day
    delivery. Total charge was $116 and change for the Family pack.

    I have a question you may or may not have the answer to...

    Does this upgrade integrate itself right over iLife '06 in a
    manner that you will not need to uninstall the previous version and
    any work that you have done and saved in '06 is now fully
    integrated with '07? Will I need to drag new program icons
    to my dock or will the original ones launch the new versions?

    I suspect, knowing Apple, that it will be a simple upgrade that will
    retain all my previous work and that I won't have to look for new icons
    or otherwise. Just looking for a confirm on that.
     
  4. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Ron, I picked up iLife (& iWork) at my local mall Apple Store. I'm fortunate in that it's an easy stop on the way home from work. I purchased the family packs as well to cover both of my machines.

    And, yes, the installation is seamless - no need to uninstall iLife '06. Your documents will remain intact. It replaces the icons in the dock (actually, iMovie is the only one with a changed icon - looks like a Hollywood Walk-of-Fame star). It will also install the latest iTunes (7.3.2), unless you had already installed it (in which case the installer is smart enough to skip it).

    One thing to be aware of - there's already an update to iPhoto (7.01) available, so go download it now, and install it after you install the iLife CD.
     
  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Craig,

    Thanks for your help.

    Should have the software by Friday.

    My only fear is that after finally nailing how to use iMovie
    for the video podcasts we do, I hope it doesn't make the process
    more complicated by introducing new learning curves.
     
  6. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Apple appears to have anticipated this, as I just noticed the installer leaves the old version of iMovie on your machine. All of the other iLife programs are completely replaced. I'm pretty sure they did this because iMovie is a complete rewrite and many are going to need a transition period.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    A few techie questions, for anyone doing a review:

    iMovie 08: Can you still separate audio from video and view the audio waveform? This is a key aspect of efficient editing, for me.

    .Mac: How's the personal domain aliasing work, now? How is it different from aliasing your domain to your .Mac account in the normal manner?

    I look forward to learning more about iMovie 08, and the rest of iLife.
     
  8. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Well, the word on the street about iMovie '08 is not good. Most people are considering it a downgrade feature-wise. It's clear that Apple anticipated this and that's why they leave iMovie '06 on your machine after the install.

    Here's a pretty good initial review that covers these issues:

    http://www.mymac.com/showarticle.php...ething&id=2143
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Good link. Unsettling news, particularly the note that "Worst of all, it doesn't appear as if you can extract audio from clips..." That's a deal breaker. I need to view the audio track for editing.

    I am baffled by the comment that, "If you never got around to really understanding how to use iMovie '06 or earlier versions, this new version is simply not for you. It does have a learning curve that will mean at least reading the Help documentation that comes installed with program." I though 08 was specifically built so people could easily make a movie in just 30 minutes?

    It's triply strange that it can't load iMovie '06 projects. There are some appealing features, but I'm afraid they threw the baby out with the bathwater. iMovie '06 is a powerful app, and would be strong for a while longer with only modest tweaks. I don't understand why they tossed the whole thing to start anew with a 1.0 app, and all the commensurate weaknesses.

    I look forward to future reviews: hopefully with experience people will come to a fuller, and more positive opinion.
     
  10. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    You know, Dave, I was confused by that comment as well. The consensus I am reading is that Apple changed the app to make it easier for novices to get something done. That's what Jobs spoke to in his pitch, and indeed from the standpoint of just dragging and dropping clips and transitions and hitting play I personally found it easier than the old version to just throw something together. It's when you want to dig deeper that you run into trouble.

    I agree that we need to wait a few days and see what reviewers have to day.

    On the good news front, iPhoto is looking even better. I ran it on my main machine this morning, and it updated my 4000+ photo library in about 30 seconds. It did basically convert all Rolls to Events, but again, it's VERY easy to combine and/or split Events to group your photos the way you want. Again, I went through a major import/organization cycle in iPhoto several weeks ago that would have been greatly simplified with this new version.

    Another weakness of the older iPhoto was its somewhat lame tagging (Keywords in Apple parlance) functionality. TUAW is reporting today that this is much improved in iPhoto '08. I think I'm about to go on a tagging frenzy... [​IMG]
     
  11. Ronald Epstein

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    Well, I bought iLife specifically for the iMovie
    upgrade but alas, it is the very thing that is getting the most
    criticism.

    Thank Goodness that iMovie '06 is still going to be
    intact. I'll use that for now (we are covering CEDIA in 4 weeks)
    and then try to learn the newer version at a futur date.
     
  12. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

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    iMovie doesn't appear to support G4s any more:


    I'm not sure if this is new to iLife '08 or if it happened in iLife '06. But it looks like I'll need to stick to older versions of iMovie on my iMac G4.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    TUAW reports iMovie doesn't support plug-ins (yet?) Hrmm...
     
  14. Aaron Reynolds

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    I'm getting my copy late in the week and will report my impressions, including the transition of a 13,000 image library (and those are just the family pictures). I'll be spending a whole lot of time learning it inside and out over the next month or so, so please post questions you want answered and I'll add them to my own list.
     
  15. Craig S

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    Played some more with the new iMovie. It's just ... different. Some of the things people are complaining about (trimming audio, ducking, etc.) are there, there are just different ways to get to them. Note I haven't looked at any of the tutorials yet. Maybe I should...

    I'm lovin' the new iPhoto, however. I found out that you can go to Preferences to set how the program automatically breaks up Events (one per day, one per week, etc.). Working with Events is quick & easy. Grab an event, drag it onto another - bam, they're merged. And I tried out the new keyword (tagging) stuff. Very nice. A HUGE improvement.
     
  16. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    How is iPhoto about handling multiple "rolls" on a memory card? Currently, its behavior is very frsutrating to me. Any features to selectively import, so I can e.g. get pictures but not movies?
     
  17. Craig S

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    Well, Dave, your question prompted me to finally import my pics from the EMA trip last month... [​IMG]

    I think this will be good news. When the import window pops up showing all the pics on the card, you have a couple of options. One, you can select whether or not iPhoto will group the shots into Events. If you choose this, it will break them up according to the settings in preferences. I assume (because I didn't try it) that if you don't choose that option, they will all come in as one big Event.

    But the best thing is you now have the option to selectively import. You use standard Mac mulit-select methods to choose the pics you want, and hit the "Import Selected..." button. iPhoto grabs just the selected pics and brings them in (as before, it will ask if you want the pics deleted from your card after importing. If you choose this, it will only delete the selected pics.). Of course, you still have the option to "Import All".

    I think that meets your needs??
     
  18. DaveF

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    Thanks for checking! That sounds like what I'm looking for (or a few steps in the right direction, at least).

    I hope that more experienced iMovie reviews in the coming weeks reveal more positive qualities, so I can confidently upgrade this Fall with Leopard.
     
  19. Patrick_S

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    iLife is notorious as one of the worst applications for the Mac in terms of crashing. Is 08 any more stable?
     
  20. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    What??? Blasphemer!!! Macs don't crash!!! [​IMG]

    Seriously, I haven't had any real problems with the older iLife apps crashing on me. I think I may have been dumped out of GarageBand once or twice, but not enough to be annoying.

    I can't say I've stressed iLife '08 yet, but so far no crashes. I've spent by far the most time in iPhoto. No problems whatsoever.

    I have read of some people having big troubles with iWeb, especially those who have iWeb '06 sites they are updating in iWeb '08. I have a very simple iWeb '06 site, but I haven't yet opened it in iWeb '08 - I'll certainly report back on my experiences when I do. Meanwhile, if you're an iWeb '06 user, it sounds lke a good idea to back up your files before running iWeb '08.
     

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