Want to start creating video content in the classroom, but on the cheap? Armed with just an iPad, Apple’s iMovie app is supposed to let you shoot and edit video, add effects and audio, then share your finished project in a matter of minutes, all on the tablet itself. We thought we’d investigate…
What is iMovie?
If you’ve used the iMovie film-making software you get free in iLife on your Mac, you’ll feel right at home with iMovie (Apple, £2.99) on iPad, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s not just a mobile conversion. Layout-wise, it shares the same really intuitive interface of its desktop brother, with a few subtle differences. While you don’t get the extensive feature-set and range of effects (no green screen functionality, for example), that’s been balanced out by it being incredibly fast.
How easy is it to use?
iMovie lets you put together a professional looking video in minutes – seriously! Choose existing video samples or shoot straight from your iPad’s camera, put them in order, chop them up, add effects and audio, and you’re done! Where you’ll spend most of your time is in the main video editing screen, made up of your timeline (a graphical string of all your video elements), your media browser (which lets you pick any video, photos and audio stored on your iPad), and the video window where you play back your composition. Start by choosing clips from the media browser and tap to add them to the timeline – if you roughly know the order you want them in, it only takes a few taps to create a video sequence. You can then edit individual elements directly on the timeline by pinching to zoom in/out on a clip, and using the handles to remove any unnecessary bits or unwanted dialogue.
Once you’ve got your your video chopped and in order, you can start to add effects and type in your own titles. iMovie automatically adds transitions between clips to cover up any rough bits, which is great if you’re in a rush, but you can also apply themes from the Settings icon. For example, choose ‘News’, and all your transitions, titles and effects will be given broadcast-style titles and transitions. By tapping the media tabs in the browser, you can also choose to add images to your composition, which is great for adding images, diagrams and slides. Audio-wise, iMovie has a load of sound effects like sheep, robots, creaking doors etc, which you can simply drop on to your timeline, as well as pre-loaded theme music to choose from. You can even export your own music straight out of GarageBand into iMovie!
What’s the best feature?
One of the most useful things about iMovie is the fact you can record your own voice-overs directly within the app. This makes it great for evidencing processes, as students can collate all the diagrams, screenshots and photos they’ve put together during the course of a problem-solving project and organise them all into one video composition, complete with a voice-over to explain each stage. You could even use it in a similar way to add vocals, music and sound effects to a stop-frame animation.
So, should we get it?
If you’re looking for an easy way into video content creation then yes, definitely. iMovie makes it incredibly quick and easy for pupils to put together impressive video without needing a teacher to constantly intervene. As a fully-fledged video editing app, couple it with the decent camera on both iPad and iPad mini, and you get the full workflow of a traditional video camera setup without all the hassle of handing out cameras, shooting the video, exporting it to classroom computers, wiping the memory card, editing the footage, compressing the finished video. The whole process is all there in one app! It’s even really easy to share your finished project afterwards – save the video to your Camera Roll for emailing, or upload to YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo from directly within the app.
How much and where from?
iMovie isn’t free, but considering what you get in a single app for £2.99, we think it’s definitely worth shelling out for. To help sweeten the deal, you can even get a 50% reduction (£1.49) through Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme if you opt to bulk buy more than 20 instances of the app. Head to the App Store on your iPad, or get iMovie (Apple, £2.99) from iTunes.
– Catch up on last week’s education app of the week – our review of Skitch is here.
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