I don’t use the iPad and iMovie for professional work. My iMovie creations are all for fun, personal projects that I generally share with friends and family. But I will say that over the years I’ve created quite a few videos on Macs, iPads and even iPhones using everything from iMovie to Final Cut Pro. My earliest video projects were done with the very first versions of iMovie back around 2000. I advanced to Final Cut Pro which I used for a couple of years but have not used since sometime around 2003 when I used it for a documentary I did about community projects in Memphis. Since then everything has been done using iMovie on the Mac and most recently, iMovie on the iPad. All of that to simply say that while I’m not a pro or expert I have logged hundreds of hours editing many projects using quite a few computing devices and quite a few versions of two editing apps.
When I first tried iMovie on the iPad using my iPad 3 I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. I used the iPad to record and then iMovie to edit a quick little mini-documentary about my permaculture homestead. As it turns out that video has gotten more views than any other I’ve put on YouTube, almost 89,000 as of this writing. Not too bad for 30 minutes of work and far more views than my 90 minute Memphis documentary ever got! And as I recall it was only the third or fourth time I’d opened the app which is to say, it was very easy to use. Certainly that is in part because I was familiar with the concept of a timeline, transitions, fades, titling, etc. But I think it is also true that Apple has done a great job creating something fairly easy to use. In fact, I’d say that with iMovie for iOS, especially on the iPad, Apple has achieved the perfect balance of ease of use and power. It’s the sort of app that anyone with an interest in making a “movie” and willingness to put forth just a bit of effort, is likely to enjoy and benefit from.
In the five years since I started using iMovie on iPad I’ve put together quite a few videos, the most recent of which was a mini-documentary about my grandmother. It consisted of a couple hours of interview footage shot with an iPhone interspersed with scanned photos. The final result was an hour long and something the entire extended family watched over the holidays. While the kids, grandkids and great-grandkids all enjoyed it I think it was my granny that enjoyed it most. She talked about it for days. I think she enjoyed seeing her family get to know her better as they watched it. I know I certainly got to know her better as a result of making it.
In the end, the iPad is at it’s best when it enables us to create because it’s often in such creation that we build bridges between ourselves and others. Whether it is a silly or informative post on YouTube or a video shared at a family gathering, iMovie is an excellent example of an app that enables such creation.