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iLife: iMovie's Secret Weapon

In one area, it's almost unfair to compare iMovie with other consumer video editing applications. Although iMovie HD stands alone, it's also part of the $70 iLife '05 package, which also includes iTunes 4, iDVD 5, iPhoto 5, and GarageBand 2. (iLife is free on all new Mac models, so you may not have to buy it separately if you've recently purchased an Apple computer.) More than just a bundle, iLife gives iMovie a significant leg up.

The programs are all designed to work together, so the digital photos you store in iPhoto can be viewed and imported from within iMovie (see Figure 6). The same goes for songs in your iTunes library. For photos, iMovie includes a nifty feature called the Ken Burns Effect, a more colorful name for what most video editors refer to as pan-and-zoom. The Ken Burns Effect (which sounds like a 1970s band name to me) adds motion to a digital photo by giving the appearance that the camera is traveling over its surface, a technique used to great effect in filmmaker Ken Burns' documentaries.

Figure 6

Figure 6 Import photos from iPhoto.

The iLife suite gives you the capability to create all aspects of the video. In addition to shooting the footage, you can compose and perform music in GarageBand (or create music loops by combining the thousands of prerecorded samples included with the program), export the soundtrack to iTunes, and drag it from iMovie's Audio pane to the Timeline. When you're done editing, you can set DVD chapter markers within iMovie and then click a button to package the whole thing and send it to iDVD to create a DVD that will play in nearly every consumer DVD player.

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