How to Do Everything with iMovie2
Tony Reveaux, Gene Steinberg
Price: US $24.99
402 pages not including index
How to Do Everything with iMovie2 is a bit of a misnomer. Nowhere in the 402 pages did I find a shortcut, work around or key combo explaining how to get iMovie to cut my lawn. It’s a shame, because if I had some extra time I would spend it making nearly unwatchable movies with iMovie2. Or maybe, after reading the book, my movies won’t be so abhorrent to the average viewer.
The reason my movies might get better is due to the wide variety of information found in How to Do Everything with iMovie2. The book isn’t simply a manual on all the cool stuff you can do with iMovie it also contains info on all the best ways to do it. The authors cover the methods to make a movie on the cheap, the tools you’ll need to go super Lucas style and a variety of options to make your cinematic masterpiece somewhere in the middle the aforementioned extremes. Initially, I found the high-end solutions a bit troublesome. For example the authors discuss a seven grand Maya program for generating cool backgrounds. I thought to myself, would someone willing to invest seven thousand dollars into a production tool not upgrade to Final Cut Pro? Still, the inclusion of such high-end info lets the reader know just how far they can push iMovie, and it’s pretty darn far with enough cash one hand. I, predictably, only make no budget movies and the book was still rife with immediately useful factoids and tips. By way of example: I learned why two monitors are a worthwhile investment when using iMovie2, what an Omni microphone is and how to improvise a microphone windscreen. I rate these tips alone as worth the 24.99 price of admission.
Any book of this length is going to have some missteps. My favorite being:
Some camcorders have a recording button with a start stop feature, which enables them to keep running after just one touch…. Practice smooth finger squeezes to keep the camera steady.”(Page 98)
I’m no rocket scientist but practicing smooth finger squeezes like some newly recruited army sharpshooter seems like a waste of time to me. Why not just mash the record button as haphazardly as you care to five seconds after the scene is done? Fortunately that tip is the exception and not the rule. The majority of the tips and hints (which are sprinkled throughout the book like the f-word in an episode of the Osbournes) are both sensible and useful.
Despite the wealth of information the book is not a college text like read. The style is light and accessible and you never feel overburdened with information or complex instructions. You won’t use every tip in the book and much of the information may be of little or no use to you. While that may seem like a drawback it is actually one of the best things about How to Do Everything with iMovie2. The book can answer any specific iMovie question you have and if your questions stray from iMovie specific topics to more general movie making techniques the book can answer a myriad of those puzzlers as well. In the end this book is more than a manual for iMovie2 it’s a book that provides a goodly amount of info on complete basic filmmaking. How to Do Everything with iMovie2 replaces an intro to film making tome and doubles as a complete iMovie reference manual.
Bottom Line: An indispensable book for all levels of iMovie users. How to Do Everything with iMovie2 provides everything but the million-dollar movie idea and teaches everything you need to know to take advantage of inspiration should it come along.
MacMice Rating: 5 out of 5