Back to the Mac: GarageBand and iMovie ’11


New versions of iMovie ’11 and GarageBand ’11 were demoed today at the Apple (s aapl) event: the only other two programs from iLife ’11 that got screen time aside from iPhoto ’11. There were some very interesting additions to the software, including trailers for iMovie and more teaching ability for GarageBand.

iMovie ’11

Judging by the amount of time devoted to the feature, the bit Apple wanted us to focus on with iMovie ’11 is the ability to create trailers for your home movies. It does look pretty cool; there are a series of built-in themes, with scores recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. You can change the studio name and logo, cast information and subtitles. While I’m not sure of the overall value this feature is going to be to the average user, I can see it being neat if the entire purpose of your movie project is to create a spoof trailer for YouTube (s goog).

Also demoed were new audio effects. Showing a cute demo of a kid holding an icicle saying, “Luke, I am your father,” Apple demoed changing the pitch of his voice to resemble Darth Vader’s. You can also easily adjust the volume of different clips to make them more uniform.

An easy way to create an instant replay has also been introduced. You just select an area, click Instant Replay, choose the speed, and boom, you’re on your way to making your own highlight reel. There’s also integration with Facebook and Vimeo built-in. One question I have is: Will it also pull Facebook comments like the new iPhoto does?

I’m a little disappointed they didn’t add better timeline support, but it’s clear to me now that iMovie is geared towards taking clips and shoving them together. So long as you’re not aiming to do much more than make home movies, iMovie ’11 seems like a great upgrade.

GarageBand ’11

My days of recording music are behind me, but like most amateur musicians, when I recorded with my band, we tended to suffer from timing issues. Inevitably, someone was slightly off, requiring retakes or a close-enough attitude. GarageBand now has a new groove-matching feature. You can select the best rhythm track — hopefully it’s the drummer, or you’ve likely got problems GarageBand can’t solve — then have all the tracks “snap” to this track. In the demo, a group of players that sounded like a cat on a hot tin roof magically sounded like seasoned studio musicians. I’m curious to see how this works in real life.

They seem to have really improved the music lessons portion of the app, too. You can play along with the lesson, and it shows how you’re doing. If you make a mistake, it shows in red. If your rhythm is off, it shows it in yellow. You can replay your lesson and keep a history to track your improvements over time.

iLife ’11 is available today. It’s free when you buy a new Mac, or $49 on its own.

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