iMovie for iOS just got better with the release of the iPad 2 with some new features exclusive to the device, but iPhone 4 users should definitely download it as well. iMovie was already available for the iPhone 4 for some time, but this latest release adds plenty of new bells and whistles to keep the app interesting.
iMovie for iOS lets you create great-looking HD movies with themes, all just using your iPhone 4, latest generation iPod Touch, or iPad 2--older devices are unfortunately out of luck. You can start your project by either shooting fresh footage (using either the front- or rear-facing camera) or by selecting a video you already have on your iOS device. Once you have footage to work with, you can touch the timeline at the bottom to trim the footage to just the parts you want to use and clip away the sections you don't. To make sure your edits happen right at the correct moment, you can pinch to zoom in on your timeline to pick specific frames. You also can scrub through your footage quickly by touching and dragging over the timeline. On the iPad 2, the added screen real estate makes all your editing much more precise because you can zoom in and still make adjustments easily.
iMovie for iOS comes with a small assortment of themes you can use to give your video a specific feel, including Modern, Bright, Travel, Playful, and News. Each of the themes frames your video, giving it a professional look, and each comes with its own background music, custom titles, and premade transitions. You can also switch themes in the middle of a project to call out a specific part of your video. Specific transitions will occur automatically between clips, depending on the theme, or you can select a cross-dissolve effect and select how much time the transition takes. We're a little disappointed that this latest version didn't add more transition effects to choose from, but maybe a later version will deliver the goods.
Once your footage is edited, themed, and ready, you can further add to your project by using music from your collection (in place of included theme music) or add photos from your library. Music tracks in the new version of iMovie show their waveforms right on screen, making it much easier match up what's onscreen with your music. When adding photos, to keep the flow of your movie, iMovie automatically adds the Ken Burns-style panning effect to your images so it's not so jarring to cut from live action video to still photos. You can even adjust your start and end points for the Ken Burns effect by touching and dragging the image and using onscreen controls.
Once you're finished with your project, you can export the movie to your desktop computer, upload it to YouTube, share it in your MobileMe Gallery, or send it directly to your friends and family via MMS or e-mail. Depending on your needs, you can export your movie in three different resolutions to adjust file size and quality including medium (360p), large (540p), or HD (720p). Even at the highest setting, iMovie compressed and sent our test video quickly over Wi-Fi.
We think Apple's iMovie app is a great way to edit movies on the go, with only a few features we still hope will eventually be included. Overall, at $4.99, it's definitely worth the money for those who want to add a little style to their videos without the need for a desktop computer. We only hope to see more options like video effects and more custom transitions in future versions.