iMovie for iPhone

It's iPhone 4 launch day and we're sure there are many happy new owners of the iPhone 4 (review) even among those who are apparently finding some problems with Apple's latest device. To help you get started using your new front- and rear-facing cameras to make videos, Apple has released an iMovie app to the iTunes app store, and we think it's worth the extra five bucks.

iMovie for iPhone ($4.99) lets you create great looking HD movies with themes, all just using your iPhone. 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 iPhone. Once you have footage to work with, you can touch the time line 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 time line to pick specific frames. You also can scrub through your footage quickly by touching and dragging over the time line.

iMovie for iPhone 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 frame your video giving them a professional look and each come with their own background music, custom titles, and pre-made transitions. You also can 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. Hopefully, later versions of iMovie will give you more transition options for further customization.

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. 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 start, with only a few features we 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.

Here is our test video we made during this post:

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.