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iMovie for iPad Air Makes Video Editing a Breeze

Apple has made it really easy to edit home movies on your Mac thanks to the constantly refined iMovie app. But with the release of the iOS 7, Apple went one step further and introduced the iMovie went free – at least for anyone buying a new iOS device, anyway. That’s particularly important because it opens up a whole new audience, those who might not have been willing to drop $4.99 on a video editor for their iPad or iPhone.

iMovie is a great product for casual and more serious video editors alike, made even more spectacular by that zero price tag. I took the new iPad Air out for a video shoot and then edited the resulting shots in iMovie on the new tablet. The refresh in the video and processor chips boosted the iPad’s speed, and makes the lighter and thinner iPad Air a useful video creation solution on the go for very simple projects.

Supported media

iMovie doesn’t just deal in video clips. Besides these, you’re also able to import photos and audio clips from the library on your iPad or iPhone to use in your projects. If you’re using music it’s important to note that iMovie will show your entire iTunes library, including cloud music. But you have to make sure the files are downloaded before using them, iMovie won’t do that for you.

New video editing features


When using the basic movie editing mode, it’s easy to collect shots and then edit them together with the new version of iMovie. The latest version of iMovie comes with some nice user interface enhancements (see above). It’s easier to use and offers surprisingly powerful options for a simple video editor. Some new features include:

  • Theater – share movies to other devices via iCloud
  • Adjustments bar – make video look better and sound better with these tools
  • Slow motion
  • Cutaway, picture-in-picture and split-screen
  • Duplicate, split, trim clips
  • High-frame-rate video recording
  • Share with Mail, Messages or AirDrop
  • Faster 64-bit support

The touchscreen environment requires a much different method of control, and iMovie for iOS has gestures galore. For example, a swipe down over a selected video clip that’s been scrolled to a certain point will split that clip at that point. Likewise pinch-to-zoom has been employed in cropping photos to aid or remove the Ken Burns effect, zoom in to crop video clips and expand or contract selected clips in the main editing timeline. On the subject of the Ken Burns effect; all images inserted in a movie project will have it automatically applied.

iMovie starts up with three sections:

  • Video – shows available videos on the iPad
  • Projects – the video editing projects either in progress or completed
  • Theater – the finished product ready to share or watch

In the Video section users can view all their videos with an option to watch them in high-speed mode or slow motion, along with normal speed. This screen also lets users mark favorite clips for later use.  The on-screen help prompts are also pretty clear and always accessible wherever you are. But largely speaking editing is an easy enough and pleasurable experience. Video editing software can become overly complex and daunting, but iMovie for iOS shines in the simplicity of its controls and interface.

When a user creates a Movie instead of a Trailer, they see the movie editing screen. It’s a timeline based system with collected videos from the camera roll in the upper right, the preview window in the upper left and the timeline to edit on the bottom as shown above.

Video editing tools

The movie editing section offers nice features for:

  • Adding audio – music, sound effects or voice overs
  • Adding photos from the camera roll or photo stream
  • Shooting new videos and pictures to add
  • Creating transitions
  • Editing the look of video with color/exposure correction and filters
  • Inserting transitions
  • Fading video/audio in or out
  • Adding titles

Making and editing a movie with iMovie on an iPad Air is simple and fun. Using a camera or even a phone and editing on a computer takes less time and offers more options. However, for quick and simple edits, I like iMovie and an iPad Air. The newer iPad works faster than the older models and exports the resulting project quickly.