iMovie Plug-ins

PC people need read no further, unless you want to engage in a little “now you know how we feel.” Like MovieMaker, the newest iteration of iMovie doesn’t support third party plug-ins. I’ve hesitated to blog about the new iMovie because I haven’t got my hands on a copy of version 7 yet except for a few minutes in the Apple store. However, there has been enough of a flap that the iMovie ‘08 installer leaves the older version intact and Apple allows a free download of iMovie ‘06 for those who may have already trashed it.
This newest version is pretty and has some very cool features, but a lot of the power and control that we have come to enjoy in education have been eliminated. One of the companies that makes great plug-ins is GeeThree and they have posted an interesting chart on the functionality range of the iMovie versions in comparison with Final Cut Pro.

Let me pass on my standard warning here. Transitions and special video effects can be as much distraction as they can be used to advance a story. BUT they (especially the green screen/chromakey effect) can add a lot and expand students’ creative voice, too. Let the author beware!
Third party plug-ins can add an absolutely enormous range of effects to iMovie, too many to go into in any great depth here. But I will give you a little taste of my three favorite makers and encourage you to visit their sites (and download their FREE samples).
cf/x has the most unique sales plan: it’s a la carte. His plug-ins sell for $1.50 to $5.00. I tried the first version of the chromakey and it was a little rough, but that was two generations ago. You can download and try any of the plug-ins before buying. There are a few free ones sprinkled through his list. Here’s a handy one for rotating still and video images.
GeeThree may have the slickest packages. (Sorry I couldn’t resist that. They actually call their collection “Slick.”) Chromakey is in Volume 4, the Hollywood Edition. And their free collection is a must. The aged B&W film effect could add a lot to some stories.

Picture_3Stupendous Software offers 68 free plug-ins, but it does it by tucking a few free effects into every one of its 16 packages. Be careful with that because your students will rarely pay attention to which ones will end up with a watermark or won’t render. That said, the Masks and Compositing package has a free blue screen plug-in in it.

So, iMovie users, let’s hope that Apple sees the light and opens iMovie ‘08 back up for plug-ins and restores those other powerful features. Or are we waiting for Leopard to see what this version can really do?


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