It’s official, I adore the new iMovie ‘09.  It’s everything iMovie ‘08 wasn’t.  I have just completed a full run through of the software and here’s why I love it.

Hooray, they finally gave us back the fine editing capability using the arrow keys.  I’m thrilled about that.  I also love the precision editing tool that allows for better cuts between clips.  I’m also in love with the new special effects (cutaway, picture-in-picture and green screen).  These effects have really ramped up ‘09 into a class above even iMovie HD.  Another awesome feature is that they have brought back DVD Chapter Markers!!!  Wow was that a pain to do in ‘08.  This is a big help having those back.

On a purely fun level they have added tons of new transitions and titles.  My favorite part of the titles is how easy it is to add colored or interesting backgrounds.  So much better than HD or ‘08.  I also am a big fan of the travel maps you can add.  Again these are all fluff but it really adds a lot to your finished product, especially if you are making videos for personal use.

What I don’t like…I’m still liking the Ken Burns Effect in HD better than ‘09.  What I liked in HD was that you can drag the image off the screen.  In ‘08 and ‘09 you are constricted by the edge of the screen.  While this isn’t a deal breaker it does hinder creativity a bit.  I also still like the audio control of HD better than ‘08 & ‘09.  The fade control is not sufficient on ‘09.  I liked the ability to drag the audio controllers around a clip to fine tune the fades and volume.  Lastly, they still don’t allow you to insert a title at the playhead.  You still have to insert them at the beginning, middle, or end and then move it.  This is a pain and prohibits you from easily adding multiple titles in one clip.  I also don’t think you can overlap video effects although I’m not 100% sure about this.  For instance I couldn’t make a clip Black & White then add the Film Grain Effect.  It seemed to be one or the other.

So what’s the final verdict?  Get iMovie ‘09.  It’s totally worth the upgrade price of $79.00 from the Apple Store.  With this you get the new iPhoto with face recognition and the new GarageBand, iDVD and iWeb.