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iLife '04: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Chapter 32. Troubleshooting iMovie & iDVD

On the great spectrum of software complexity, iMovie falls pretty far to the left end, closer to the Mac OS X Calculator than to Microsoft Excel. It’s a fairly streamlined application that only rarely leaves you scratching your head.

But with each successive version, iMovie becomes a more complex, larger program. There are very few glaring, ticking-time-bomb bugs—but a few doozies strike a few people now and then: photos that look awful on the finished DVD, mysteriously dropping volume when you apply titles or effects, projects that corrupt themselves, and so on. This chapter covers them all.

Three Golden Rules

If there’s any common wisdom at all about iMovie, here it is: a set of three golden rules that will stave off a huge number of problems down the road.

  • Use the latest version. Each “.01” or “.02” upgrade zaps a whole host of bugs and glitches. These updates are free, so when your Software Update program advises you that one is available, jump at the chance to install it.

  • Set your camcorder to 16-bit audio. The typical digital camcorder can record its audio track using either 12-bit or 16-bit audio. The factory setting is 12-bit, which gives non–computer owners a chance to overlay a second audio track without erasing the original camera sound. Trouble is, 12-bit audio may slowly drift out of sync with the video when you burn the finished project to a DVD.

    Use your camera’s menu system to switch to 16-bit audio. You, an iMovie aficionado, ...

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