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iMovie '09 and iDVD: The Missing Manual by Aaron Miller, David Pogue

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Chapter 7. Stabilization, Color Fixes, Cropping, and Rotating

Not every piece of video needs fancy effects. In fact, most video is probably better without a Dream filter and Picture-in-Picture. The unadulterated stuff straight from your camera usually looks best.

In fact, if your footage needs any help at all, it’s probably in the cameraman department. Don’t take this personally. Handheld shots, the most common kind of home video, are notoriously unstable, and that’s an instant giveaway that you’re an amateur. You can have the hands of a surgeon and still end up with shaky footage. This is true even with all the newfangled image stabilization technology that comes in the latest cameras.

Don’t give up (and don’t resort to carrying a tripod everywhere). iMovie ’09 can stabilize your video after the fact, using one of its most amazing new features.

That’s not the only way iMovie can fix your footage, either. The Video Adjustments panel lets you make slight or gigantic changes to the brightness, contrast, white balance, saturation, and other image qualities of any clip.

For example, if a shot looks too dark and murky, you can bring details out of the shadows without blowing out the highlights. If the snow in a skiing shot looks too bluish, you can de-blue it. If the colors don’t pop quite enough in the prize-winning soccer goal shot, you can boost their saturation levels.

In addition, the new program offers two features that the old iMovie versions couldn’t even fantasize about:

  • Cropping ...

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