Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Decent but Limiting
on February 18, 2010
If you bought a Mac anytime recently, you should already have a version of iLife as most Macs come with it. This includes iPhoto for weak photo editing and gallery creation (like Google's Picasa), GarageBand for music production, iWeb for posting your media/life to the web, iMovie for video editing and iDVD for burning to a DVD.
Most of these are decent apps. GarageBand is well considered, and if you want to do video podcasts, iMovie is okay. It's not as powerful as Final Cut (Pro/Express), but pretty good. iDVD is not a great DVD writer, but it does the job. Here are some of the limitations in iLife 09:
iWeb doesn't let you edit the page theme (template) HTML in any meaningful way, and you can't create new templates.
iMovie does not have any fancy effects. Previous versions did; they were removed in 08.
iMovie does not integrate well to iDVD - you must "Share" media between them, which can take 4x real time on a current-version MacBook laptop.
iDVD cannot set arbitrary chapter markers. (You do that in iMovie.) To set Titles, you must import the clips separately. But iMovie can't "Share to iDVD" more than one clip at a time so you have to do non-standard stuff for that.
(This means that if you want to put video onto DVD, e.g. from your camera or digitized from your VCR, you must import it into iMovie - takes a long time and transcodes - do the editing, chapter markers, etc., - and then export to iDVD which again takes a long time and does more quality-reducing transcoding, create the menus and structure, and then burn it - another set of transcoding. Very time consuming and lots of transcoding.)
Most of these programs support "Themes", but the Themes aren't easily editable.
iDVD does not support BluRay.
In fairness, the primary video alternatives are programs like Roxio's Toast and "DVD Creator", neither of which support real editing or manual chapter markers at all and have less impressive menu structures. But both of those do support BluRay.
So the real question isn't whether iLife is useful, but whether an upgrade from iLife 08 (or whatever version you have) to iLife 09 is worth the cost.