Did you see the Apple product announcements on Tuesday? This is something I thought that I would never say but the most impressive thing that I saw was iMovie. I have reluctantly used iMovie in the past and it hasn’t been fun. When compared to the simplicity of 3-point editing iMovie’s interface and operation really hasn’t seemed simple at all. iMovie was made for ease and simplicity when it comes to video editing and as we all know it can be quite a tedious process. What impressed me most about the new version though, iMovie 08, isn’t the automatic uploading to You Tube or the .Mac web gallery integration; it is in the new way that they have designed the ability scan and select footage and to build an edit. With the new iMovie 08 it catalogs all of the video on your internal or external drives. That itself isn’t revolutionary as iDive or Frameline 47 will do that, but what is revolutionary is the “skimming” technique that the Apple engineers have devised to quickly review video. A series of thumbnails is collected for each of your video clips and as you drag over the thumbnails you skim through the entire video clip. It’s just like scanning around a clip in Final Cut Pro’s Viewer or Avid’s Source monitor except you don’t have to load the clip and then click and drag. When you do find what you are looking for you then click and drag within the thumbnail and iMovie draws a little yellow outline around what you have selected. Drag that to the “timeline area” and you have an edit. You can refine selections by zooming in on the thumbnails for more detail as well as hiding and favoring specific clips. I haven’t used iMovie 08 yet but looking at the demo makes it look very easy. I certainly wouldn’t use iMovie for a real professional edit but it’s this kind of thinking that I wish would be added to the professional apps from time to time to shake up the old ways of thinking. This skimming and ease of selection in iMovie 08 could be very useful for an on-set edit where time is of the essence or a down and dirty rough cut. If you haven’t seen the demo then check it out, either by watching video of the presentation or by checking out the iLife guided tour. You might finally be impressed with iMovie. Now if only they have changed the capture format from a dv stream to a true Quicktime movie it’ll be ever better.