There are probably many video editing enthusiasts and YouTubers who use Apple’s iMovie to create their content. A suitably powerful piece of software for beginners, with many useful features and easy-to-use tools.
iMovie is convenient, but is it your go-to editing software for beginners? How does it compare to other free editing systems like BlackMagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 18?
Starting with the interface, iMovie is pretty basic, with most tools and features on the same page. You can do this by clicking the small icon in the upper right corner of the window.
iMovie lacks the traditional editing tools that typically appear as icons on the screen. Instead, you can use the Clip Trimmer or Precision Editor to create your cuts and align your media.
DaVinci Resolve has a series of tabs, each designed to perform a specific editing function, from media selection to timeline editing, exporting and distribution, in a convenient and intuitive sequence.
- iMovie overview: A simple layout for beginners.
- Solution summary: It’s simple yet complex, with lots of useful features and easy-to-access tabs.
Import and storage access
iMovie can search your computer’s file directories and attached drives, but it will appear as a pop-up window. iMovie requires building a library for each project. This means that your storage location can fill up quickly. Resetting and deleting the iMovie library can fix this problem.
Resolve gives you access to your device’s file storage system from the first tab. The window remains on screen while the media pool is built.
You can search local drives on the device itself, attached hard drives, and even some cloud-based storage systems such as DropBox. Libraries are also built for each project, so you should be aware of your device’s storage capacity.
- iMovie overview: It appears as a separate window, but has a comprehensive file search system.
- Solution summary: The file system is also comprehensive and integrated as the first tab of the hub.
iMovie has a single timeline where you can drag and drop videos and titles to compile your edits. The editing functionality itself is a bit limited and relies on keyboard shortcuts for functionality. The screen is pretty bare, which can be overwhelming for seasoned editors, but helps keep beginners from feeling overwhelmed.
In contrast, the Resolve timeline is much more detailed and timestamped. With Resolve, you can use multiple audio and video tracks, reducing the risk of clip misalignment and facilitating precise editing.
DaVinci Resolve’s[編集]The tab offers a wealth of useful editing tools, including trim and blade edit modes, clip insert, overwrite and replace options.
- iMovie overview: Layering video and graphics is a bit cumbersome since there is only one timeline and it is attached to the primary timeline.
- Solution summary: The timeline is more effectively layered with multiple video and audio tracks.
iMovie’s color correction tools are limited. The first option is Color Balance, which allows for color matching, white balance, and skin tone balance between selected clips. It has basic sliders for adjusting contrast, saturation, and temperature. Adequate for beginners, but far below Resolve’s versatility.
Color Grading is a feature known from DaVinci Resolve. Even without the studio version’s advanced grading tools, there’s an impressive amount of versatility available here. A particularly impressive feature of the free version is the ability to create masks (called windows) and use keyframes to isolate and color grade objects.
- iMovie overview: Limited options that do not allow detailed color grading.
- Solution summary: It’s lacking compared to the Studio version, but has enough options for novice colorists.
Motion graphics and VFX
Unfortunately, the visual FX portion of iMovie is lacking. It has options to create basic titles, backgrounds and transitions. They are easy to use and suitable for hobbyists.
Resolve has a much broader toolkit and options for customizing parts of your video to create motion graphics. Linking effects to media is very easy with the help of nodes within the Fusion tab. See our guide on how to use nodes in DaVinci Resolve for more information.
Resolve offers more features than iMovie, but the user interface feels less usable than competitors such as Adobe After Effects. There are many great guides on YouTube to help you get up to speed quickly with the system.
- iMovie overview: Presets are useful for beginners, but lack visual effects options.
- Solution summary: Less user-friendly than some competitors, but more tools and features.
iMovie has three main audio adjustments. Overall clip volume, background noise reduction, and equalizer. The presets provided by iMovie are effective enough even for beginners.
Another interesting iMovie feature is the option to lower the volume of other clips if you have multiple tracks. There is also a slider to increase the effectiveness of the tool.
DaVinci Resolve has a wide range of audio tools, effects and customization capabilities. The ability to solo, mute, and lock tracks is useful to aid playback and editing. The range selection tool and edit selection mode are useful for creating precise audio cuts. The effects list and EQ have various customizable options.
- iMovie overview: Presets are good enough for beginners.
- Solution summary: Incredible amount of customization for the free system.
iMovie is a little lacking here, too. There are mainly his four categories of exports. Email, YouTube and Facebook, Images, and Files. The email export option has a maximum resolution of 1280×720, but the resulting video file is too large to send.
The most customizable options seem to be the file option to support 1080p resolution (if the source clip is the same), compression quality selection, and compression speed or quality priority selection.
For a free system, Resolve has a wide variety of export options that can be easily customized. Since listing all codecs, file formats and supported resolutions is a bit exhaustive,[エクスポート]A key feature we’re removing from the tab is the ability to upload videos directly from DaVinci Resolve 18 to YouTube.
- iMovie overview: At least no watermarks, but more format support would be ideal.
- Solution summary: Different list of export options and supported codecs/file formats. I also appreciate the unique feature of being able to upload directly to YouTube.
Which free video editing software is right for you?
iMovie is great free software. It’s basic, easy to use, and has enough features for hobbyists and beginners to practice.
A highlight of using iMovie is the presets, especially the transitions and graphics. While other editing platforms are more customizable, iMovie offers a basic range of presets that are easy for beginners to use.
DaVinci Resolve has incredible features and customizability for a free editing system. Professional to use, outstanding features[エクスポート]You can upload directly to YouTube from the tab.
DaVinci Resolve has a paid premium version with even more features. However, the free version is worth checking out if iMovie isn’t cutting it enough anymore.