I'm one of those rare Windows Vista lovers, so this kind of puts a smile on my face; but at the same time, it is still a step ahead of MovieMaker, which doesn't even work on my Vista installation ;-).
So, there has been a lot of talk and hype about Apple's new iMovie '08 (iMovie 7.1) video editing software. There are many new features that have been release such as:
- Multiple Clip Selection, which lets users select multiple clips in order to assign keywords, paste adjustments or reorganize clips in projects more quickly than before.
- Fine Tuning feature allows users to quickly refine the start or end frame for any clip without leaving the Project view.
- Still Frame Creation, which freezes the video action for creating a dramatic ending or applying the "Ken Burns" effect on any frame of a video clip.
- Frame-by-Frame trimming
- Audio Ducking level control
- Manual Audio Fades
- Duration settings for Transitions and Stills, and other performance improvements that allow users to enjoy their video more quickly by switching between Events.
However, one feature that has been getting some attention is the addition of a new Youtube export feature. Apple says that this is a turnkey solution to allow users to easily publish video content to Youtube's video sharing service through easy one-click uploading. Although iMovie is really the first video software solution that integrates video editing with video publishing and syndication into one package, there are several flaws with regard to the software's ability to allow users to optimize video information for Youtube.
There is a good post from Grant Crowell at searchenginemarketingstandard where he gives a performance breakdown for each of the key factors for Video SEO (metadata and uploading) after having tested several videos that were uploaded using this new feature in iMovie '08
Here are the results that were discussed:
Video Editing Problems - Video editing features in iMovie are overly simplistic in a way that can be harmful for SEO.
- When editing multiple clips, the latest release of iMovie '08 provides no marker features and no other method to clue you as to where in time the video project is. This is important because as you know Youtube grabs the thumbnail video image icons from time stamps at .25 (1/4 length), .50 (1/2 length), and .75 (3/4 length) of the video project. If you know ahead of time which image you would prefer to use for the video image icon, you can strategically place this at the time stamps YouTube draws from. Unfortunately with iMovie, the only way that this can be done is to be willing to measure and re-measure each individual click in a video project in order to target where those time stamps will fall.
- If you do not have a Director level account at Youtube (most people do not), you know that there is a 10-minute time length for your video. It may help to know that most videos are shorter and users are less and less likely to watch an entire clip more than a few minutes unless it is groundbreaking... That being said, there is no message, or warning when you upload a video is that is more than 10 minutes long. The only warning comes when Youtube rejects your video after it has been uploaded. Since the compression, and uploading process with iMovie can last 4-5 times the length of the video, this means that you could end up waiting 50 minutes or more for a 10min. long video. What a waste of time!
Video Metadata Limitations
Regarding SEO for Youtube, because Youtube doesn't accept RSS or MRSS feeds, it is important to make sure you have control over the 3 metadata fields available within Youtube - namely, title, description, and tags.
- However, iMovie does not save your metadata entries for each video project. So, if you ever need to resubmit an old video, perhaps one you decided to further edit, you will have to re-type all of the information you previously entered because the metadata shown will be from whatever project you submitted last.
- Additionally, if you try to resubmit a video, you have to first duplicate it in order to add any new metadata to youtube.
- iMovie doesn't allow punctuation in the movie titles
- iMovie doesn't warn you when you go over the 63 character limit that Youtube has. Therefore, if you put in a title longer than 63 characters, it will be cut off when it is uploaded to Youtube and your title will be truncated.
Video uploading to YouTube
- Unwarranted error messages. In about one out of every 5 or 10 video uploads (sometimes several times in a row), after I would enter my YouTube metadata in iMovie and hit the submit button, I would receive an error message saying that "The YouTube server is experiencing server issues," and that this could be eliminated by decreasing the amount of metadata entered. Yet this would happen even when metadata was minimal. That and the fact that doing a manually upload of my video to my YouTube account indicated no problems at all, made me think this was really a problem with iMovie that they were passing on to YouTube.
- No batch uploading. iMovie doesn't allow for multiple video project exports, nor can you work on one file while another is uploading. Apple may be touting simplicity with this product, but the trade off can be a serious decrease in efficiency.
Final Verdict on iMovie for Video SEO
Apple's iMovie is at least moving in the right direction in that it does make basic video editing and single movie uploading easy for Youtube. However, for this to be a feature that is truly a turnkey solution for all video makers (keeping in mind that Video SEO is becoming more and more important), they should follow these suggestions:
- Integrate a batch video upload feature with tagging for each video for youtube. Currently only one video at a time can be tagged with metadata.
- Include a video RSS or MRSS feed feature.
- Carry over max character, file size, and length constrictions from Youtube to alert users of iMovie when they have exceeded these parameters.