In which I stir the foetid waters of your excitement by bitching about iMovie

The latest episode of fOwl – and the first for almost a year – is nearly ready. I think you’ll find it worth the wait: the Dapper Swindler and I have put a lot of effort into this one, and I really think it shows. Beyond previous hints and your knowledge that this year’s Shrove episode isn’t out yet, I don’t want to reveal anything other than that it should hopefully be out by the end of this week.

It should have been out much sooner. Not just because of our usual shilly-shallying and our strange breed of perfectionism (we have quite low standards but absolutely refuse to relesase anything which doesn’t meet them), which you should by now have come to expect from all FaceOmeter and allied projects, but also because of the shortcomings of iMovie. iMovie is certainly the worst piece of software I’ve ever had to use in any context, with the possible exception of LotusNotes. But LotusNotes, whilst perhaps worse constructed, never cost me this much time. At every stage from initial video edits to final mixdown, iMovie has exerted itself to make life as difficult as possible for its users. This goes significantly beyond standard PC-to-mac illiteracy, although the problem at the root of it is the same as the one you see in numerous mac products (usually to a far lesser extent): the program can only envisage one specific kind of end-user trying to do exactly one thing, one thing only, and trying to make it do anything else, however insultingly basic, is often the work of several hours.

I won’t recount the whole saga. Suffice to say that I’m never using the software again. The final pisstake happened when we finally uploaded our finished movie file to youtube on friday and the audio sync went off because iMovie files don’t talk to youtube properly. I can’t fathom this, but there is apparently a fix, and we’re working on it. Why don’t we just release it anyway? Well, audio sync is kind of important in a silent movie.


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