You can edit your
home movies, you can burn them to DVDs - what next ? You may want to learn to do
picture in picture effects, superimpose pictures over your video, or do blue screen
effects so you can make a Star Wars movie. You may already have considered one or
more of the eZedia plug-ins for iMovie which do all of the above. Their sister plug-in,
eZediaMotion lets you superimpose movie, graphic and text layers while rotating,
changing opacity, and changing size and shape.
OS X 10.3.2, iMovie
3.0.3, iMac 1Ghz G4, 1GB memory.
Installation was a matter of downloading a 6.9 megabyte file, double clicking
on the installer and then entering the license code. This resulted in a folder appearing
in my home folder's Library/iMovie/Plug-ins folder. When I open my iMovie Effects
panel, eZediaMotion is now one of the available effects.
It's worth noting that www.ezedia.com contains a number of example
and instructional videos giving a good feel for the capabilities of each product.
As part of the installation of any eZedia product, a common eZedia framework is also
installed. My initial installation failed to work for graphics layers until the updated
patch for the framework was separately downloaded and installed.
I was somewhat surprised to end up with an installation that was good for my regular
user account only, rather than any user on my machine. This may be due to the plug-in
architecture of iMovie, but my preference is always to execute installations from
my admin account and end up with consistent applications on all user accounts.
eZediaMotion refuses to play until you have a clip in the timeline. With a clip,
selecting the eZediaMotion effect and pressing the configure button will display
a dialog containing your clip, and allow you to create layers. Each layer can be
one of a movie, graphic or text, and each can be hidden or shown via its own checkbox.
The manual warns that layers can't be reordered once created. I also couldn't find
any way of deleting a layer. Hiding an unwanted layer works, but there is a limit
of ten layers.
Having created a layer, you may size and position it, draw a path for it and have
it move along that path. By identifying and editing key points on the path, you can
also make the movie or graphic change size, shape and opacity, and rotate as it travels.
Creating a movie or graphics layer opens a file selector where you can choose a movie
or image file respectively. eZediaMotion allows you to select image files from anywhere,
in contrast to iLife applications' notion that photos must come from the current
iPhoto library. This is jarringly inconsistent with iLife applications, and in fact
makes it all but impossible to find a photo that is in your iPhoto library. For those
who are not iPhoto users, this method works well, but for users that keep all their
photos in the iPhoto library, a direct connection to that library within eZediaMotion
is a needed option.
A particular use of graphics layers can be used as a mask; thus, creating the effect
of a moving cutout containing your video on a black background.
Creating a text layer allows you to type in text and define its font, size and color.
The resulting text motion effects are more varied than you could achieve with iMovie
The first time I tried to draw a path, it was very shaky and uneven, and the
resulting motion was jerky. However, this is very easily remedied: You can smooth
the motion temporally by clicking the thoughtfully provided "equalize points"
button in the path editor. You can also collapse the path to a vertical or horizontal
line, although you can't straighten a wobbly diagonal line.
If you define different opacity, rotation and size at two key points, eZedia will
interpolate the values for intermediate points, resulting in smooth changes to the
parameters. These usability features were pleasantly surprising, but overshadowed
by some puzzling deficiencies.
The usability bugs start at the very beginning - the eZediaMotion configure button
is always enabled even when it is not usable due to there being no clip in the timeline.
This is not a functional problem, but an interface inconsistency that needs to be
With regards to layers, not only can you not delete or reorder layers once you create
them, you can't change the contained movie, graphic, text content or text attributes
either. All of this seems unnecessarily restrictive.
As another example, there are two separate functions for editing a path - you can
select the path and hit the "Edit Path" button, which will result in the
path editing buttons appearing. From here you can edit individual key points. On
the other hand, if you read the manual, you may discover that double clicking on
a path opens another dialog where you can edit the duration, direction and looping
of the path. This contravenes the usability principle of visibility of functionality
in the user interface - I sum it up as "no short cut without long cut".
The only way to access the path dialog is to double click on the path. The only way
you find this out is by reading the manual or by accident.
I was also puzzled that when I have a path with tens of points in it, there appears
to be no quick way to jump quickly to an arbitrary point, say in the middle of the
path. You have to click the step forward button tens of times. Once you have a key
point set at the desired position, you can jump to it instantly, but there seems
to be no quick way to get there in the first place. If you select a point and then
select the key point editor, the key point editor obstinately opens at the first
Path editing is a further departure from standard graphical user interface principles;
in this case, the principle of avoiding modes in the user interface. To begin editing
the path, you must select the path, which causes a disabled "New Path"
button to change to "Edit Path". Clicking this "Edit Path" button
enters path editing mode and causes the path editing buttons to appear (up till then
they are invisible rather than just disabled). It's less obvious that you must exit
path editing mode before doing anything else. The button for leaving the path editing
mode is an extremely incongruous red stop sign, which has no parallel in any other
application I've used.
eZediaMotion is another tool in the armory of the amateur video enthusiast. Designed
to superimpose movies, graphics and text layers on your iMovie video clips, eZediaMotion
includes options for rotating, changing opacity, and changing size and shape. There
are some interface problems, such as difficulty getting to specific points on a path,
and the inability to remove and reorder layers. Despite the usability issues, it
does the job it sets out to do, producing some dramatic motion effects that you can't
get with iMovie alone. I recommend eZediaMotion for any iMovie user looking to enhance
their toolbox of cool effects.
- Can change opacity,
size and rotation of a layer as it moves on an arbitrary path
- Paths can be evened
- Good information
and examples on eZedia.com website
- Usability issues
- Does not use iLife
linkage to iPhoto
- Installed for each
user rather than with iMovie
out of 5 Mice