Apple has a noble ambition for its iMovie app: to make video editing child’s play. Its desktop app has given us preset transitions, titles and themes, with the recent addition of film trailer templates and easier soundtracking. Now that stripped down style has been stripped down again for the iPad 2.

Open the app and you’re greeted by a cinema title board surrounded by gloriously retro neon tubes. But that’s the best part of iMovie for iPad. It’s virtually impossible to get your home videos from elsewhere on to the tablet without using third-party software. Even iPhone 4 video won’t port across via iTunes.

So you’re left with the iPad’s video skills. They won’t match your camcorder, or most modern smartphones, for detail and quality. Oh, and if you thought you’d feel silly making a call on a tablet, try shooting a video. There should be a preset to automatically unredden the face of anyone appearing in a video clip shot on an iPad 2.

Assuming you’ve got as far as capturing some usable footage, it’s time to do an edit. And here things get a bit better. A bit. iMovie has stripped out all but the most basic trimming, titling and transitioning tools. That’s sensible, but leaves little room for creativity. You can clean up your clips, add and mix soundtrack music, voiceover or effects and wrap the whole thing in a pre-ordained, Apple-approved package.

iMovie for iPhone impressed because it made use of a small screen to quickly trim, title and post short videos shot with the iPhone 4’s capable camera. iMovie for iPad 2 should raise the bar considerably, especially in the company of Apple’s ace GarageBand app. Instead it sits firmly in the shade of its sister app’s rising star. There’s little sense of fun, just a struggle that ends with disappointing results. Einstein said everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. Apple’s iMovie team would do well to take heed.

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iMovie for iPad review

Want to make moving postcards? iMovie has you covered. But film editors with ambition won’t make masterpieces on Apple’s tablet. Yet