Creating home movies: iMovie, iDVD, Express, Pro - Camcorder type

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by gwe, Nov 25, 2003.

  1. gwe macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2003
    the world is my home
    hey guys
    thanks for reading this post

    I have a question for everyone who makes home movies with iMovie and then exports them to make their own DVDs. I appreciate suggestion, but would really prefer real life first hand experiences over anything else.

    sub 1000 camera ($ is an issue, I am a student)
    has to be able to work with my powerbook to make home movies

    Is it really as easy as Apple plays it?
    What type of camcorder is supported?
    Has Apple's "Compatibility List" been exhausted?

    Thanks guys!


    aim: geoffreywarnered
  2. ehawk macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2003
    Yes it is easy

    I have a canon zr40. Works great with imovie. You can't beat the price on the canon zr series if you are just looking for a casual non professional camera. imovie is very easy to work with and can create some great looking movies. Express does a much better job but the learning curve is a little steeper. I think you will find that it is very easy and a lot of fun.
  3. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    I have a Canon ZR60 camcorder and I love it... cost about $500 or so I believe... if you're buying a new Mac I'd recommend getting Final Cut Express as it's only $99... pick up Final Cut Express for Dummies to learn the basics (worked well for me). I get really good video on my ZR60 and the audio is great except that you can hear the tape motors (just a hummmm)... but with most compact cameras I think that's just a general issue...

    iMovie is super easy to use if you don't get Express... if you can afford it, I'd get express with your Mac.

    As an example of how easy it is... some of my PC using friends used my Mac to edit a video... not only was video editing foreign to them, the Mac platform was also foreign to them. Also a few weeks prior when I was fixing their PC's and asked them where their Word documents were stored they told me they were stored... in Word. So they don't even know their own platform very well. Without telling them much of anything they were editing video with ease on their own using iMovie and were very happy with the results... the replies of "I wish my computer worked this easy" could only make me grin.
  4. superbovine macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2003
    Re: Creating home movies: iMovie, iDVD, Express, Pro - Camcorder type

    (seeing that you used the $ in you post, i assume you are in america, non of the PAL cameras on that list will work on american tv's)
    answer your question?

    to really answer you question, what kind of home movies are you wanting to make? like you want the camera to be something fun you carry around with and shot your friends? or do you something to do school projects with? do you want shot things in 16:9 ratio? do you want shot things at night?
  5. happyt3hman macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2003
    Re: Creating home movies: iMovie, iDVD, Express, Pro - Camcorder type

    I agree with the above comments. The ZR line of Canon camcorders are well-priced, and have good features. Be careful, some are terrible with low light shooting, but if you have access to any sort of lighting gear, you will be totally fine.

    Also, some of the ZR line have ANALOG INPUTS!!! This is fantastic for video capture of almost any format you need, just plug it into your VCR and capture that old crap and turn it into DV. Anything that can put out an Analog signal can be captured, as long as there is no copy protection.

    iMovie... yes, it is that easy. I switched from Windows 98 and went right into OS X and I have never looked back. iMovie has almost NO learning curve, it is just that easy. Just imagine what you want to do, and there is most likely a button for it.

    Have fun.
  6. ehawk macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2003
    Canon's are bad in low light

    I agree, while the canon's are priced great, they are terrible in low light. You need to plan accordingly when you are shooting anything.
  7. Rod Rod macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    Sep 21, 2003
    Las Vegas, NV
    it's not Canon's fault

    All camcorders give less than optimal results in low light. It's a function of the size of the CCDs (the chips that process the light). Smaller CCDs have less light sensitivity. You can't do anything about that once you've bought your camera.

    But you can spend two minutes getting to know your camera. Shooting in "auto" mode all the time is guaranteed to give cruddy results. Use manual mode once in a while, especially in low light situations. Find "gain up" in your menus and adjust it to a higher light sensitivity (+12 or +18dB). You will get more of the image you're shooting, but you'll also get video noise. It's a trade-off and the only way to avoid it is to shoot properly lit scenes all the time.

    My Canon XL1-s has bigger CCDs than my JVC GRD70, and it gives much better results in low light, even with manual gain-up in the JVC.

    gwe: You can get a nice and basic miniDV camcorder for around $300. Once you know which model you like, check and search it under "digital photography." Since you mentioned a $1000 budget, well you can get a 3-CCD camcorder for $610-700. Most every consumer camcorder is single-chip. The advantage of three chips is color fidelity, especially in warm tones. The $610-700 3-chip camera is the Panasonic GS70.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the iMovie - camcorder - compatibility list. That list is not comprehensive, and if a particular model isn't listed it's more likely the manufacturer didn't send an example of it to Apple for testing, or Apple didn't get around to testing it yet. Apparently a couple of brands (Sharp being one of them) have had non-compliant equipment in the past. You should be fine with any current Canon, JVC, Sony or Panasonic.
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Re: it's not Canon's fault

    The 3 chip consumer cameras, like the Panasonic you listed, give you better color but at the cost of image detail because they use 1/6" CCDs where as most single CCD consumer cameras use 1/4" CCDs. Just a trade-off.

    Oh, and iMovie and iDVD are really that easy to use. The first time I used iDVD I customized everything that I could and it took me about 30 or 45 minutes to create the menu. If I would've used one of iDVD preset themes it probably would have taken 5 minutes or less.


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