Can I use external iSight camera with my Intel chip iMac?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by stringtheorist, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. stringtheorist macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #1
    I'm trying to work out a dual-camera setup which would allow me to capture two video sources simultaneously (for instructional video). It seems to me that since the built-in iSight camera on my iMac is of good enough quality for my needs that an external one might be a good choice for the second camera. However, I am not sure whether these are compatible with Intel chip iMacs... Can anyone reassure me?

    Secondly, if anyone else has run a similar setup, what hardware/software did you use, and is there anything I should know? I'm intending to trial Capture Magic SD which handles multiple camera inputs. Said cameras require firewire connectivity which is why I'm hitting on the iSight rather than a USB webcam. If iSight won't run on my iMac, what are suitable alternatives? (I can't afford a pair of new camcorders!)
     
  2. pilotError macrumors 68020

    pilotError

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island
    #2
    The iSight works fine on Intel based Macs. I have one connected to a Mac Mini.

    I don't know the 2 camera question though. iMac's use USB internally for the built in iSight. The external uses firewire. I guess whatever software your using would have to allow you to pick the correct one.

    I thought you would just use two separate cameras (even a video camera) and sync the videos in editing. I'm a programmer though, so take that with a grain of salt.
     
  3. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 1, 2008
    #3
    I need to capture both shots simultaneously as I want to film myself playing the guitar from two different angles and they must correlate.
     
  4. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #4
    What you can do is use a miniDV camera and record one angle, onto miniDV tape, and use the Mac's iSight to record the other angle, directly to your hard drive, at the same time. Then you import the footage from the tape and sync it up with what you recorded onto the hard drive.
     
  5. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #5
    Yep, that would work. I suspect that it would be considerably more expensive though, especially if it turns out that I need two input sources because I can't get the shot I want on the iSight. I'm thinking two external iSight cameras (if it will work) rather than using the built-in one. I can't get a good shot of me playing unless I stand up close to the screen.
     
  6. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #6
    Well, maybe a compromise -- get an iSight and one miniDV camera? Cameras can be had for $200-300 these days and if you intend on doing any sort of "serious" video editing, it would be worth the investment. Other options include digital cameras with built-in video settings (probably not great, but might be comparable to the iSight) or those solid-state MPEG4 recording devices.

    Basically I'm trying to steer you toward devices that won't be tied to the computer, not require you to try and find ways of capturing multiple DV streams at once, and have more utility than a webcam. You'll find it much more useful for recording other types of shots and other projects.

    What you could also do is do it in two takes, playing the song multiple times and recording the song with the same camera in a different angle each time. Yes, I know you won't get it perfect, but if you're a consistent guitar player and you keep the same strumming or picking rhythms, you should be able to get it close enough. You can even replay the recording from your first take (the "good" audio take) and play along with yourself to keep sync. The audio will be a mess but you'll cut it out and only use the "good" track. If you're off by a split second or playing slightly too fast or too slow, you can fix all those things by manipulating the footage from your other takes. Give it a consideration, it's not as hard as you might think.
     
  7. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #7
    I can see the value in what you're suggesting, just worried about running up the costs. I guess I'll get a secondhand iSight (I'm still not sure these are compatible but I'm willing to take the risk) and go from there. I do want to get a DV camera one day anyhow but right now I don't know what the best buys are.
     
  8. a3ent macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    #8
    YES You Can

    So...A 2 cam set up via Firewire and/or iSight cam with the intel mac is absolutely possible.

    As far as costs go, you need to spend a bit anyway to get the initial set up running. As far as I know, you will need to spend some $$$ on a firewire enabled cam (iSight cams will do, and like stated before mini DV cams with a Firewire port are compatible) Rent a cam, or borrow...I was even able to find an old High 8 camera in a storage closet and it had a port. I hooked it in and I was in business. I had to invest in a FireWire cable.

    Sometimes I use the Built in iSight cam as one source and the High 8 as the other on my Dual Core iMac. When on the road, I use my macbook pro's built in iSight and then the old "portable" iSight as a second source.

    So now that you got that done. I believe that you will NOT be able to record 2 or more cameras without SOFTWARE ($$$) So far, I have recently discovered CAPTURE MAGIC SD ($159) http://www.bigmugsoftware.com/. It seems affordable for me, but I don't know you're budget.

    Another option may require some outside help, but it is cheaper and works great with macs. CAMCAMX (http://b-l-a-c-k-o-p.com/CamCamX.html) is a LIVE video switcher that inputs 2 camera inputs and can be recorded on Quicktime Pro or iMove. Can't remember the price!

    1. You hit RECORD once everything is hooked up and strum away, but you need someone else to switch back and forth as you play LIVE (unless you have a 3rd arm or something extra ordinary like that)

    2. CamCamx Only comes with one aspect ratio meant for WEB. If you want to put your guitar playing skills on YouTube or make a webcast, then this is for you. But it's not good for TV aspect ratios.

    *Good thing about CamCamX: Once recorded and switched LIVE, there should be no editing.


    ...and that, my friend, is the bare bones! Once you've invested into your initial set up, all you have to do is rinse and repeat! You can create all kinds of multicam vids.

    Good luck and send me a link when the final product is done.

    Alex
    www.a3ent.com
     

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