how to copy minidv in imovie

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by shanno09, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. shanno09 macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2007
    Please bear with me as I am very new to all this. I have a miniDV camcorder (Panasonic). I have about 10-15 tapes which I would like to import and copy the content onto an external HDD (space is no issue). I think mini dv tapes store information in dv or avi - is that right? I would like to get the video without losing quality or converting into any format and save them onto the external HDD. This is just like a backup so that in 10 years I can do stuff with them if I want to.

    When I attach the camcorder and open up a new project in imovie it does not give me any options as to what format do I want to import it in.The problem is when I import the file into imovie it seems to convert it to a .imovieproject. I am not sure I want it to convert it from dv to .mov and then back to dv again. i am not going to be editing or playing around with the footage now - I just want to store it for now.

    If later I want to take this movie from the HDD that I have saved it on to a PC then will that be possible? I don't know want to limit to being used on a mac only and hence in a specific imovie format.

    What is the best way to store these videos for long term with converting/compressing them? And how do I do it in imovie? I am using iMovie HD 6.0.3.

    Thanks very much
  2. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    It's actually quite easy to do what you want with iMovie6.

    iMovie will import your miniDV tapes in DV format. The .imovieproject file is just a container that has all of your media, transitions, etc.

    If you right-click (or ctrl-click on a laptop) the project file, you get a drop-down that has "Show Package Contents". Choose that.

    There should be a folder called Media and a bunch of files in it. The files will be named Clip01, Clip02, etc. You will, by default, get a clip file for each time you started/stopped recording on the camcorder. This could result in tons of files. Most people like it this way. However, I think there is a setting in iMovie that will import the whole tape as one gigantic file (or at least chop them up to 4GB files). I think you lose the time codes if you do that.

    You might want to import each tape as a separate iMovie Project and copy the DV clips out into a separate folder for each tape. That's what I would suggest.

    Incidentally, if you have iMovie'08, it handles clips differently. The video is filed more like iTunes. Video is sorted by date/events and can be stored anywhere (ext HDDs, etc.).

  3. shanno09 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2007
    Thanks for your reply. I can now see the .dv file in the imovie project. I tried to play the dv file and the quality of the movie is not half as good as the original (and as the imovie project that is played in imovie). Does that mean that getting the .dv file from the package will end up losing quality?

    thanks a lot
  4. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    That is not true. The native format of imovie *and* your camera is DV. There is no conversion taking place here. if you're seeing some sort of loss of quality, it's from the program you are using to view the files.
  5. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    quicktime player by default plays clips at half res to use less resources.

    you can change it to play at high quality in preferences.
  6. sas76 macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2006
    I have been using a program called foottrack to import large quanties of DV fotage. You can then simply drag/drop into either imovie or final cut. It also keep them very organised by tape or catergorie's.

    Best way to store media is on the original tapes. Very cheap way to store it, but not easy to access.

    My process is import to foottrack, edit in either iMovie or FCE, export in apple TV settings (stream through connect 360 to xbox) burn good quality to DVD and keep the orginal data on tape.
    Hope this helps
  7. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    "Capturing" video from your DV camcorder to iMovie, or Final Cut, or Premiere (saving it as a DV stream in a wrapper such as MOV or AVI), and "Exporting" back from the video file to the camcorder, if done via Firewire, is a 100% identical digital copy, every time. People have done tests where they have copied a frame of video back and forth from tape to computer and back again, over and over, and then compared them -- bit for bit, they were identical.

    You never lose quality unless you re-render (e.g. to process a video effect), or unless there was some data corruption (but this would be very obvious, the same way your satellite or digital cable feed occasionally breaks up).

    Someone mentioned there is a bug/feature where QuickTime doesn't appear to play your DV files in full quality. But if you were to dump it back to your camera, you'd see it was identical.

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