Mini DV Tapes and iMovie 11

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by JamesWinslow, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. JamesWinslow macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2011

    I've done a fairly exhaustive search regarding the importing of video from mini DV tapes into iMovie 11 and was hoping someone could confirm a few things for me.

    I have quite a few mini DV tapes that I wish to import onto a MacBook Pro with iMovie 11 installed on it. I want the footage to be as lossless and pure as possible. From what I gather, keeping it as a Quicktime DV file with the separate audio tracks is the way to go since iMovie 11 (as I understand it) muxes the audio tracks.

    At this point, no editing of the video will be done. I figure it is better to have the audio tracks separated in the event I want to edit with Final Cut in the future.

    Is this way to go?

    Also--I keep finding that iMovie 06 is best for the DV format. If I put this on my system will that import the mini DV tapes in a lossless way--specifically, are the audio tracks kept separate?

    Is iMovie 6 the only way to do this? I've discovered a program called FootTrack via this forum but cannot tell if it is still supported and if the import is a pure .DV file with separate audio tracks.

    My hope is that with a 2TB drive I can simply import 30 one hour mini-DV tapes (at probably 13 gigs/tape) into a QuickTime DV format with separate audio and then down the road edit them in Final Cut Express.

    I would be very grateful to any suggestions on this!


  2. -DH macrumors 65816

    Nov 28, 2006
    Nashville Tennessee
    iMovie captures as a DV Stream (.dv) which is how DV is recorded to tape. FCE and FCP capture DV using the QuickTime DV codec which does demux that audio and video but it doesn't actually separate the audio. It just keeps them in the same container as the video in a non-multiplexed state.

    The best way to proceed depends on which NLE you'll be using to edit. If you plan to edit in FCE/FCP, then use one of those apps for capturing. If you're going to edit in iMovie, go ahead and capture using that app.

    You can also capture with QuickTime Pro, CatDV or several other apps.

  3. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.

    iMovie missing field import problem of interlaced material. This issue affects video quality and as far as I know is part of iMovie 08-11.

    One possible solution I have marked. Fortunately I haven't needed to try this yet.

    If you have FCE now, then use it for the import and edit. If you were to use iMovie 06, you'd have to demux the audio to make it usable in live edit mode in Final Cut. Re-rendering the audio every time you alter an edit clip is a PITA.

    Final Cut X is suppose to be released this month for $399 via the Mac App Store. There isn't any information from Apple about it's capability to use tape. A (one source) rumor I've heard is that is will not. I would hope that any feedback Apple has gotten from the pros has reminded Apple that tape is not dead and should be supported from day 1. We'll know shortly what the facts are.
  4. JamesWinslow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2011
    Thanks for the responses. I appreciate it. It looks like the best way to go would be to use FC or FCE. Since importing these mini DV tapes will be a one-off deal then I'll go to flash cards and HD full-time, staying away from iMovie for long-term preservation of footage seems to be the plan.

  5. JamesWinslow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2011
    Hey Guys,

    Upon further reflection, one other question--I do want to keep the audio and video non-multiplexed. I don't currently have QuickTime Pro nor Cat DV but I've been researching them.

    Can anyone confirm for me that if I import DV into QuickTime Pro or Cat DV will I be given the option to keep the DV audio/video non-multiplexed? Most likely I will edit in FCE but don't currently own it and would like to just get the tapes onto a hard drive in an inexpensive manner.

    Thanks again!
  6. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    I use iMovie11 and DV tapes with no problems at all. Never come across a problem with interlacing with DV tapes.
  7. gregbellah macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2011
    Please Help Dave!!!

    Dave, Please tell me your setup. I imported a funeral (appx 1hr long) from my canon gl-2 mini dv into my mbPro, with imovie11 using firewire, and it looks horrible!! very grainy, noticeable mostly in the black colors, no shadow gradients, just big blocky chunks of black. All of the video looks very compressed / degraded.

    Playback from the camera into a video monitor looks great however. Please help! I have done the exact same thing many times before with great results, but this is the first time with iMovie11.

    I even tried a friends new Macbook, with the same ugly results. After that I took my camera and went to the genius bar at my apple store, they were unable to figure anything out either. Very frustrating...
  8. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    White MacBook with Snow Leopard and using a JVC GR-D23 MiniDV camcorder. It works fine although it's possible that there is a slight difference in the quality between iMovie6 and 11, but I couldn't be certain.

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