New to camcorders and iMovie, I NEED HELP!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MXDT, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. MXDT macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2004

    I got a Canon DVD camcorder for xmas. I was wondering how do I even begin to use iMovie with it or how to get it on my iBook in the first place?

    I've plugged it in and it comes up as a DVD-RW on my desktop..
    I've opened iMovie and don't even know where to begin to get the content in iMovie.

    Secondly how would I make copies of the mini DVD on to larger DVD's?

    Thanks a :) lot!
  2. masterjedi73 macrumors 6502


    Jan 12, 2004
    A few things....

    How are you connecting it? firewire?
    Does your iBook have a superdrive or a combodrive?
  3. hcuar macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2004
    Well... I'm not sure how to tell you this...

    Mini DVD cams kinda suck for iMovie. The best cam to buy is a DV cam. DV cams nicely import into iMovie us a firewire cable.

    Ok... that that we've talked about what you didn't buy. If there is no sort of firewire interface on your camcorder, then you are going to have to use something to rip the DVD and use the ripped video. It will then have to be re-encoded to use in iMovie. The bad part is to go back to a DVD, it will require another encoding. Each encoding kills some of the quality.

    iMovie works natively with the DV files that iMovie imports.

    Maybe I've missed something that someone else can help with... :eek:
  4. MXDT thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2004
    its connected via USB and it has a super drive.
  5. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    You're going to struggle. If you still have time to return the camera and get a DV tape one, I'd do that.

    iMovie won't see a USB device (many USB connections are prone to dropping frames of video and are better just for bringing over the still pics you've taken on the camera's memory); just firewire. The mini-DVDs won't go into a slot loading drive - or at least, it will be darned risky to try and get them out again so you're going to have a tough job getting them onto the Mac even to re-encode them to a format that iMovie can use.
  6. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    I'm sure there are lots of other applications available and no doubt free but I'm pretty sure QuickTime Pro will convert mpeg2 to DV, anybody able to confirm? QuickTime Pro is a great application with many 'hidden' (at least I keep finding stuff it can do) features and it's only ~$30.
  7. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    I agree with the above post on returning it. If you plan to edit your footage in iMovie (or any other video editing app) then you should have a MiniDV tape based camcorder.

    The DVD-based camcorders are for people who will NEVER edit their footage on a computer. That is the whole point. You just shoot onto DVD and then pop that into your DVD player and watch. It's for soccer moms and grandparents.

    The DVD-based camcorder is probably recording your video as MPEG2, which is a highly compressed DELILVERY format. MPEG2 was never meant to be an editing format. It was meant as a final delivery format. This is the same format that commerical DVDs use.

    Even the "full qualilty" DV stored on MiniDV tapes is compressed, but not nearly as much as MPEG2. One hour of DV is about 13GB, one hour of MPEG2 is about 2GB. Generally speaking, of course.

    I'm sure there are freeware applications that will allow you to rip your video off of the DVD and get it into iMovie. MacTheRipper, maybe? But, if you are going to edit your movies often--even just adding transistions and titles--this is going to add time to your workflow. That, combined with the fact that you'll be editing lower quality (more compressed) footage really means that you should move away from the DVD-based cam.

    The good news is that you can also get a much better MiniDV cam for the same price because you won't be paying for the convience of DVD. Check out the Panasonic GS250, GS400 or the new GS300 and GS500. These are 3CCD cams which give awesome video quality. The mid-range Sonys and Canon Opturas are good too. Stay away from any other brands.

    Good luck.
  8. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    There's an additional $19 MPEG-2 plugin available for QT Pro. A previous thread suggested Streamclip or DVDxDV.

    iMovie is certainly optimized for DV, but this seems like a severe limitation since Premiere Elements (windows only) supports a whole bunch of MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 cameras. Apple is turning around though, iMovie HD 6 now supports MPEG-4 cameras. I find it quite odd that they didn't add MPEG-2/DVD support.

    Note also that I've also used 320x240 MJPEG clips from my digital still camera in iMovie/iDVD with not so horrible results.

  9. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    You're right I'd forgotton the plug-in. The plug-in is the reason I'd imagine that iMovie doesn't do mpeg2, didn't Apple have to have the mpeg2 as a plug-in because of licencing issues?

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