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Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by w00t5000, May 20, 2009.
I'm on a 12" Powerbook G4 Mac laptop, and I use iMovie HD 6.0.3
As said here, your PowerBook is at the bottom of the specs required to cut HDV footage. Also the camera records a MPEG-2 stream to the tape, iMovie will convert it to AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) for better editing. The data rate will be around 100 Mbps (12.5 MByte/s), so you need a fast hard external FireWire hard drive, and a good processor.
I once used to play HDV footage on a Core2Duo iMac with 2GHz, and the CPU was up to 50-70% usage.
So don't expect any wonders with your G4.
A white MacBook would do better.
I have a pretty nice rig. Intel Core 2 Duo 3GHz, 8GB RAM, 5HDDs so that I can capture video to a separate HDD and also output the final video to a separate HDD (reduce HDD load), and a nice 3D graphics card (ATI Radeon HD 3870 512MB).
With all of that, my most recent 17-minute HD video took over 2 hours and 40 minutes to output. I output first as a QuickTime movie, and then use that movie with Compressor to make my final output version for YouTube/Vimeo HD.
I recently did a 25 minute video and it took upwards of 6+ hours (I didn't output first as a QuickTime movie).
Although I'm editing in FCP, I'm not really adding much more than what you would add in iMovie (transitions, titles, that's about it for the most part). You will find it INCREDIBLY slow and painful. Trust me.
It's also not wise to capture video to the same drive running FCP and Mac OS X. You should make sure to capture to a second drive, so install an eSATA card and grab yourself an external drive.
In case you're unaware, you *CANNOT* use USB to work with HD video. It just cannot handle the data flow, PERIOD. A USB external hard drive is essentially worthless for video editing (unless you just manually backup videos at your own leisure).
Also, be wary of daisy-chaining an HDD to your Firewire with your camera at the same time. Both devices running simultaneous while capturing footage may cause issues. I don't recommend it.
BTW, I have an HV20 and it's awesome
P.S. Remember, you can set the camera to DV mode and just record at SD quality. You would use the same MiniDV tapes for HDV/DV (don't bother with the special HDV tapes, waste of money).
So are you saying that the footage would be slow and take up a lot of space? Then what would be ideal for my computer if I wanted the highest quality I could get, without requiring too much external hard drive space?
If you're editing with AIC, 1min of footage will take up 1GB of space, so an external FireWire drive should be on your purchasing list too.
I don't know of another way editing with iMovie and HDV footage, as HDV is using the MPEG-2 codec to compress the footage, and MPEG-2 is not meant for editing, as it only stores every 15th frame and the in between frames are approximations of changes between frames - nothing a good editing software likes.
As for CPU speed, you could give it a try, by renting a HDV camera and capturing the footage, or kindly asking a friend or even a store with HDV camera, if you could capture one or two minutes of HDV footage with iMovie.
But I still think you will not have a fluent editing with HDV and your old G4.
Some useful information regarding HDV: http://www.vasst.com/index.php?option=com_xfaq&Itemid=87
Another way to see if you'll be able to edit HDV footage would be to download a 1080p or 720p trailer from Apple and convert it via MPEG Streamclip or QT to a video using the AIC maybe, and then import the result into iMovie.
But you may also see that even playing the highly compressed .h264 trailers might but your Mac to the knees, but that may be due to encoding the trailer.