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In iMovie '11 Essential Training, author Garrick Chow illustrates the process of creating high-quality video using iMovie '11. The course covers the entire post-production process, from importing audio, video, and still images to adding effects, creating trailers, and sharing your finished projects on social networks. Also included are tutorials on adjusting audio levels, automatically identifying clips that include faces, and using green screen effects. Exercise files accompany the course.
Before we get into examining the iMovie interface and work area, we need to have some video clips to work with. So in this chapter, I want to show you some of the various ways in which you can bring video footage into iMovie `11. Let's begin by taking a look at the ways you can connect various types of video cameras to your Mac. Now, DV, or digital video, cameras were the first type of cameras that the first version of iMovie was able to control and import footage from. You are not seeing as many of these types of cameras for sale these days, but a lot of people still have and use them, so iMovie maintains this important ability to import footage from DV cameras in this latest version.
DV cameras shoot to mini-DV tapes. They look like this, and most hold about 60 minutes of footage. And most DV cameras connect to your Mac via a FireWire cable. FireWire is Apple's name for the type of interface used by your camera and your Mac, but you may also see the connector on your camera labeled as iLink or the very-easy-to-remember IEEE1394, which is actually the technical name for the interface. It depends on your camera's manufacturer, but they all refer to FireWire. This is what the ends of a FireWire cable look like. Most commonly the smaller end of the FireEire cable, the 4 pin end, connects to your camera, and the larger 6 pin end goes into your Mac.
However, none of the current Mac models have FireWire 400 built in anymore, so if you have a newer Mac with FireWire, it's FireWire 800, which looks like this. So you'll need an adapter to plug your FireWire 400 cable into your Mac if your Mac only has FireWire 800. Now, the types of cameras you are seeing the most of in stores these days are tape-less cameras that record to either mini DVD discs, or more commonly, internal hard drives, and they generally don't use FireWire at all, but instead use a USB connector. You probably have a cable like this for your digital still camera.
The smaller end goes into your camera, and the larger end goes into one of your Mac's USB ports. But for the most part, you are going to be connecting your camera either by FireWire or USB. There are other ways to get video footage into iMovie, but FireWire and USB are the two ways to do it if you are connecting a camera to your Mac. In the next movie, we will take a look at how to capture footage from a DV camera.
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