Join Damian Allen for an in-depth discussion in this video Importing from memory-based cameras, part of iMovie '09 Essential Training.
With iMovie, Apple has really made importing video in your computer as painless as possible. Here, let's take a look at importing video from a tapeless camcorder. That's one that records directly to memory cards or DVDs. If your camera uses tape, be sure to watch the video on importing from tape-based camcorders instead. Connect your camcorder to your Mac using the cable provided with the camcorder, and then make sure that the camcorder is set to the correct mode, usually labeled PC or Computer mode. Or if you have a high speed memory card reader connected to your Mac, insert the camcorder's memory card into that instead.
Once you have made the connection, iMovie opens the Import window. Occasionally, if you are using a DVD based camcorder, Apple DVD Player will automatically launch. That's okay if it does. Just close the DVD player before continuing. Now, in the Import window, you'll see a list of all the clips on your device. To preview a clip, just select it and press Play. (Female speaker: See if you can get... Go stand by Cissy! Take another picture.) (Male speaker: Hey, how you doing, man?) (Male speaker 2: Nothing says Easter like...) You can use the Next and Previous buttons to skip between clips to preview.
(Crowd noises.) Now, to import every single clip, just make sure that the Automatic/Manual switch is set to Automatic and click Import All. However, if you only want to import some of the clips, switch to Manual mode. You can then use the selection boxes to deselect any clips that you don't want imported. Alternately, you can click Check All to select all of the clips again or Uncheck All to deselect all of the clips and then only select the ones you want imported.
When you are done, select Import Checked to begin the import. You will see a new window appears and we'll cover that in a moment, but first I want to look at a couple of other options at the base of the Import window. First, you will see an option to select your camera. If you want to capture live video from your iSight, you can select it from the Camera menu instead of the Connected Camera. Watch the video on importing from other sources for more information. Secondly, a handy option is Archive All. This creates a permanent archive of the entire contents of the camera's memory card.
This is really useful when you need to quickly dump your video to your Mac, to free up your memory card for more shooting. Now, it's important to understand that this option doesn't import your video into iMovie. It just makes a digital copy of the memory card for archive purposes. You'll still need to separately import the clips you want added to your iMovie Library. To do this, choose File > Import > Camera Archive. You'll then locate where you saved the archive and click Import. You can then continue like a regular import session. Now let's get back to this window that just popped up.
First off, we can decide where we want to store the video. In this case I have two hard drives on my computer, one with 14.9 GB free and a video drive dedicated for storing video that currently has 145 GB free. So I'll select that. Next, we need to choose an event name. If you've previously captured other video you'll get to choose to either add the video to one of your existing events, or create a new one. Of course, when you are starting from scratch, you won't have any events so the only option will be to create a new Event.
Here I'll call my event, Easter Fair 2009. I'll also make sure Split days into new Events is selected. This is a pretty good idea, because usually one day of video is an event. You'll find that separate days of shooting really deserve their own events, because different things happen on those days. So for example, if you are on vacation, one day you may have been to the beach, the next to the banana plantations, etcetera, etcetera. If you want to analyze clips for stabilization, select that option. Now, only choose this if you have a lot of shaky footage on the camera.
It will also take a long time. So if you plan to do this for a lot of clips, make sure you have the time to go to dinner, whatever you are going to do, and then come back and work on iMovie later. Next, if you are importing 1080i HD footage, you can choose whether to import at the full resolution, 1920x1080, or half resolution, the Large setting. Now, the Large option still looks great and saves you a lot of space on your hard drive. But if you're really planning on playing things back on a 1080i or 1080p display, you might prefer the Full resolution option. That's it.
Click Import and iMovie '09 goes to work importing your video and creating thumbnails in the library. The Progress Indicator under each clip shows you the progress of that clip's import and a Master Timer shows you the estimated time until all of the import is completed. When everything is complete, click OK, then click Done, and you'll find the new event in the Event Library, ready to preview. (Children: Easter Bunny! Easter Bunny!)
- Understanding basic editing techniques
- Working with wipes, dissolves, and other transitions
- Mixing music with dialogue
- Smoothing out shaky footage
- Applying and manipulating video effects
- Using animated themes in a video
- Enhancing video and still images using RGB and level controls
- Using comment markers and keywords to locate material
- Sharing projects with Final Cut Pro editors
Skill Level Beginner
Q: While trying to load AVI files into iMovie – which iMovie supports – the AVI files would not play. After converting the files with Streamclip, some of the AVI files played, but without sound. The files are from a digital camera, and all had sound when imported from the camera. Is there an easier way to get iMovie to successfully play AVI files besides converting them to other formats?
A: Unfortunately, Mac OS X and iMovie are very picky about which AVI codecs they will play. While installing an application like Flip4Mac might lead to some success, the most likely road to playing the AVI files is to convert them via some application like Streamclip, HandBrake, iSquint, etc.
Q: I have downloaded exercise files for iMovie ’09 Essential Training, but when opened, show a “source clip missing" error. What could be causing this problem?
A: Directions for downloading and using the exercise files are detailed in the "Using the exercise files" movie in the Introduction chapter.
Make sure to move over the iMovie Events folder into the Movies directory on the Home drive, as it contains the source clips used in the projects. If the iMovie Events folder is not in the same directory, iMovie will display the “Source clip is missing” error in the clip viewer.