Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Importing from a tape-based camera, part of iMovie 11 Essential Training.
In this movie, I am going to show you how to import footage recorded on a DV camera that's using mini DV tape. Since this is a tape-based camera, that means you are going to be importing footage into iMovie in real time, meaning that any footage you want to import has to be played back at the same speed it was recorded. Let's start by opening iMovie. So to import footage from my camera, I need to connect it to my Mac via a FireWire cable, which I have already done, but I haven't turned it on yet. When you turn on your camera, you will need to set it to VTR mode, which may also be called VCR or Playback mode on your camera.
It's often the same mode used to watch the footage on your camera. Once you do so, iMovie should automatically recognize that you have turned the camera on, and you can see that opens up the Import window. Now, if you have multiple devices connected to your Mac, you can choose the device you want to import from here. For example, if I had an iSight camera connected or built in to my Mac, I could choose it from this menu, but currently I only have my camcorder connected to my Mac. Now we have two options for importing footage from this camera. We have Automatic and Manual. If we select Automatic and then click Import, iMovie will automatically rewind the camera and import all the footage on the tape.
And as a nice touch, it automatically rewinds the tape for you again when it's done. So if you want to import everything on the tape, you can select Automatic, click Import, and then walk away. If you choose Manual, you will use the playback controls that appear to fast-forward and rewind the tape to find the footage you want, and then you can sit here and click the Import button anytime you find footage you want to import. It really depends on the footage you shot. If you want to get everything, you would select Automatic. If you know that you only need a few minutes of the footage and you want to save yourself the hard drive space, choose Manual and then click Import when you see the parts you want.
So I am going to leave Manual selected, and maybe in this case I do know that I want to start capturing from the very beginning of the tape, so I'll just click Import. Notice this dialog box that's appeared. It tells me that any type of content that iMovie can automatically import, but what's important here is my selection for high-definition content. If you are shooting with the high-def camera, iMovie can import all your footage at its original size, which as you can see here, is the highest possible quality, but it takes up much more hard drive space, up to 40 gigabytes per hour. Also note that it may not play back smoothly on certain computers.
If you are planning on sharing the video that you import to the web or maybe on a CD and you are not really doing it for professional purposes, you're probably better off sticking with the default selection of Large, which slightly reduces the size of the video that it's importing, and it does take up much less space. Also note that you can change these settings later if need be, so I am going to leave Large selected. So iMovie will take my 10:80 HD content and import it at the slightly smaller size, but it will still look good. So in this dialog box that appears here, it's asking me where I want to save my content to, and you can choose any supported hard disk that's connected to your computer.
Notice it even tells you how much space you have for you on each of your drives and about how much footage you will be able to import to it. I am just going to leave my default system drive selected. Next, we have a choice to create a new event or add an existing event. Video clips in iMovie `11 are organized by events. So you can create events like birthday, graduation, vacation, and so on. And you don't have to worry about coming up with the perfect event name. You can always change it later or even move or copy clips from one event to another. In this case, this is a brand-new installation of iMovie, so I don't have any existing events, so that option isn't available here.
So I am going to create a new event. And this is just some footage on my camera that I recorded of me working on my computer, so I might just call this "Working on computer." Notice we have the check box Split days into new Events. If you have recorded a lot of footage that takes place over multiple days and you have this option checked, iMovie will automatically create multiple events for each day. But if you prefer everything from the tape to be put into a single event, you can uncheck this option. We also have the option here to analyze our video after we import it, and we can analyze for Stabilization, People, or Stabilization and People.
The Stabilization feature is an ability of iMovie that can take shaky footage and smooth it out. And the People option is a new feature of iMovie in which it will go through your footage and try to detect the presence of people. And that way you will be able to look up your footage later and find just the footage that has people on it. Now if you do select any of these and check this option, just be aware that it will add a significant amount of time to your import. So if I am in a rush to get footage imported, I prefer to leave this option unchecked, because you can always go back and analyze specific clips for Stabilization and People later. And the last option here is the choice of how we want to import our 1080 HD video, and we did already decide to import that as Large rather than Full - Original Size, but this is where you can change your mind.
Once you have decided on your settings, you can click Import. So now iMovie is starting up my camera, playing the footage. Now you can see it's now importing. Down here, you can see it's capturing HD in real time. When you have captured the footage you want, you can click Stop. And if you look in the background here, you can see the event that's being created, and there is some of the footage, and I can continue capturing more footage by clicking the Play button again.
And when I see a section where I want to import footage, I will click Import. Now, you can see we've paused the video at this point, and now we have the option to add to existing event. So if I want to add more footage to that existing event, I can choose it from here or create another new event. I am just going to leave everything the way it is and click Import. So there is the footage again. Now if at anytime I needed to rewind or fast-forward, I can use those control buttons here. And again, I'll stop importing. And I am going to go ahead and close the Import window now, and you can see now in iMovie here in my Event Library, we can see the footage that I just imported.
So that's how you import footage from my tape-based camera in iMovie `11.
- Importing footage and stills
- Organizing and locating clips using ratings and keyword tags
- Cropping, trimming, splitting, and fine-tuning clips
- Inserting transitions between clips
- Applying One-Step effects
- Stabilizing shaky footage
- Adding background music and voiceovers
- Synchronizing footage to specific points of an audio track
- Publishing content to YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook
- Exporting movies and projects