View Full Version : importing video into iMovie HD from DVD camcorder

03-22-2006, 09:38 PM
hi all

my dad's just bought a new panasonic DVD camcorder. we're buying him a laptop for his birthday so he can get into editing, i've been pushing for a 14" iBook.

anyway, i go into the store today, cash in hand, and the guy tells me iMovie don't work with DVD cams, just miniDV. is this completely true? would it be possible to use the USB connection instead, and drag files across?

am i correct in assuming that it's not possible to take the mini DVD disk and put it in the mac, as slot loading drives don't like the smaller discs???

finally, is this a mac/iMovie specific issue? would a PC running pinnacle studio be more likely to work, or would it face the same issues?

i really want to get something in the next few days so i can meet a salary-packaging deadline. any suggestions or experience would be greatly appreciated.

cheers, wez

03-23-2006, 03:43 AM
Yes, what they told you at the store is true, and no, it's not an issue of what kind of computer you're using so you'd be facing all the same issues regardless of OS. The difficulty is in the nature of the formats.

MiniDV is a format that was designed with digital editing in mind. Every frame of video is independent.

DVD video spec on the other hand, calls for MPEG2 video, which while great as a final delivery format, is unsuitable for many reasons for anything more than cuts-only editing, and even then it's limited. MPEG2 compression achieves its results by compressing the difference between keyframes, so you don't have each frame being independent.

Now, you can convert MPEG2 to DV and edit that, but it takes extra time and hassle, requires use of more software and ultimately, you're going to be degrading the quality of the video by converting not once, but probably twice since after a project is edited, it's not going to stay in DV format for delivery, so will have to recompressed again.

If your dad can still return that camera, I'd tell him to do it and buy a miniDV cam instead if he means to get into editing. The DVD camcorder is one of the dumber ideas ever to make it to the consumer market as it's really only good for people who want the convenience of straight from camera to DVD player and don't care about editing. I won't even get into the mechanical fragility issues. Not worth the hassle.

03-23-2006, 05:12 PM
thanks, that's a very helpful reply, i get it now.

we've done a bit of testing and thinking about this... at the moment it looks like the only major practical difference between the PC & iBook is the slot load drive issue. we loaded a mini DVD disc into the PC DVD tray - no probs. so - why not just buy the iBook, and an external USB/FW DVD drive? that would still work out cheaper than the equivalent PC.

any dumb oversights on my part, or other reasons this wouldn't work?

cheers, wez