iMovie (2013): Import from tape-based cameras

Import from tape-based cameras

You can import media from a tape-based camcorder or device. To determine which clips you want to import (rather than importing all of them), you can view them using iMovie before you import them.

iMovie supports tape-based import of the following formats: DV (including DVCAM and DVCPRO) and HDV.

To check whether your camera is compatible with iMovie, go to the iMovie Supported Cameras webpage.

Import from a tape-based camcorder

  1. Connect the camcorder to your computer using the cable that came with it.

    You may need to adjust the settings on your camcorder so that it can be controlled by iMovie. If your Mac doesn’t have a FireWire port but does have a Thunderbolt port, you can connect the FireWire cable using an Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter or an Apple Thunderbolt Display (which also has a FireWire port).

    Note:   For best results when importing from a tape-based camcorder, it’s recommended that you import the video using the same camcorder you used to record it.
  2. Turn on the camcorder and set it to VTR or VCR mode.

    This mode may have a different name on your camcorder. For more information, see the documentation that came with your camcorder.

  3. Click the Import button in the toolbar.

    Figure. Import button in the toolbar.
  4. Select your tape-based camcorder in the Cameras section of the Import window sidebar.

    The Import window displays the image from the current position of the tape.

  5. To control preview playback, position the pointer over the preview in the top portion of the Import window, and do any of the following:

    Figure. Import window playback controls.
    • To play or pause the selected clip: Click the Play button (or press the Space bar).

    • To go to the next or previous item: Click the Next button or the Previous button.

      Note:   If you’re at or near the end of the selected clip, you can click the Previous button to return to the start of the clip.
    • To fast-forward: Position the pointer on the Next button, and hold down the mouse or trackpad button.

    • To rewind: Position the pointer on the Previous button, and hold down the mouse or trackpad button.

  6. Do one of the following:

    • To choose an existing event to contain the imported clips: Choose the event from the “Import to” pop-up menu at the top of the Import window.

      Figure. "Import to" pop-up menu.
    • To create a new event to contain the imported clips: Choose New Event from the “Import to” pop-up menu, type a name for the new event, and press Return.

    To learn more about events, see Organize your events and projects.

  7. When you find the point on the tape where you want to begin importing, click Import.

    iMovie begins importing immediately from the current location on the tape. It continues to import (and save the resulting media file to the event you specified) until one of the following occurs:

    • It reaches the end of the tape.

    • The hard disk you’re importing to is full.

    • You stop the import session by clicking Stop Import or Close (to close the Import window).

    The video plays as it’s being imported. It takes as long to import the video as it takes to watch it at normal speed.

  8. When the section of video you want to import has been imported, click Stop Import.

    If you want to import another section of video, use the playback controls to set your tape to another point where you want to begin importing, and click Import again.

  9. When you’re done importing, click Close to close the Import window.

Last Modified: Nov 3, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Nov 3, 2013
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