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iLife '04: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Importing Footage from Non-DV Tapes

We live in a transitional period. The huge majority of the world’s existing camcorders and VCRs require VHS, VHS-C, or 8mm cassettes.

DV camcorders are rapidly catching up. But for now, potential video editors face a very real problem: how to transfer into iMovie the footage they shot before the DV era. Fortunately, this is fairly easy to do if you have the right equipment. You can take any of these three approaches:

Approach 1: Use a Digital8 Camcorder

Most Sony Digital8 camcorders accommodate 8mm, Hi-8, and Digital8 tapes, which are 8mm cassettes recorded digitally. (Low-end models may not offer this feature, however, so ask before you buy.) Just insert your 8mm or Hi-8 cassettes into the camcorder and proceed as described in this chapter. iMovie never needs to know that the camcorder doesn’t contain a DV cassette.

Actually, a Digital8 camcorder grants you even more flexibility than that. Most Digital8 camcorders also have analog inputs, which let you import footage from your VCR or other tape formats. Read on:

Approach 2: Record onto Your DV Camcorder

Even if you don’t have a Digital8 camcorder, the digital camcorder you bought may have analog inputs anyway. If so, your problem is solved.

  1. Unplug the FireWire cable from the DV camcorder.

    Most camcorders’ analog inputs switch off when a FireWire cable is hooked up.

  2. Connect RCA cables from the Audio Output and Video Output jacks on the side of your older camcorder or VCR. Connect the opposite ends to ...

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