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How to Import Video From a DVD Camcorder into Mac’s iMovie ‘11

Before you can turn the video you’ve captured with your DVD, hard disk, or flash memory camcorder into an iMovie masterpiece, you must connect the camcorder to your Mac and import the video. Rest assured that importing video into iMovie does not erase any of the scenes from your camera.

DVD, hard drive, and flash memory camcorders typically use USB rather than FireWire. The biggest distinction compared to their tape cousins is that you don’t need to follow a linear structure when playing back a movie on such a camcorder.

When you connect such a camcorder, the Import window opens, only this time it displays all the clips stored on the device. Click Import All if you want to bring aboard the entire batch. To selectively import clips, set the Import window switch to Manual. Then deselect the clips you want to leave behind. Click Import Checked when you’re ready.

If a bunch of clips are selected but you want to import a precious few, first select Uncheck All and then select the clips you are interested in.

Patience is a virtue in the moviemaking business, so be mindful that it may take some time for iMovie to grab all the video and generate thumbnail images of each clip. A progress bar gauges how long your Mac will be at it.

Plugging a DVD camcorder into the Mac might cause DVD Player to wake up. No big whoop. Just close it.

If such a DVD camcorder doesn’t have USB or FireWire, and many don’t, you need to grab content from a MiniDVD. The process involves finalizing the disk in the camcorder and then using a tray-loading DVD (if your Mac has one or you have an external DVD drive) to import the content to the computer.

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