Record Directly to Mac's iMovie '11 from iSight, FaceTime, or Other Camera

The Mac comes equipped to let you capture video without an external source, Of absolutely no surprise to anyone, iMovie works fine with video captured by Apple's own iSight or FaceTime cameras: the stand-alone version that Apple stopped selling a few years ago or the kind built into most current Macs. Here's how to record to your Mac directly from your camera:

  • Built-in camera: Click the Import button and then click the iSight or FaceCamera that you want to use under the Cameras list on the side. Here, you see a recording in progress with the built-in iSight camera.

  • Stand-alone camera: Connect your web camera, camcorder, or iSight camera (if it's not built in), and select the appropriate camera from the list. If more than one camera is connected, you'll see each on the list. Choose the one you're calling into action.

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Before clicking the red capture button to start recording your movie, make sure that you'll be importing the soon-to-be-recorded footage to the right destination in your iMovie Library — typically, an Event. You'll see your options in the drop-down Import to: field. The video can be directed into an existing event, of course. Or choose a New Event.

This may be the time to say thanks that you splurged for an extra-roomy (or additional) hard drive for your Mac. Video consumes about 13GB for every hour of footage in standard-definition gigabytes — ouch! — and up to 40GB, depending on the format, in high definition.

After you finish your movie and share it online or put it on a DVD, discard the unneeded footage so that you'll have plenty of space for the sequel, or archive it to an external backup drive or a flash drive in case you need it again in the future.

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