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You don’t need an expensive digital camcorder to produce video clips for use in iMovie! Your MacBook’s camera can capture those clips for you — think of the party possibilities! To capture video directly from your iSight camera into iMovie, follow these steps:

  1. Launch iMovie from the Dock or from the Applications folder.

  2. Click the Open Camera Import Window button to switch to Import Video mode.

    The button is located at the far left of the toolbar across the center of the iMovie window, and it sports a camera icon.

  3. Click the Camera pop-up menu at the bottom of the Import window and click Built-in iSight.

    The iSight camera is the ancestor of today’s MacBook FaceTime camera — the name was changed after the release of iMovie ’11, so you can choose this setting with a clear conscience (no matter what hardware you own).

  4. When you’re ready to start recording video, click the Capture button.

    iMovie displays a sheet allowing you to select the location for the movie clip (including the approximate amount of time you can record). You can also choose to add the video to an existing iMovie Event or a brand-new Event.

    To help keep things steady in your clip, click the Analyze for Stabilization after Import check box to enable it — but note that the stabilization process significantly adds to the time it takes for iMovie to save your clip to disk.

    (Also, the stabilization data that’s created during this step isn’t actually applied to the video until the clip is added to a project, so your clip may still look shaky in the Event browser.)

  5. When you’re ready to start recording video, click the Capture button.

    iMovie automatically displays the incoming video in the monitor pane while it’s recorded. (As you might expect, the goofy behavior on the part of the distinguished cast usually starts at about this moment.)

  6. Click the Stop button to stop recording.

    After you’ve ended the recording, iMovie creates the video clip and adds it to your Clips pane.

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