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From the author of Step 2: Import Video Clips

Step 2: Import Video Clips

When you connect a video camera, the Import window opens. If you don't see the Import window, click the Camera Import button (with the camera icon), or choose File > Import from Camera (see Figure 2).

Figure 2 Choose this menu command to open the Camera Import window.

When you select File > Import from Camera, the resulting dialog includes a Save To option (see Figure 3). Click open this pop-up menu and do one of the following, depending on how you prefer to organize your clips:

  • If you have additional drives connected, choose the drive where you want to save the imported clips.
  • Add the imported clips to an existing event.
  • Create a new event.

Figure 3 In this Import dialog, specify the location where you want to store the imported video, choose to add the video to an existing iMovie event or create a new event, and select a size for the final output.

The appearance and operation of the Import window varies, depending on whether your camcorder is tape-based or tapeless (which records onto the camcorder's internal hard drive). The main difference between the two versions of the window is that, when using a tapeless camcorder, you can more easily preview clips and select them for import (see Figure 4). Also, when you import from a tapeless camera, the lower section of the Import window shows thumbnails of the clips stored in the camera. To preview a clip in the top section of the Import window, select the clip thumbnail and then click the Play button (it shows a right-pointing triangle). Press the spacebar to stop or pause the preview; press again to restart the preview.

To import all clips from the camera, click the Import All button. A progress bar appears across the bottom of each thumbnail as the clip is imported. To import only selected clips, click the toggle switch in the lower-left corner to the Manual position. When you do this, a checkbox appears underneath each clip, and the Import All button in the lower-right corner changes to Import Checked.

Figure 4 When a tapeless video camera is connected to your Mac, the Import window looks like this. To import only selected clips, change the toggle switch in the lower-left corner to Manual.

By contrast, when importing from a tape-based camcorder, you must use the transport controls in the Import window—Reverse, Forward, Play, Pause—to search and find specific scenes to import. When importing clips from a tape-based camera, it's much faster to import the entire tape, then delete the clips you don't want.

With both tape-based and tapeless cameras, you can choose either automatic or manual import by clicking the small toggle switch in the lower-left corner of the Import window. Choosing Automatic imports all the clips from the camera. Choosing Manual imports only the selected (checkmarked) clips.

To import all the clips in the camcorder, click the Import All button. Or, if you chose the Manual mode and selected just some of the clips, click the Import Checked button (the same button, but with a different name).

To exit the Import window and unmount the camera, click the Eject button (the upward-pointing triangle) that's visible in the menu bar at the bottom of the window. If you want to exit the Import window but leave the camera mounted for later use, click the Done button.

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