Mac Applications forum


Data transfer to iMac from camcorder.

by Rhorr77 / February 18, 2013 9:34 AM PST

Ok...A little information...then my question(s).

First of all, I am no computer genius...quite the opposite. However, I do try and educate myself as much as possible to understand what I'm working/dealing with, but there are some things(many things) and terms that I simply do not understand. I'm not trying to become a genius at this stuff, just get a general understanding so I can record, manage and create home videos.

I bought the Panasonic HDC-SD100 back in 2009 (or so) to record vacations, kids events...typical home movie stuff. I wanted a camera that could record HD because I want the best possible video...why not...its available.

I also have an imac which I also bought around the same time. I have iMovie and iPhoto, but I rarely use them and plan to start...My iMac has a 1 TB harddrive. I also have a 1 TB Timecapsule. I subsequently bought a 1 TB External harddrive, and then another 2TB External Harddrive. I'll explain why in a minute.

When I first got my Camera, I set the recording to the highest possible setting...HA1920. The Chip I bought and have been using is a ScanDisk Ultra II, SDHC 4, 15 MB/s, 32GB.

So I recorded a lot of things and eventually filled the chip and then proceeded to empty the chip on my iMac. At this point, I wanted to make sure that after recording in that highest possible setting, that I would retain most if not all of that quality by choosing the best possible settings when transffering the info to my iMac. So I think I remember choosing the stabilization option as well as Full (original size) as opposed to Large (significantly reduces file size with little image quality loss).

It did take a while to transfer that info...but I figured..."Hey that's the price to pay for high quality!". So with an empty chip, I began recording again...all this was over a time span of roughly 1-2 years(not sure how important that info is, but I thought I would mention it).

The chip eventually filled again so I did the same thing, and emptied the chip.

Then one day...My iMac wasn't working properly. The screen wasn't loading properly and such and I couldn't figure out why. I still had warranty through Apple so I brought it to the Apple store. Turns out my internal hardrive was broken, or corrupt...not sure but they installed a new harddrive...thank god for the timecapsule!!

I get home, reconnect my iMac and do a backup or whatever its get the info from my timecapsule back to my iMac...but I think it kept failing...not enough space. I suspect that even though my iMac and Timecapsule have the same size...the iMac also houses the operating system along with games, apps...whatever...that occupy space. So its possible that the Time Capsule had 800GB's of info and the iMac only had 700GB's available?

So the reason I bought those external harddrives was due to the fact that the amount of information that I was transffering from my camcorder to my imac was huge! A hell of a lot bigger than the 32GB chip in the camera, which leads me to believe that there is a compression thing happening as I record onto the chip and then when it gets decompressed to the expands...a lot! but not sure how much.

So first question stems from the beginning of the recording process. Lets compare recording in HA1920 or one of the other setting (HG1920 or HX1920...forget HE 1440...I don't think I would ever use that one anyway).

Now lets say that I fill the 32GB chip once with everything recorded in HA1920...when I transfer it to the obviously decompresses but is it 5X or 10X? And what if I recorded in one of the other, slightly lower setting... is the decompression ratio any different or is it still the same 5X or 10X? That's the 1st thing I need to know because if there no difference...then that doesn't affect my decision my making process of which setting to use.

The next thing is transffering the info to my iMac. What options should I chose? I've read that some people say that some camcorders don't actually record in full 1080p (or 1080i...not sure what the difference is and which is better).

The other thing I should mention is that I need to understand how I should properly save all this video or picture data. Is storing the data, or backing it up...whatever you call it, to an external harddrive the best option? and what about accessing this info to use in such programs as iMovie and iPhoto? I think I'll cut and paste this same question in my question list to follow

Maybe I should just make a list of questions...but please add in more suggestions. I just need to understand what I should be doing because even after I manage all this data...I still need to learn how to use iMovie to make those fantastic home movies to impress my wife and kids =)

1-What setting on the camcorder should I record in?
2-What cable should I use to transfer the data from my camcorder to the iMac? I have a USB but I think that is also an HDMI terminal...should I use that? Also, how do I know if I have the right kind of USB? I read that USB 2 should be used?
3-What options should I chose to transfer the info to my iMac?
4-Isn't stabilization important?
5-Any suggestions on how to learn to use iMovie and/or iPhoto?
6-Is there anything I should mention regarding my iMac? processor speed or whatever...?
7-Is the chip I'm using the right kind of chip?
8-Is storing the data, or backing it up...whatever you call it, to an external harddrive the best option? and what about accessing this info to use in such programs as iMovie and iPhoto?

If you have taken the time to read my whole thread and comment...then I can't thank you enough. If you can help me, I will be so appreciative even though I won't be able to show a big thank you! in advance.

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All Answers

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An answer or two
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 18, 2013 10:58 PM PST

iMovie does not produce 1080p/i movies.

2. Use the cable that came with the camera.
3. iMovie does not give a bunch of options for importing. FinalCut Pro X, on the other hand, does.
5. I believe there is an iMovie book in the "for Dummies" series
6. Yes, all of that is important.
7. Yes, if it were not, it would not work
8. It's a start, but all things electrical/mechanical will fail. Multiple copies on multiple drives plus DVD backups would be better.

I'm concerned about your statement regarding the Time Capsule. If you were using Time Machine to backup your data to the Time Capsule then it would never have told you that you did not have enough room on the iMac Internal drive.
Can you confirm that you are using Time Machine as a backup or whether you are just dumping stuff onto the Time Capsule hard drive?

How do you transfer the data from the memory card to the iMac? If you are just dragging the contents of the 32GB card to the iMac, then it should still be 32GB on the iMac.

That will do for the time being


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by Rhorr77 / February 19, 2013 10:53 AM PST
In reply to: An answer or two

Thanks for your response. Btw, I also posted the exact same post in the camcorders area because there is some overlap. I put a rather lengthy answer there which I am cut and pasting here, but before I do, I want to address your reponses.

1) iMovie doesn't produce 1080i/p but would final cut? Would I want that? Sorry, I really don't know much about this stuff only that apparently 1080i or p is the best. And regarding that, whats the difference between 1080i and 1080p? Do I have a choice? Does it depend on the TV its played on?


3) I kinda addressed this in 1). I don't mind spending some $ to get a better tool to make better videos and/or import in a better quality?

Cool I'd like to find the "RIGHT" method...the gentleman in the other thread suggested RAID...which I have no idea what that is. I can't confirm how I'm using the timecapsule. I think I am/was just using as a normal backup to my iMac...but I may have turned it off because it kept getting an error. I really did put off dealing with this stuff until now...and now I'm completely focused on learning and figuring this stuff out...which btw, thanks to people like you...I'm getting there.

I transfer the data from the chip in the camera to the iMac using iMovie...not cut and paste.

Here is a cut and paste from the other thread...maybe the additional info will help answer some of your questions.

Ok, I thought I would provide a little more info. I also want to mention that I have also posted this thread in the iMac section because there is some overlap.

Processor=3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
Memory=4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
Graphics=ATI Radeon HD 4850 512 MB
Software=Currently running OS X Lion 10.7.5

Storage...There might a slight issue here I'm just discovering. I show 2 harddrives, but I have 3...

1) 1TB Sata Disk- I suspect this is the internal harddrive or the Time capsule.
2) External 2TB FireWire Disk. Actually, I still have the box. Its a Lacie, d2 Quadra 2TB.

However, there is a 3rd HD. That one is a WD. It says the model# on the bottom-WD10000H1NC-00. That one is connect via Ethernet wire (looks like big phone line) but it also has a spot for USB. It looks like this

When I click on the finder, its called MyBookWorld. Also, I can change the name of the Lacie HD but not the WD. The WD is in the shared section, where the Lacie is in the devices section.Also, when I try and connect to the WD, I have the option to connect as guest or as registered user. It asked me for the password for registered user...but either I put one and forgot it or it never asked. So I can't log into it as a registered user but I can as a guest.I have an itunes media folder in there. When I hit command i, it says I have about 264 Gb's on it...not sure if this info helps, but I thought I would point it out. The Lacie has about 610 Gb's on it. The computer harddrive has about 544 GB's on it.

1)Ok, onto other stuff. Regarding recording in the highest possibly setting, the reason I thought I should lower it is because I assume my recordings will take less space. You see, Iunderstand how a 32g chip compresses and then decompresses but I don't know how much info that translates too. So let's use an example. If I record in the highest possible setting, I think I get about 2 hours of recording time, which subsequently fills the chip. If I were to lower the recording setting 1 notch, the recording time increases to about 3.5 hours or so. However, I believe the amount of raw data is the same because the time is affected. So if I fill the chip at HA (highest setting) and transfer it to my iMac, is it 100G's, 200g's? 300g's? And what if I recorded in the next lowest setting...would the amount of raw data be exactly the same or less? This is important because if the raw data of a full 32Gb chip is actually 10times (hypothetically speaking), then that would be 320G's!!!! Holy cow man! Then I'll actually NOT want to record stuff! I'll need hundreds of TB's harddrives...and that's very expensive! So I suspect that's not actually the case, but I really do need to find out.

2) I wish I could confirm if my Mac has a thunderbolt, but I suspect it doesn't. And I only have 1 Firewire port...which is being used by the Lacie harddrive. And I just realized that the WD harddrive is actually connected to the timecapsule via the Ethernet cable. I think I did it that way for the itunes media thing...

3)Ok, So I should transfer videos in Full...which is the way it was recorded. The stabilization is an option. It says "After import, analyze for: ". Actually, there is a dropdown menu. Options are
Stabilization and people

Basically, it says it will analyze for either Stabilization or people or both, but will result in longer import times.

4)Ya, I don't have a tripod. I normally just hold the camera and record. I try to be as steady as I can, but maybe I should invest in a tripod for the times like school shows, but when I'm on vacation...carrying one would get annoying Happy I guess that's when I have to be creative and lean on a rock! Great idea!

5) Is Final Cut Pro better than iMovie?

6) Hopefully I've given you all the info you need. If you need more...ask away.

7) Yes the chip I use in the camcorder. I wasn't sure if I was using the right chip.

Cool I like the sounds of that. So is RAID something where I have multiple backups all saving the same data all the time? Basically additional time capsules?

What I would like is to keep the iMac relatively empty of info. I think (but I'm not sure) that it will run better. I mean, looks like I'm going to run out of space anyway...I seriously thought I would NEVER run out of 1 TB space...I guess HD videos take a wack of space! I didn't know...

This actually raises another question...should I be compressing the data? And if I would I work with it? You see...right now I have years worth of data that I need to sort, file and store. This panasonic isn't my first video camera, its my second. My first was also a Panasonic, mini DV palmcorder. The actual model# is PV-DV401D-K.

I have about 14 mini disks that I need to move over to my iMac. We're talking footage that goes back to 2001, when my son was born...that's why I bought it! Then came my daughter...etc...This is footage I have even seen yet. So...I need to get all this stuff figured out...get organized, understand how this stuff sorts out...make sure I have multiple backups (these events do not repeat themselves, I'm sure you know what I mean), and then learn how to use iMovie, or Final pro...or whatever! I want to get to a point where I know the data is as safe as I could possibly make it and then create some fun home videos for me and the family to sit back, laugh and enjoy... I know I'll get there...especially with your help Happy

Thanks again.

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Click on my name and in the resulting window
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 19, 2013 9:01 PM PST
In reply to: responding

choose Email.

Send me the serial number of your computer and we can sort out what you do have and what you don't

Do NOT post the serial number here in the forums


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You have an Early 2009 iMac
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 20, 2013 8:45 AM PST

It has 4 USB 2.0 ports, 1 Firewire 800 and 1 GB Ethernet port.
1TB hard drive would indicate a 24" screen, a 3.06Ghz processor and anything up to 8GB of RAM (Memory)

You do not have Thunderbolt.

What version of iMovie do you have?
I suggest that you wade into iMovie and see what you come up with. Open iMovie and, as you imported the video using iMovie, you should see it in the event library. That's where all your imported video is.
Create a new project and drag the video down into the time line.

Play with it. It can do a lot but you have to be willing to experiment.

Do not compress the video already on your drive(s). It has to be decompressed to work with it.

Those small disks that you mentioned. You will not be able to play those on your iMac. Do NOT put them into the optical reader. They will just drop down inside and cause you grief. You will need a tray loading DVD player to import those.

RAID is a collection, 2 and up, of hard drives that can be configured to appear as one disk. There are different versions of RAID so don' t let's get into that right now.

Go make a movie, share it with iDVD and make a DVD.


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(NT) Latest iMovie
by Rhorr77 / February 20, 2013 8:48 PM PST
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Latest iMovie
by Rhorr77 / February 20, 2013 8:59 PM PST

I believe it's iMovie 11. In response to your comment, "those small disks that you mentioned", I think your refering to my first video camera. It didn't use disks, it used mini DV tapes. As i mentioned at the beginning of this thread, I posted this same thread in another forum here;track-586004

And I think the person who responded there thought I had mini disks too. Sorry for confusing you.

Also, in the other post, I made the comment that I really want to get everything organized before starting to make movies. Having said that, I am looking forward to the FUN part of all this and making those movies is what I want to be doing lol.

Is creating a raid simple?
Is it expensive?
How big is the space on these?

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You would probably not be creating a RAID system
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 20, 2013 9:08 PM PST
In reply to: Latest iMovie

you would purchase one from places like MacMall, Macsales, LaCie.

RAID systems can be almost any size. From 1TB upwards. Prices reflect the size.
We have one at work that is 15TB.

By the way, the one at work is backed up every day!

Having a RAID system does not mean that you do not have to back up.


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by Rhorr77 / February 20, 2013 11:09 PM PST

Isn't the raid 1 setup (I've read up on them...I want the mirroring kind ;)) a backup by nature? How does it work?

If I import video from my camcorder to my iMac, I imagine the info is automatically on my iMacs internal harddrive. But I won't want to keep the data there...I'll run out of space. So saving the info on external harddrives (raid1) makes more sense. So is that something I have to manually do or can I setup the iMac to do that for me?

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Not really,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 21, 2013 3:41 AM PST
In reply to: Backup

the RAID 1 setup does in fact copy data to two drives but cannot be considered to be a backup.
It just ensures that should one of the drives fail, you would still be able to continue working and not lose any data.
However, burn out the power supply or controller board on that external RAID 1 drive and you are without any data at all, especially if you cannot purchase a new one of either. RAID 1 device makers do not generally provide spare parts for their products, power supplies excepted.
Here is an example of a RAID1 drive,

In iMovie, you will see a list of all your drives in one of the windows and when you import video from your camcorder, via iMovie, you can place it onto whatever drive you feel like. In your case, any of the externals you have connected.


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by Rhorr77 / February 22, 2013 6:58 AM PST
In reply to: Not really,

Thank you for responding. I plan on sitting down and digesting all this information in a day or so...However, I am educating myself more about this stuff in the meantime so that I have a better understanding of all this stuff and ask better educated questions Happy

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Raid 1
by Rhorr77 / February 22, 2013 8:43 PM PST
In reply to: Not really,

Thanks for the link. Nice drives but expensive =\

I've been googling and trying to find a site that shows me how to build a raid 1 and a backup. I understand now that a raid1 isn't a backup in a sense that if I delete a file on the raid server, it's deleted from both. The time capsule would solve that issue I suspect but the whole setup is still confusing to me.

I have a 1 TB iMac
1 TB time capsule.

I want to build a big raid server with at least 3TB each.

I want to be able to protect my home videos especially, but everything is important. I also don't want to bog down my iMac. There's obviously a size issue between the iMac/time capsule 1TB and the 3+TB raid... So how would I organize everything so that I have sufficient space for backup as well? Would I need a 3rd 3TB hardrive to act as a backup to the raid?

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As you have found out,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 22, 2013 11:37 PM PST
In reply to: Raid 1

the more storage you have, the more storage you need to back it all up.

You can create a RAID set using Disk Utility which you will find in Applications/Utilities.

You just need two (at least) large hard drives in external enclosures. Drag the drive icons into the RAID window in Disk Utility and follow the instructions.

I don't intend to supply step by step instructions here but will supply a link to a site that does just that.


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What I did
by Rhorr77 / March 4, 2013 10:17 PM PST
In reply to: As you have found out,

Sorry for taking so long to respond. I finally decided what I wanted to do. I purchased 2 external harddrives, each 3TB
The reason I bought these is because they were on sale and they have USB 3.0. When I purchase my new iMac down the road (possibly this year), it'll have 3.0. Right now though...transfering stuff is painstakingly slow...but I just let it run and come back a few hours later. I'm already done.

I took 1 of the 2 Minimus harddrives and stored it in a different place and only plan on taking out when I have new videos and pictures to copy to each of the Minimus drives. I basically called one of my drives a "write only drive" that I know not to delete anything off of it, although I don't really plan on deleting anything of either...

Then, as Thunderbolt drops in price, I'll eventually just migrate both drives to 2 new drives...always increasing in size.

I selected the option to format for Mac maximize the space. I haven't used a regular PC in a few years and have no intentions of going back (at least not yet).

So my iMac is "backed up" to my time capsule. And all my video and pictures are mirrored to 2 seperate external harddrives.

Any other thoughts?


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