HolidayBuyer's Guide

Camcorders forum


Help with camcorder- HDC-SD100

by Rhorr77 / February 18, 2013 9:27 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.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Help with camcorder- HDC-SD100
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Help with camcorder- HDC-SD100
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

All Answers

Collapse -
Thank for all the background.
by boya84 / February 18, 2013 10:29 PM PST

There are two ways to "transfer" or "upload" the video. It reads like you are using iPhoto and iMovie to do that importing and manipulation. More on this later... Good for you for backing up your data. I'll try and start with the last set of questions.

1) I suggest recording in highest quality. To use your words: "want the best possible video...why not...its available". Also, one can alway downsample and reduce quality - but not the other way.

2) USB is fine - The HDMI terminal is out-bound only (for connecting to an external monitor) not inbound. If you are interested in using HDMI to bring video into the Mac, check into the external boxes from Black Magic Designs. I *think* they would connect to a Mac using Thunderbolt - I don't think your Mac has a Thunderbolt port, but in case it does or you decide to get a new Mac, it is worth knowing about. USB2 is fine it is what is on the camcorder and the Mac.

3) You said your options for importing to iMovie are stabilization; Full (original size) or Large (significantly reduces file size with little image quality loss). The way iMovie works with stabilization is that it "crops" the video so there is an area that can be used when stabilization is needed and the edges of the screen are not black. It is a great feature and works well - but you lose some video. If the image was stable (like it a tripod was used, so no shake), then you just lose video. Personally, I would import the video with no change and Full. The "Full" setting maintains the best available quality. The lack of anti-shake maintains the integrity of the video and you can always include anti-shake when editing. When the video is imported to iMovie, it is prepared for editing, so it is decompressed. That's why the size balloons so much. We can go into how the compression happens - and how the decompression makes the files so large, but we can save that for later.

4) Stabilization is important - if it is needed. Use of some sort of a steadying device (tripod, shoulder-mount, chair, rock, table, etc provides stabilization so the software stabilization is not needed. You might not be a "pro" but you can capture video like them. If you have seen news crews around town or the camera crews at sports venues, 99% of the time, the *good* video comes form a camcorder on a tripod, shoulder mounted or on some sort of stabilizer - not software stabilized after the fact.

5) There are lots or tutorials at and on YouTube. Just start watching them and experiment. I like Final Cut because of the multi-track video and audio capabilities. If you think you want to do something in particular, look for that specific capability. We don't know where you are. There may be a Macintosh User Group in your area - they can be lots of help, too.

6) You listed what we needed. We can extrapolate processor by the age. Ballpark is fine.

7) The SDHC chip you use in the camcorder? Apparently - you keep filling them. If it was not the right chip, the camcorder would tell you.

Cool Your Time Capsule back up is great. Whether it is "best" depends on your needs and budget. The only "better" method would be to use a Network Attached Storage system with multiple huge drives in a RAID1 configuration. This way, if the computer fails or is stolen, the NAS has the data - and if one of the drives dies, the other has the same data and you hot-swap the dead drive for a working one and it replicates itself from the working one...

Collapse -
A little more info
by Rhorr77 / February 19, 2013 10:42 AM PST

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.

Collapse -
You have found the Achilles heel of digital video.
by boya84 / February 20, 2013 1:01 AM PST
In reply to: A little more info

Video takes lots of memory. You just discovered that. When a digital camcorder/camera is capturing video, the light/image passes through the lens, hits the imaging chip/processor and is digitized. Through the various electronics in the camcorder, the video data is compressed, then written to the storage media.

The compression applied extends or reduces the amount of time available to be recorded in the storage space. More compression = more discarded data = smaller file size = reduced video quality.
Less compression = less discarded data = larger file size = improved video quality.
Remember, this is at capture. This sets the stage for video quality downstream. You can always reduce the video quality later, but if the data was discarded or was never there at the beginning then there is nothing to "get back". All this compression/quality nonsense is specific to the storage media - not anything downstream (yet).

Once captured, if all we want to do is playback the video, there are computer-based players (like VLC player from to deal with the compressed video file. This does not help with your AppleTV environment - but that should be for edited projects, only (in my opinion). If editing is needed, then - usually - the video first needs to be decompressed. This is where the size explosion happens.

In the days of standard definition video, importing 60 minutes of DV format (low compression) video suitable for editing consumed about 13-14 gig of computer hard drive space. High definition video (HDV format) came along - and importing 60 minutes consumes about 44 gig of computer hard drive space. Then came memory cards and a new compression technology, "AVCHD". It was originally designed to store high compression video for consumers back in 2006 as the evolution to flash memory and hard disc drive started. JVC had its line of internal hard drive consumer cams that stored DV/HDV format, but for whatever reason, they were short lived (but I digress).

The "decompress before editing" continues to be a requirement. So, you are right - if you record at the lowest quality setting and decompress for editing, that will take up the same space on the computer's hard disc drive when compared to capturing video at the highest quality setting and decompress for editing. The deal is that the video saves storage space at capture and allowed for more video to be recorded to the storage memory of the camcorder. But that compression at capture comes at a price - discorded video data (and reduced video quality). I don't think there should be an expectation of storing the decompressed video suitable for editing... You *can* store the original video (that the camcorder compressed onto the memory cards). After decompressing and "importing" to the video editor and editing, you have a choice. There is no "single best format" for all playback.

My little world: In iMovie (or Final Cut), when the editing is done, I select "Export using Quicktime conversion"... Format: Quicktime movie, select Options, in Video settings, select Compression type h.264, Compressor quality is High, click OK; then in Video size, select Dimensions 1920 x 1080 and put a checkmark in the "De-interlace Video" box. This will compress the video - but it won't be a lot of compression so the file will be large. To answer your question: Yes, you can compress the video to be stored, but we are not done. I *think* the file just created should be usable by your AppleTV (if not, you may need to check the MP4 options when "Export using Quicktime conversion"). This file can also be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo or other video sharing sites. It can be large. I just uploaded a three minute:15 second video that was about 1 gig. This same video can be used to make a DVD that is playable by a regular DVD player. Using iDVD, the high definition video will be transcoded and downsampled to standard definition video into VOB files. If I want to have the file available on my iPod Touch or iPhone, I use HandBrake from to compress the file into an MP4 file suitable for that platform (the iPod/iPhone presets are handy; then drag to iTunes video and sync). Many times I "print to tape" and export the finished project from the editor back out to the camcorder. This returns the video project to its highest quality, low compression HDV format for longterm storage - it can always be imported back into the computer. This is not available using consumer flash memory or hard disc drive camcorders.

Copy the original video from the memory cards (not import - just copy the MTS or TOD files) to the "long term storage". These are the original video files and on which everything else prior to this was based. You can get to them later if needed. For future editing access, rather than import from the camcorder, you would use a "transcoder" (converter) to get them out of their MTS/TOD file format (video editors don't deal with directly) and into an appropriate format. I use MPEG Streamclip from There are lots of others.

So... when you are done editing and have rendered the large, high quality file, you can delete the imported video project files - you should have the originals in the format that the camcorder captured them and they are in your "backup". They can be accessed for playback only - or transcoded for editing in a future project. You have the edited final for sharing/viewing and used for different playback "audiences" - using other applications to transcode or compress.

In you case, you filled a couple of 32 gig flash memory cards. The MTS/MOD files on those cards are the "archive". Your TimeCapsule needs to store these files "forever". The rendered, high quality, final project can be stored on TimeCapsule "forever" and also in the AppleTV box for playback access. But all the imported decompressed video from the camcorder used in iMovie (or FinalCut) that are using all the space but are no longer needed for a video editing project are no longer needed - IF the MTS/MOD files on the memory cards are stored - at 32 gig per card, you just freed-up a ton of hard drive space.

The camcorder manufacturers have done a poor job of helping normal people understand the entire, comprehensive, process flow. Long term, archival, storage is not at all on their radar an we are left to fend for ourselves. I continue to use digital tape for several reasons. In addition to storing a low compression capture format (HDV) from my high definition camcorders, digital tape has a pretty decent shelf life and is inexpensive storage. I wish I had the resources to get a Networked Attached Storage system (like TimeCapsule). For the moment, I don't re-use any tapes (they are the "archive") and the really important ones are stored off-site. Yes, I have used flash memory camcorders (Canon HF S100) so I have dealt with "which files to I need to keep and where do I keep them?" I have the original MTS (compressed files) and deleted the imported, decompressed files long ago.

Remember - this is all my opinion only. Others might think differently, but I am sharing this from experience. I hope it helps - and I hope it makes sense...

1) I think was addressed above + your second to last paragraph.
2) statement - no question that I see.
3) Stabilize on the video that needs stabilizing. You can decide that after capture/import.
4) statement - no question that I see.
5) Final Cut has more capabilities. I have read that Final Cut Pro X is not as good as the previous version Final Cut. It depends on your needs. I like the flexibility of dealing with multiple video and audio tracks (iMovie does not).
6) Yes.
7) OK.
Cool Sort of. As I understand it, TimeCapsule has a single drive that backs up the data on a computer. A RAID1 set-up would copy the data to 2 drives.
If one of the RAID1 volumes dies, replace the dead drive with a working one (hot swap) and the RAID1 logic copies the data from the remaining drive to the new one. Your back up is is WAY more than many people do, so congratulations on that. I don't trust the "cloud", so a RAID1 NAS is my next investment consideration.

This leaves the 3rd to last paragraph and last paragraph...

Collapse -
3rd to last and last paragraph responses...
by boya84 / February 20, 2013 3:12 AM PST
In reply to: A little more info

Your wanting to "keep the iMac relatively empty of info" is sound - especially when it comes to video project files.

When you start up the computer (Mac or Windows), available space on the start-up drive also supplies "virtual memory" to the computer. You can see this if you are interested... In the Mac, launch "Activity Monitor" (Applications: Utilities) - "Real memory" vs "Virtual Memory". In Windows, CTRL-ALT-DEL and launch the Task Manager, select the "Performance" tab - Physical memory vs Kernel memory...

Anyway, when editing video, the portion of video data being worked is pulled in from the hard drive to the application and into memory (RAM - whether physical or virtual). If the system is using lots of virtual memory, then there can be "resource contention" with the video files when the system and video files are on the same physical drive. If the video files are on a drive different from the start-up drive (hence not on the same drive as the virtual memory), then there is no resource contention. With small files liek spreasheets, word processors and the like, this is not big deal - with large video files, this can be a big deal.

Also, in an emergency, it is WAY easier to grab a small drive and evacuate than the computer...

Small discs. Ugh.
I presume you are dealing with the small 8cm DVDs that were used by DVD based camcorders and recorded standard definition video into VOB files... We assume that all the discs have been finalized in the camcorder... With any luck, you still have the camcorder, just in case.

Most Macs (including your iMac) use a slot loading SuperDrive. Never, ever, put a small or odd shaped disc into a slot loader. They can get stuck, damage the disc and damage the drive. Use of an external drawer loader is appropriate. I use one from LaCie. It has a firewire connection - but I don't think that is really required.

First, lets get the video into the computer... In this case, retaining the "original video quality" in the original VOB file format can be done by using "Disk Utility" (Applications: Utilities) in your Mac. Making a "Disk Image" basically creates a softcopy version of the DVD that can be treated like the original disc (use DVD Player in the Mac for playback) and even ripped for editing - more on this in a moment... everything, but no physical disc. This disk image becomes the original version "archive" that is backed up by TimeCapsule.

You will also need a DVD ripper. I use HandBrake from - there are others...

Put the finalized disc into the drawer loading drive - or point HandBrake (Source) at the disc image that was just made. If DVD player automatically launches, quit that application. Launch HandBrake. Identify the source (the mounted mini DVD or the disc image), all chapters and select a destination (make a folder, name it, etc). For output settings, click on "Toggle Presets" and select the Regular drop-down and Normal. Click Start. This will rip the video form the disc. When it is done, the application will tell you. The resulting MP4 files can be dragged to the iMovie Library, then to the timeline for editing.

The video compressed into the VOB files on DVDs is extremely compressed. These camcorders and the resulting discs were never designed to have their video edited. Please remember our earlier discussion regarding video compression and reduced video quality. On top of this compression, this video is in standard definition. The minidiscs could record up to 20 minutes of standard definition video at highest quality during capture. Many people wanted longer record times and reduced the video quality (higher compression, smaller files, more record time - sound familiar?) for single sided discs and while the double sided discs were available, manually turning the disc over to get to the other side for recording video was just problematic. And if you used double sided discs, then after side 1 is ripped, you'll need to take it out of the drive, turn it over and rip the other side separately - or create the second disc image...

Because it is standard definition video, the file size (uncompressed, ready to edit) is not even close to high definition video. I mention this only to set the potential video quality expectation.

Collapse -
Omg lol
by Rhorr77 / February 20, 2013 7:00 AM PST

Ok, I just read your entire response. First of all...WOW! Your response is longer than my post lol.

Second, I read everything on my my brain hurts atm lol. Not to mention the vast and extensive amount of information you have provided. I think I'm going to have to sit down when I get home and reread your response again...maybe a couple times. I'd like to fill in some blanks or clear up something's so that you are clear as to what I have.

What I want to do first is organize all my data and create a smart backup system that I can just forget about and rely on. This could involve buying some other devices...i will if i need too. I think you suggested that i use an external DVD reader and writer. I never thought of that but that's a good idea too. Were you suggesting that for media storage reasons or just for reading and burning DVD movies that I created using the movie creator tool. Also btw, would you recommend a different movie creator program? I don't mind spending some money.

Also, the way you explained that storing my video files onto a small chip...I think that's pretty smart too! And easy enough to just make those as backups.

Once I have all my media organized, which btw I should mention that I have sooooo many different little files of video footage spanning over many years...I also need to learn/know how to organize them so that they are like a home filing cabinet. I would start by organizing my years...but from that point, I'll have to figure out what else I should do. Does it make a difference is my media is split onto different devices/hardrives? Like putting all video on one hardrive and pictures on another. I also my iTunes media account to deal with as well. I have a couple movies I bought from iTunes but not much. Omg...I feel like I have a digital version of that TV show "hoarders".

When the time comes to actually access all this footage to make some home movies for my family to watch, I'll need some sort of order to all my video clip madness! Wink

I like and appreciate that you took the time to explain all the media stuff the way you did. But like I said, that's A LOT of technical jargon that I don't fully understand. That means I will need to read your response again while consulting wikepedia Happy

Collapse -
Apologies if I was not clear
by boya84 / February 20, 2013 9:06 AM PST
In reply to: Omg lol
DO NOT USE FLASH MEMORY AS LONG TERM ARCHIVE STORAGE. I was merely making the point that you filled a couple of 32 gig cards. Storing the copies of those files on your computer back-up system - a total of 64 gig at the moment - is WAY less than storing all the decompressed-from-the-camera-MTS/TOD-files-ready-to-edit using hundreds of gigabytes of your back-up hard drive space.

I just realized I need to stop and wait for your next post.

And since you think you are a media hoarder, imagine my horror at counting over 900 miniDV tapes... In the grand scheme of things, I am at about the same place you are as far as making the jump into some sort of "media server". You bought into AppleTV - I've been considering it - but there is something not quite there with it that I can't put my finger on...
Collapse -
Oh! Lol
by Rhorr77 / February 20, 2013 9:58 AM PST

Ya...I did think you were suggesting storing the info on the chips (or should I be calling the chips...flash memory? :)) I haven't reread your post yet but I wanted to comment for now.

But ya...I see your point! So...I think your suggesting that I...

1) record video in best source
2) transfer to iMac using some software program, wether it be iMovie or final cut or something else is still to be determined. Actually...this is where I'm unclear. I don't know if I should be transferring the data to my iMac in an uncompressed format or compressed. Right now...I'm not ready to doing any home first things first. HOWEVER!!! If I move the info to my iMac in a compressed format, then when I decide to finally sit down and look at all my media to start making a movie...I won't be able too because its still compressed, PLUS I can't even see what the video is because its compressed. So wont I need to have EVERYTHiNG uncompressed? And then after I've made some videos...I compress them then? Gawd! I don't know what to do =\

3) then make some home videos.

4) then, if the info was uncompressed, now I would compress it and store it...but how would I know or remember what's on the compressed info?

The fact that you mentioned having 900dv tapes...holy cow! Those can't be home movies. You must be some sort of editor for a company.

The Apple TV was really just to download and watch movies from iTunes...but that's getting a little expensive and ill be looking for another option. Haven't said that...what do YOU mean regarding the Apple TV? Is there something I'm missing?

Lastly... What do you mean by "media server"? Is that some sort of hardrive...only bigger than usual? Like at 100TB hardrive?

Collapse -
by boya84 / February 20, 2013 11:31 PM PST
In reply to: Oh! Lol

1) Yes.

2) Yes... but... there are two ways to "get the video into the computer."

The first process flow is what you are apparently used to. Connect the camcorder to the computer with a USB cable, put it in play/PC mode, launch the video editor and capture/import the video. iMovie may prompt you or automatically run through this, but this is what happens. In this process, the video is decompressed during the importing process and uses up all sorts of space on the computer hard drive. In this case, the video editor uses the camcorder and computer to decompress and transcode the video to a video editor useable file.

The second method copies the compressed, source files from the camcorder. This is basically just copying files. They stay compressed in their original state. No transcoding, either. To just playback these files, a media player is needed that can deal with the MTS files. Quicktime player cannot - it is included in your Mac. But VLC Player from can. It is open source. If you decide you want to work with a specific clip in iMovie, the clip needs to be transcoded to a useful format. Both MPEG Streamclip from and HandBrake from are useful transcoders to have. After the file is converted to a MOV or MP4 format, quit the transcoder, launch the video editor and drag the MOV or MP4 file to the video editor's "library" and edit as though you just imported from the camcorder. Do not do anything with the original MTS/TOD file - it is your archive.

So... just because the original, compressed, files are in your Mac does not mean you can't do anything with them. You just need a couple of applications, beyond what is currently in your computer, to do what you want.

When the video editing project is complete, you render the video - this includes compressing at various amounts depending on what the video will be viewed on/with.

3) Right - but since we can edit later, you can start now and not miss anything... just have some catch up.

4) How I would do it:
Import the video from the camcorder to the video editor. Do the editing, all done, render to a couple of different files for the different audiences, delete the video editing project files. Copy the camcorder original video files to the computer for "archive/back-up".

I *think* the easiest will be to create a folder directory structure that has the year, and inside that folder, each month. Inside the folder will be the compressed video files. We can spend more time on this later... You can name the files with something useful - like the date and topic or create another subfolder by topic if that makes sense.

So the suggested directory structure - folder names - looks like:

Video archive
01 January
Dog park
02 February

Basically, doing both ways described in (2). In the above folders the copied, original compressed files are stored. You can also rename the files so rather than numbers, they have a useful name - but keep the MTS file type/extension.

If needed, set up something similar for the "Viewable" video. But your iTunes/AppleTV should take care of that. I've not used AppleTV extensively, so you are the expert on this.

My tapes have been collected over about 10 years, and most are probably 3/4 used... most would be considered "home movies": child's school stuff, outings to the zoo... but this is my hobby, and there are music videos of local bands performing, local non-profits that would not normally be able to afford decent video - and I've done some stuff for a few local small businesses...

"Media server" - like AppleTV. In the non-Apple world,

Today, I have a couple of options for playing back home video...
Connect a Mac to the TV with a VGA cable;
Play a (standard definition) DVD using a regular DVD player connected to the TV;
Connect the camcorder to the TV and play back the tape (using different connectors);
Transcode and compress the high quality video to a MP4 file suitable for iPhone/iPod (sync with iTunes);
Upload to YouTube, Vimeo or other video sharing site - make it public or private - viewable on a computer. And the DVD and edited/rendered video file are viewable on the computer, too.

I don't see the *additional* benefit I get from an AppleTV box other than the connection to iTunes (movies), but I just connect a Mac to the TV with a VGA cable. More expensive that the AppleTV, but the computer's already here...

Collapse -
Mini disks
by Rhorr77 / February 20, 2013 9:08 PM PST
Collapse -
by boya84 / February 21, 2013 12:05 AM PST
In reply to: Mini disks

no mini-disks... but miniDV tape. SO, the external drawer loading drive is not needed.

As for the digital tape... Hopefully the camcorder used during the capture - or similar - is available. Knowing which miniDV tape camcorder manufacturer and model will be very useful to determin which firewire cable and which resolution (standard definition DV - high definition HDV) we're working with. Back to 2001 gets us in the standard definition DV format area...

Camcorder off.
Connect the Mac's firewire port (not USB) to the camcorder's DV port (not USB).
If the computer was off, turn it on.
When at a stable desktop, power the camcorder up and put it into Play/Edit/VCR mode (it depends on the camcorder).
Launch iMovie and Import or Capture the video. This is a "realtime" activity. 60 minutes of video on the tape will take 60 minutes to import. 60 minutes of imported Standard Definition video will consume about 14 gig of computer hard drive space; 60 minutes of imported High Definition video will consume about 44 gig of computer hard drive space.

I read through the other thread you've been working through with mrmacfixit.

The firewire cable you need to connect the miniDV camcorder is most likely a 4-pin (camcorder DV port) to 9-pin (iMac firewire800 port) cable... knowing the camcorder to be used for importing can confirm this.

I think I don't agree with one thing he wrote - in an early post in that thread:
"iMovie does not produce 1080p/i movies."
As I recall, in iMovie, after editing, when you are ready to render, under Share, select "Export using Quicktime". As posted earlier in this thread:
... select "Export using Quicktime conversion"... Format: Quicktime movie, select Options, in Video settings, select Compression type h.264, Compressor quality is High, click OK; then in Video size, select Dimensions 1920 x 1080 and put a checkmark in the "De-interlace Video" box. This will render a 1080 horizontal line resolution video. I guess technically, it is not iMovie doing the rendering, but Quicktime from within iMovie...

HOWEVER, if the video was captured at standard def, there is no reason to render at high def. Doing so unnecessarily uses hard drive space and there will be no "improvement" in video quality.

Collapse -
by Rhorr77 / February 21, 2013 2:31 AM PST
In reply to: YAY!
Collapse -
by boya84 / February 21, 2013 4:02 AM PST
In reply to: Camera

Standard definition, DV format, video. Using the above process and some modifications (page references are to the camcorder's manual):

Camcorder off and plugged into the AC power adapter (Page 12).
Connect the Mac's 9-pin Firewire 800 port to the camcorder's 4-pin DV port (Page 72 - see Note 1, below). Example cable:
If the computer was off, turn it on.
When at a stable desktop, power the camcorder up (Page 73 - the Power switch) and put the camcorder into VCR mode.
Rewind the tape (Page 74 - REW button), if needed.
Launch iMovie and select "Import from camera" from within iMovie (under "File").

Note 1: Firewire, DV, i.Link and IEEE1394 are all the same thing.

Assuming you have available internal hard drive space, this standard def video is OK in the start up drive - but at 14 gig per 60 minutes imported, just a heads-up. The imported video files are stored in the Macintosh HD: Users: (your directory): Movies: iMovie Events directory. The other directory of interest is the iMovie Projects directory.

If you choose to move the video file project storage to an external drive, quit iMovie, create a "Movies" folder in the external drive, copy the iMovie Events and iMovie Projects folders and their contents to the "Movies" folder you just created in the external drive, then trash the iMovie Events and iMovie Projects folders in the start-up drive.

Usually, when you launch iMovie, it starts with the last project that was worked on. The first time you start iMovie after moving the files to the external drive, it is likely iMovie won't know where the files went and start up a new project. Rather than launch iMovie directly, go to the external drive, open the Movies: iMovie Projects folder and double click on the project you want to work on. This should launch iMovie with *that* project and show iMovie where the iMovie Events directory is so that the project files correctly appear in the iMovie library. Also, any newly imported video *should* now import to the external drive when imported under this project.

I know - it is confusing. Once you do it, it is not a big deal. Experimenting is good... For example, import only a few minutes of video rather than the entire first tape, hit stop on the camcorder, iMovie will think the end of the tape was reached, acknowledge that, quit iMovie, copy the directories and files to the external drive, trash the files from the start up drive, double click the Project file in the external drive to be sure it is all working - then continue the import and be sure the video is importing to the right place. This way you need only copy a small amount to set up the iMovie project file storage path rather than a huge amount...

taking a breath...

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Cameras that make great holiday gifts

Let them start the new year with a step up in photo and video quality from a phone.