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Video Cameras

My amazing movie (and my not-so-amazing iMovie)

I'm beginning to understand why most camcorder footage never sees the dark of the editing suite, let alone the bright lights of the living-room premiere

Two years ago I spent nine months on the Great Barrier Reef, working for Scubapix as an underwater videographer. This year I'm finally trying to edit the footage into the aquatic equivalent of Gone with the Wind (Gone with the Waves?), or at any rate into a coherent narrative.


Nemo is alive and well and living in an anemone on the Great Barrier Reef

Back in January I bought a Mac Mini, and since Webb says a Mac "can do it all right out of the box", I figured it would be ideal for this project. Two months later it certainly isn't ideal for any other project, because the entire 80GB hard drive is full of video. Half the project is sitting on a 60GB external drive, and I'm waiting for another 320GB to arrive in the post. Meanwhile the edited footage is approaching the 5-minute mark. I'm beginning to understand why most camcorder footage never sees the dark of the editing suite, let alone the bright lights of the living-room premiere.

And then there's iMovie. The version I used in Australia refused to save the timeline, so I had to complete my edits in one marathon session and roll the movie back on to tape (looking back, this did crack the whip on the editing process). The latest version does save my projects, which is nice -- but it crashes horribly if I try to save them while the camcorder is still attached. Thus a typical editing session goes like this:

1. Hook the camcorder up to the computer.

2. Do something else for an hour while the video is transferred from the tape to the hard drive.

3. Attempt to save the project. iMovie crashes.

4. Restart iMovie, which has dumped 500-odd new clips into the trash, in random order.

5. Decide that I can't face sorting 500 clips into their proper order by hand. Empty the trash and return to Step 2.

Now you know why it has taken two months to produce the first 5 minutes -- although things have picked up since I worked out that when Webb says, "Everything just kind of, works, with a Mac," he means it kind of works, as long as you unplug your camcorder before you save anything.

To be continued, as they say...