February 27, 2007
Over the weekend I shot about 5 hours of video using a borrowed Sony Handycam. This was my first entry into taking video and I have been anxious to see what the results were. Attempts to import the video stream from the camera to various computers using the included USB cord were unsuccessful and frustrating. After downloading a copy of the DCR-TRV17 manual from Sony I discovered that the USB cord is only intended to work with the Sony Memory Stick flash memory on the camera. If you want to stream video you either need to patch the camera to a VCR or television using the A/V patch cords, or get a "i.Link" or Firewire cable.
Last evening using a Firewire cable we were able to import video to iMovie. I had seen demonstrations that made this process look simple but I wasn't quite prepared for how simple it was. With iMovie running I plugged the camera in and turned it to VCR (playback) mode. iMovie immediately told me that a camera was attached. I soon discovered that the software controls in iMovie operated the camera: I could play, pause, and stop the tape. I could fast forward and rewind; even cue the tape, all with the click of the mouse. Clicking the import button immediately started creating a clip of the material playing on the camera.
With a couple hundred minutes of footage to import we'll be using an external drive to hold all the imported clips. This will allow us to edit and splice where we want, and also transport the imported clips from one machine to the next without having to re-import the video.
I am very impressed with the ease-of-use Apple has achieved with iMovie, I've yet to read the help file on iMovie and already I feel like I can be highly creative. It just works.