New iMac and Camcorder question

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I'm new so please excuse if this is a stupid question!



I have an iMac G5 (powerpc one, pre isight - ie old!).

I want to get a reasonably good camcorder with HiDef

The instructions for the camcorder I've chosen say it works only with the intel macs so I am considering a new iMac.



A few questions I hoped people might help with;



My ambitions as a director are limited. I want to use imovie to cut out the bits where someone walks in front of the camera and piece together the good bits but not a lot more. Is it worth upgrading video card in the iMac or going for the top end models for this basic stuff?



Also concensus seems to be there may be some tweaking of the iMac in the next few weeks but the real change might be significantly superior processors some time maybe in the first part of next year. If I wanted to wait for that is there a way of taking the files off the camcorder memory stick and storing them even though my current iMac cant recognise them? That way I could keep the raw footage and edit it next year ( I wouldnt mind paying for a portable storage device to do this if such a thing exists?)

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    iMovie on a G5 works just fine.

    As for camera compatibility... how is the video stored?... If it uses a memory card, then any number of USB readers will allow you to get the video from the card to your G5. Then you import it to iMovie and have at it!

    If it's tape-based, most camera's will download directly to iMovie through the FireWire or USB port... there ARE a few that are not recognized though.

    Camera Brand? Interface method? media type?



    Odds are that you'll be able to do this on your G5 though with your current camera.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    If a given camcorder is specifying an Intel Mac, it's probably using AVCHD, which the venerable G5 can't handle.



    As far as Intel iMacs are concerned, the base model running iMovie 09 will handle AVCHD just fine. The best thing you could do for performance is add ram, so the $300 jump from the base model (which gets you an additional 2GB of ram, a 24" screen and an extra 300GB of HD) might be worth it, to you.



    FYI, here is a list of iMovie 09 supported cameras.
  • Reply 3 of 7
    Sorry. it is a sony HDR-TG3, which is AVCHD format and memory stick pro duo storage.



    I've tried one with the G5 and while it will download still shots to iphoto, it will not even show the AVCHD files to drag them across, nevermind automatically download them in imovies (I tried this with a USB lead to the camera)



    Would using the memory stick in a card reader potentially produce any different result? If not is it possible to take something direct from a memory stick to an external hard disk without going through the computer?
  • Reply 4 of 7
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NeillH View Post


    ...Would using the memory stick in a card reader potentially produce any different result? ...



    Possibly, yes... I'd try that route.

    It's possible, that your computer doesn't posses the drivers needed to "see" everything on the camera when it's plugged in. But you might be able to see the data through a "standard" card-reader.

    Whether or not your software can interpret AVCHD, i don't know. (My cheapo vidcam works exactly that way... can't read through the USB cable, but I can remove the SD card and read it via a Belkin multi-card reader... but outputs generic .mp4 files)
  • Reply 5 of 7
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Nope. See, the thing is, AVCHD uses a "Group of Pictures" (GOP) scheme for compression. There's a full frame, then "frames" that use both predictive and bidirectional information re what's changed or likely to change from the key frame.



    So that while playback of such material poses one set of challenges to a host computer, editing is entirely another matter, since removing any given frame or frames means the software has to reapply predictive and motion algorithms in order to "create" a new GOP, based on the changed information available.



    Long story short, the G5 simply doesn't have the grunt to do the math.



    Having said all that, there is a piece of third party software, VoltaicHD, which will convert AVCHD files to a format editable on a G5. I've never used it, so I don't know if there is much image degradation, but at $35 it's a fair sight cheaper than a new Mac, so maybe a little degradation would be tolerable.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    taurontauron Posts: 911member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NeillH View Post


    I'm new so please excuse if this is a stupid question!



    I have an iMac G5 (powerpc one, pre isight - ie old!).

    I want to get a reasonably good camcorder with HiDef

    The instructions for the camcorder I've chosen say it works only with the intel macs so I am considering a new iMac.



    A few questions I hoped people might help with;



    My ambitions as a director are limited. I want to use imovie to cut out the bits where someone walks in front of the camera and piece together the good bits but not a lot more. Is it worth upgrading video card in the iMac or going for the top end models for this basic stuff?



    Also concensus seems to be there may be some tweaking of the iMac in the next few weeks but the real change might be significantly superior processors some time maybe in the first part of next year. If I wanted to wait for that is there a way of taking the files off the camcorder memory stick and storing them even though my current iMac cant recognise them? That way I could keep the raw footage and edit it next year ( I wouldnt mind paying for a portable storage device to do this if such a thing exists?)



    I have the best advice anybody will ever give you:



    Quit your "movie director" aspirations before you even begin.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    I tried Voltaic a while back and wasn't all too happy with it (primarily because they had a very very limited free test version so I had to chunk out cash), but I only tried it twice with small files (to check the quality of a camera I was considering buying).



    Now I have new computers that are Intel and a wonderful Canon HFS10 which works well with iMovie, but I do find I have to import just a few files at a time. Final Cut Pro does not have that problem.



    You will need RAM and an external HD to store your video (iMovie lets you choose where to save stuff). HD files are huge. FireWire 800 HDs are a bit pricey compared to their USB 2 brothers, but the speed difference is worth the added cost.



    Your future projects may demand more than what iMovie can deliver, and, honestly, there are times when iMovie is awesome for the task and others when it is a pain. You might want to have a look at Final Cut Express:



    http://www.apple.com/finalcutexpress/



    It's 200 bucks, but worth every penny if you do anything serious.
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