HD Camcorder importing problems on a Mac
January 1, 2008 2:36 PM   Subscribe

I just bought a Canon HV-10 HD camcorder, but importing it into my new iMac is painfully slow. Is it the camcorder, or the computer, or iMovie?

I've used my old Canon ZR-65 for years, and have been importing movies via firewire without problem. I just picked up a Canon HV-10 HD camcorder. When I import into iMovie, I notice that the import is not real time - that is, it begins importing at realtime speed, but within a minute is capturing at 1/8 speed. This continues on and on, until imovie crashes (about 30 min. into it).

I can relaunch iMovie, the movie is there, and there are some sections where thumbnails have not been generated.

I've tried reading up on this, but have not found anything solid other than "The HV-10 is a bad HD deck", and "I get broken timecodes with the HV-10".

Could it be iMovie 08? My iMac has 2GB or Ram, and is less than a year old, but could it be that?

When I go to "About this mac" and look at the firewire, it shows the camera connected at 100Mbs (on a 400Mbps port?) -> shouldn't it be showing 400? Canon has no support articles on this.

I have another week or so before I have to return the camera -> thoughts?
posted by burhan to Technology (4 answers total)
I can't prove it, but I'd say the camera's defective. If you like the feature set, swap it for another new, sealed unit; this kind of behavior is consistent with an imperfect internal connection -> dropped signal -> slower (100 MBit) transfer speed.
posted by ZakDaddy at 4:33 PM on January 1, 2008

Yup. While it's a very sharp observation that the canon is stepping down the whole firewire bus to FW100 (from FW 400...) I don't think the problem isn't that. Many cameras (particularly Canons) use a FW 100 chip (there's also a FW 200 in the spec.)

I think the most likely problem is that imovie transcodes all HDV to a format know as the Apple Intermediary Codec (AIC.) FCP doesn't do this.

To test if it's the camera....capture using DV rather than HDV with the camera (it should do both.) If it's slow then, there's something wrong with the camera.
posted by filmgeek at 5:33 PM on January 1, 2008

I don't know your camera, but I have a new iMac and just recently downloaded iMovie 06 because iMovie 08 sucks so bad. It's a really dumbed-down version and they've eliminated many features. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a compatibility issue with the software. If you go to here, iMovie 06 is a free download for iLife 08 owners. Seems like many, many people are going back to it.
posted by chococat at 6:57 PM on January 1, 2008

Thanks so much guys!

I'll try the DV capture and go from there. I'm also upgrading my computer to 3GB of ram to see if that helps (I'll know next week when the ram arrives).


posted by burhan at 5:27 PM on January 2, 2008

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