What happens when you connect a brand new JVC Everio model GZMG330AUS to a MacBook via USB? The punchline to this joke unfortunately is; nothing. I spent several hours puzzling over this particular camera, attempting to download footage into iMovie from it. Let me share some background:
Hard drive and flash based video cameras are becoming more prevalent. It's a good thing in that we will no longer have to worry about buying tape or mechanical tape mechanisms breaking or tape breaking. It's a bad thing in that we can't get everyone to agree on a common file format that all the cameras and computers use. It's even more frustrating with content trapped on a commercial digital video recorder such as a TIVO. I enjoy my TIVO, but why can't I take a news report covering an event where my daughter's chorus performed and easily transfer it to my Mac and simply burn a DVD of just that part of the news? I'm aware it's possible, as I purchased the software and have tried it, but it's not easy! I digress.
Back to the VC Everio model GZMG330AUS camera. It's on our bid list. It's on Apple's site for supported video cameras. When I hooked it up to my MacBook pro, not much seemed to happen. At that time I tried something that never works: I read the manual. As expected, no help. I kept playing with it, pushing buttons on the camera, different buttons in iMovie '08 when it suddenly worked and opened up to show me the footage on the camera! Eureka! I'm a genius!
Not. I blithely shared the information with Dawn Alexander, the Media Specialist at a school I support that the camera would indeed work and left. When she tried it later, of course, it didn't.
I met with her again, and after playing with it repeatedly with her MacBook, it just wouldn't work. We called JVC. Since it worked on my computer and not hers, it was obviously an issue with her computer- at least that's what they said. For whatever reason, we kept at it. Dawn suggested we try a couple of still shots and see if it would import them into iPhoto. It did. It also apparently "primed the pump", as we were then able to get the video into iMovie!
The bad news is that she needs to be able to get movies back onto the camera for playback as part of the morning news show. We were never able to do that, so the camera will be returned.
For now, I suggest not purchasing a camera without FireWire. If you do, make sure it has USB and FireWire, as the latest MacBooks only have USB. Progress, right?