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?
I discovered in class that when importing pictures into iMovie for output to DVD or Book from a source like PowerPoint you need to do a crop of pictures that changes them to the 4:3 aspect ratio in iPhoto. If this doesn't work then try: If you lose some of the image need you will have to resize the images in a program like photoshop to 1280 X 960.
I remember a time when Video in the Classroom would have referred to showing Pocohantis during Thanksgiving! But, today teachers are using video editing and production to support curriculum standards in the classroom. There are several different software choices for video editing. The most common in education is iMovie.
Here are some great resources for teachers and students to use and learn from:
I have found several websites that will support you in making movies in your classroom. Please post in the comments section if you have found other links that will support other classrooms when they make movies.