Importing Video (Digital Home Movies) Part 1

Before creating the next Oscar nominated movie, raw video footage needs to be transferred to your computer for editing. Raw video footage might be in one or several formats when you start. Some of it could be on VHS tapes and some on MiniDV media used by your digital video camcorder. Using footage emailed to you by a friend or downloaded from the Internet is possible too. Still images can also be used to enhance your video. This part of the topic shows you how to import any of the video clips you want to include in your movie.

Whatever the original format of your video happens to be, Windows Movie Maker needs to import it so that editing is possible. Depending on the original format of your movie clips, the process for getting it imported into Windows Movie Maker will vary. The length of time it takes to import your video depends on the length of each clip and the format it is stored in.

Getting the video clips into Windows Movie Maker is only part of the process. Importing everything from one video tape requires a slightly different process than recording only a small portion of a video tape. Once the clips are imported, organizing them into logical groups simplifies the editing process.

This part of the topic explains the basics of importing video files into Windows Movie Maker.

Import Devices

Import Devices

Connecting a DV Camcorder to Your PC with FireWire

Connecting a DV Camcorder to Your PC with FireWire

1 With your DV camcorder turned off, connect the 4-pin end of the FireWire cable to the FireWire port on your camcorder. (This port is sometimes labeled DV.)

2 Connect the 6-pin end of the FireWire cable to your PC.

3 Turn on your DV camcorder in playback mode (usually VTR or VCR on the cam-corder).


To connect your DV camcorder to your PC, you’ll need a FireWire port and the appropriate cable. Most PC FireWire ports are 6-pin ports, while most DV camcorders have 4-pin connectors. If the sales person didn’t sell you a 4-pin to 6-pin FireWire cable when you bought your DV camcorders, the local electronics store should have one in stock.

TIP Other Names for FireWire

Some PC makers refer to FireWire by the technical specification number IEEE 1394. Sony refers to FireWire as I-link. All three names refer to the same thing.

Connecting a DV Camcorder to Your PC with S-Video

Connecting a DV Camcorder to Your PC with S-Video

1 Connect a stereo RCA to mini-plug adapter to the line-in on the computer’s sound card.

2 Connect the mini-plug end of the stereo video cable included with your DV cam-corder to the AV jack on the camcorder.

3 Connect the red and white audio connectors to the corresponding jacks on the RCA adapter connected to the sound card. The yellow connector will remain unconnected.

4 Connect one end of the S-video cable to the DV camcorder. Connect the other end to the S-Video line-in on the PC video card.


If connecting the DV Camcorder via FireWire isn’t an option, S-Video is an obvious alternative included on many video cards. Unlike FireWire, S-Video does not capture the camcorder audio, so you will need to connect the audio separately.

HINT S-Video Is Not Digital

S-Video produces a better quality picture than transferring video via the yellow RCA composite video out, but it isn’t a digital signal.

Whenever possible, use FireWire to transfer video to your computer for the best possible picture.

Creating a New Project in Windows Movie Maker

Creating a New Project in Windows Movie Maker

1 Click Start, AU Programs, and then select Windows Movie Maker.

2 Click the New Project button on the toolbar.

3 Click the Tools menu and then choose Options to open the Options dialog box.

4 On the General tab, type your name in the Default author box.


Before importing your movies, Windows Movie Maker needs to be configured. These initial settings will remain the defaults for future movie projects, unless you change them. At this point, you should have already connected your DV camera to your computer.


Open on Startup

Movie projects often take longer than one sitting to complete. Open the most recent project you are working on when Movie Maker starts by checking the box next to Open Last Project on Startup, located on the General Options tab.


5 Click the Advanced tab.

6 From Video properties, choose settings matching your DV camera configuration. (U.S. cameras are set to NTSC and 4:3 by default.)

7 Click OK.


Launch Capture Wizard Automatically

Attaching your DV camera to your PC and turning the camera on in playback mode before launching Windows Movie Maker causes Movie Maker to automatically launch the Video Capture Wizard.


Widescreen or Full Screen?

If you want to create movies in Widescreen, similar to commercial videos, set your camera to record with an aspect ratio of 16:9. Most cameras default to the full screen 4:3 ratio.

Capturing an Entire DV Tape

Capturing an Entire DV Tape

1 Under Movie T asks, expand Capture Video by clicking the down arrow at the right.

2 Click Capture from video device.

3 Type a file name for your captured video, make sure the folder where you want to save the file is selected (My Videos is the default), and then click Next.

4 Click the button next to Digital device IVinnat (DV-AVI), and then click Next.


Before editing your movie, you need to import it from your DV camera. This process is generally referred to as capturing video. For DV tapes with one continuous event or several long events, allowing Windows Movie Maker to capture the entire video all at once is efficient.


Find the Folder

If the folder where you want to save your video file isn’t the one seen in step 3, click Browse to locate the appropriate folder.


5 Select Capture the entire tape automatically and click Next.

6 Check the box next to Create clips when wizard finishes to automatically divide the movie into scenes.

7 Wait for the computer to rewind the tape, capture the video, and create a file, then click Finish.


Resource Hog

Turning on the Preview window during capture consumes additional computer resources, which may result in losing parts of your video. When you are capturing an entire tape, leave the Preview window off to reduce processor and memory usage.

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