Did you check Apple's compatibility list for camcorders and iMovie 08?
If it isn't on the list, it won't work with iMovie, any version.
You should consider some other camcorder format, as DVD cams are the worst choice if you plan to edit your movies. This is because a DVD is intended for record and playback only, without any editing. In order to edit, the DVD's MPEG2 files will require conversion to the format needed by iMovie, which is DV Stream. If you buy a compatible DVD cam, iMovie 08 can do this, but this is at the expense of the video's quality. Save yourself the grief and buy what will give you exactly what ALL iMovie versions work seamlessly with and that is a miniDV tape cam with Firewire for capture.
Research appropriate camcorders here:
I have this camcorder, and while the video it produces can be used just fine in iMovie HD (I haven't tried iMovie 08), you do have to jump through a couple extra hoops. First, use the software that came with the camcorder to download the video clips to your Mac. There was a newer version of this software available for download than the one that came on the CD-ROM in my box. You will end up with MPG files on your Mac. Now, iMovie HD can't work directly with MPG files. You have to convert them to DV format first. I use a free utility to do this conversion: ffmpegX. (This tool is useful in other ways too, as it can convert any type of video to any other type of video.) Once you use it to convert your MPG files to DV files, you can then just drag the DV files into the clips pane in iMovie and edit away! There is a loss of quality as a previous poster mentioned, but to my eye it's not noticeable.
You guys are the best!
Forest, Apple Man and drinkor. I had no trouble on my Gateway with the Panny software although tht Wndows version was too Pokemon-style to be appealing. When I switched from the "dark" side to an Apple nearly a month ago, I had no idea that this great camcorder would give me so much grief.
Panasonic just notified me that I must purchase their ImageMixer3, Mac version, to use the camcorder's output. After a long download (11MB) on dial-up (this part of SW coastal Oregon is not on Verizon's DSL list yet...), it was rejected as not being "the proper program".
I have the choice of turning this iMac into a Windows machine just to use Panny's program, or converting contents of the mini-RAM disc to a readable format on the Gateway for transferring it to the iMac.
Maybe buying a Hollywood studio would be less involved??
The Apple guru I reached - thanks to the link you provided - walked me through the process in case that I had made a mistake when downloading a video from the camera to iMovie'08. He gave up after telling me that I need "mpegstream" to convert the files into readable ones. Have not been able to find such an item on the Internet.
The question remains - should I buy the Panasonic ImageMixer3 or download the applet you so kindly gave me a link to?
On top of all this aggravation, my favorite photo editor, Google's Picasa2, has been touted as being written as Picasa3, a version supposed to support Macs. What a tease...
Please stick with me for your advice is better than what I have been getting from Apple so far.
You don't need Imagemixer, which is for making VideoCDs and DVDs, and is also crap. The whole point of you posting here is that you want to use iMovie and presumably iDVD! The software you need to get the video clips from your camcorder to your Mac is Pixe VRF Browser for Panasonic, which should have come on a CD-ROM with your camcorder. The version on the CD-ROM will work fine, though in my case there was a newer one available in the form of an updater dmg downloadable for free at http://www.pixela.co.jp/oem/panasonic/e/pixevrf_browserex/download.html.
Once you use Pixe VRF Browser to get the files from your camcorder, then you use ffmpegX (downloaded for free from www.ffmpegx.com) to convert the files to DV files, which you can drag and drop into iMovie. Let me know if you need help with the proper output settings.
You can do all that dringor suggests and you may be happy with the result. Another way is to convert the DVD's files to DV with the free programme MPEGStreamclip (Google it) and Apple's Quicktime MPEG2 plug-in, for $20.00, off this site.
IF returning your cam is AT ALL possible, you should seriously consider getting a miniDV cam instead. You will have no capturing problems, no quality robbing conversions needed, an easy way to archive your movies back to tape, which is still the most reliable archiving method available, and save yourself a lot of wasted time in the editing process.
dringkor: Thanks for the information. I went to the ffmpeg.x site and there are several things to download. Also, there could be a typo in one of the links for I got an error notice.
Am using the Pixe browser and got as far as saving short video sequences (events??) and then a very basic editor opened. You're the first user of a D-300 (possibly the only one except for myself) and thus of great value to put me on the right track.
After I downloaded the ImageMixer it informed me that I needed a different version but the Pixe Browser came on the Panny CD which had both Win asa well as Mac apps on it.
Forest, I've had the camera for over a year and it was expensive. Since it produces very good stills (and excellent videos), it saved me having to carry my Panasonic Lumix still cam on visits to Europe and Central America. I had researched it for quality and had no idea that its video functions are proprietary, otherwise I could use Sony's software. My bad....
When all else fails, will follow your suggestions. In the meantime I'll try to take the easy route with dringkor. I appreciate your advice.
What was the error you saw at the ffmpegX site? I just tried the links and they seem okay to me.
Were you able to get MPG files from your camcorder to your Mac using the Pixe VRF Browser? Nevermind any editor that might pop up. The only thing you need the software provided on the Panasonic CD-ROM for is to get the MPG files from the camcorder to your Mac. Of course they want you to use it to edit and make DVDs too, but iMovie and iDVD are much better for that. Once you get the MPG files to your Mac you're ready to convert them with ffmpegX.
Bonus with ffmpegX: if you have clips downloaded from YouTube, clips from someone else's camcorder, or even AVI movie clips taken with your still camera, you can convert them all to DV and use them in iMovie projects along with your camcorder footage! And, you can convert to other formats too. For example, you can take your raw camcorder MPG footage and convert it to play on your iPod or iPhone, or to post on YouTube, or stream from your website.
I downloaded ffmpegX but it asked me to DL additional files which I have yet to do. You said in your last post to download the mpeg files to the Mac's HDD but that's just my problem: The camera is not recognized.
The Apple techie told me he never heard of ffmpegX and suggested to get something called "square5" and then buy "mpeg2 for Quicktime"". He did not ask me to purchase any Apple shares but might well have done so. So much for their after-sale customer service
How do you manage to DL mpeg2 files to your iMac without the converter? Remember that you and I are the only owners of the D-300 in this Universe...
The Apple guy was referring to the MPEGStreamclip freeware, that I mentioned earlier here, which is produced by Square5 software. With it, you need to spend $20.00 on the Apple Quicktime MPEG2 plug-in.
I think you will find it much easier than the rigmarole you seem to be going through now.
I don't have a DVD cam, but there is something called "finalizing" the disc before trying to download it to your computer. Was that done? Your cam should show up, when connected via the USB, as a disk image.
Forest brings up a good point. What type of media (DVDs) are you using? The D300 supports DVD-R, but I use DVD-RAM. It might appear different to your Mac depending on which format you use. If you've recorded onto DVD-R in Video mode, then you will need to finalize the disc as Forest says. From that point it will be viewable in a regular DVD player as well as on your Mac. There is free software available called mactheripper which will rip videos from DVDs for you (whether from your camcorder or regular DVDs), and from that point it's the same procedure with ffmpegX to convert them to DV for use in iMovie.
I know this is a lot of hassle, but once you get your workflow down it'll be easy for you.
Since we do seem to be the only ones using the Panasonic DVD camcorder, and you want to use iMovie and I have been successfully, I'll let you know how my workflow goes. First, I use DVD-RAM discs in the camcorder in VR mode. This allows you to erase and reuse the discs once the footage is safely on your Mac. When a disc gets full, I connect the camcorder to my Mac with the USB cable and turn it on. The camcorder's power cable must be plugged in (not running on the battery). Then I open the Pixe VRF Browser software and select the DVD-RAM device from the drop-down menu. It ejects the disc and asks you to reload it. Weird, I know, but you'll get used to it. Then it scans the disc and shows thumbnails of all the clips. I highlight all the clips and use the copy function to get them to my Mac. I store all the clips in their original MPG format and only convert to DV the clips I want to use in iMovie.
Let me know if you have more questions. Remember, once you get it to work once it'll be easy for you.