New iLife: better camcorder compatibility

Camcorder compatibility is a major problem for iMovie users these days. If you haven’t heard or seen that, check out the comments on this post.

Many, many, many camcorders available right now, especially the new hard drive-based versions, will not work with iMovie. They record in low-quality MPEG-2, which combines the audio and video into one datastream. iMovie only works with DV camcorders or hard disk camcorders that record to MPEG-4, a higher-quality format that keeps the audio and video separate – enabling future editing.

There are workarounds (see above link) but they are time-consuming, costly, and not foolproof.

There are rumors that iLife is ready for an upgrade soon, perhaps even before the next version of Mac OS X comes out. It had better include an updated iMovie with built-in capability to handle MPEG-2, because it’s getting hard to find camcorders that are Mac-compatible.

Frankly, it’s hard to believe this is a problem that Apple has not yet addressed: imagine if iPhoto only worked with 5-6 cameras.

Apple needs to fix this quickly … or at the very least, provide an actual, specific list – with model numbers – of camcorders that work with Mac OS X and iMovie, instead of this no-help help page.


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