Using Your iSight Camera Instead of a Tripod

A time-lapse video is really nothing more than a video created from a single camera shot, coming from a camcorder that is completely unmoving. If you don't have a camcorder and a tripod, but do have an iSight camera on your Mac, technically speaking, you have the same setup. If the iSight camera is affixed to a laptop, you can shoot anywhere your Mac can go. Point it out a window, at a construction site, whatever and wherever.

But even sitting at a desk, you can use an iSight camera combined with iMovie and the techniques you learned to build a time-lapse video to create other kinds of projects.

When Jennifer started her company a decade ago, she often set up a tripod and camcorder and recorded her thoughts, her process, the setbacks and accomplishments. If she had an iSight camera and iMovie, the process would have been considerably easier (not scattered among dozens of old VHS tapes). Charlie has decided to use his parents' setup to make a video journal for a class project.

Because iMovie works with Apple's iSight camera as easily as it does with iPhoto and iTunes, you can use this videoconferencing camera as a typical video camera, and record the video and edit the results into a compelling document.


A growing body of funsters are using iMovie and the iSight camera to shoot movies. Unlike recording to tape, the material you shoot with the camera goes right into the editing software in one step.

Charlie uses his parents' iSight setup on the family computer to keep a private series of thoughts on school and life.


Make sure your iSight camera is set up and working.

If you don't know how to use the iSight camera, use the Set-Up Assistant in iChat AV to establish the connections and make sure the camera is communicating properly. This isn't a required step for working with iMovie, but iChat is nicely equipped to walk you through the iSight connection.


If you use iChat to make the connection, make sure you turn off iChat before you launch iMovie. You may have to quit iMovie and relaunch it, if you're already in that program. iMovie may not see the camera if you have iChat turned on.

iMovie has a switch that toggles between the input and editing of video. Whichever source is selected, the Viewer in iMovie displays video of that source.

The video-editing setting is the scissors, which has been the setting for the past few lessons.


Drag the switch to the left sidethe camerafor inputting video.

If only the iSight camera is connected to your Mac, your one option with this mode will be to enable the cameraand you'll see just one option in the camera pull-down menu. You can access the option from the triangle on the left of the little camera icon.


If, in addition to your iSight camera, a camcorder is connected to your Mac with a FireWire cable (and the camera is turned on and set to play back video), there will be a pair of options in the pull-down menu. Regardless, choose iSight.

Once you've selected iSight, iMovie gets its raw material feed from a new sourceand the video from the camera shows up in the Viewer.


To record the image you see, click the Record With iSight button above the grayed-out video shuttle controls.

Immediately, iMovie will go into recording mode, placing a new clip in the Clip pane and displaying the running time in seconds along the bottom of the clip while it records.

No need to panic that you're being recorded: The great thing about the mastering of editing techniques is that you now can get rid of video you don't like (particularly if you find it unflattering).


When you're done recording, click Record With iSight again.

This ends the recording. Now you have a clip in iMovie that is ready to edit like any video clip.

Charlie kept a daily journal about the events in his home; he also used stills and video he shot around his house and neighborhood to intercut with this journal material. After a few weeks of recording and a day of editing, he presented a short documentary to his class.

    Apple Training Series(c) iLife 05
    Apple Training Series: iLife 05
    ISBN: 032133020X
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2005
    Pages: 141
    Authors: Michael Rubin © 2008-2017.
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