Ever since I started diving I’ve been taking down a Sony Cybershot W290 with a Marine Pack to record my sojourn underwater. With the knowledge that not all cameras are created equal, I further realized the importance of the recording format that point and shoot cameras come with for the convenience of editing videos in post.
Perhaps iMovie is fickle but it seems to only accept .MOV files into the raw library for video clips which are then turned into a Quicktime of *.m4v clip for your iPod. This is where it gets tricky. Panasonic’s Lumix series (the LX3) for instance records direct to Quicktime compatible format, which is in a .MOV extension. Sony on the other hand (as well as many other cameras) record out to *.mp4 and this WILL cause problems when it comes to importing videos into iMovie. Give it a try — your videos won’t be highlighted in the selection tab.
To solve this, i found an easy and free way to convert video files into almost any format available. MPEG Streamclip from Squared5 is perhaps the only thing you will ever need to convert videos from one format to another. By “any” format we are looking at DV, AVI, MOV (Quicktime), MP4 and even extracting ‘audio only’ from a video clip.
In my case I export all my dive clips from MPEG 4 into MOV and remove the audio (you can export videos with customized audio settings) so that I can embed a music file to act as an overall theme for my short film.
MPEG Streamclip is a must have for anyone dealing with video on a Mac. The application is free.