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Introduction > Introduction - Pg. 21

the Canon XL1 or Sony's high-defnition FX1; and the fanciest, professional, com- mercial-flmmaking models go for $10,000. All of these camcorders are teeming with features and require a thick brochure to list them all. So how do you know which to buy? Here's a rundown of the most frequently ad- vertised DV camcorder features, along with a frank assessment of their value to the quality-obsessed iMovie fan. FireWire connector FireWire is Apple's term for the tiny, compact connector on the side of most DV camcorders. When you attach a FireWire cable, this jack connects the camera to your FireWire-equipped Mac. Other companies have different names for this con- nector--you may see it called IEEE-1394, i.Link, DV In/Out, or DV Terminal. If the camera you're considering doesn't have this feature, don't buy it; you can't use that camera with iMovie (or any other DV software). Analog inputs This single feature may be important enough to determine your camcorder choice by itself. Analog inputs are connectors on the camcorder (see Figure 1-3) into which you can connect older, pre-DV equipment, such as your VCR, your old 8mm camcorder, and so on. There's no easier, less expensive method of transferring older footage into your DV camcorder--or directly into iMovie. This technique is described in more detail in Chapter 4. For now, note only that the alternative method of transferring pre-DV footage into DV format is to buy a $200 converter box--an unnecessary purchase if your DV camcorder has analog inputs. Figure 1-3: Most camcorders offer inputs known as RCA connectors. Better models offer an S-video connec- tor too, for much higher quality. (Most compact models re- quire a special cable with RCA connectors on one end and a miniplug on the camcorder end, like the one shown here. Don't lose this cable! You also need it to play your camcorder footage on TV.) Buying a DV Camcorder RCA connectors S-video connector chapter1:thedvcamcorder 21