About video cable connectors

To import video from your recording device to your computer, you need to connect your device to the computer using either a USB or FireWire cable. The kind of cable you need depends on the kind of device you’re using:

  • USB device:  For camcorders that record to DVD or hard disk drive (HDD), or for flash-based camcorders and digital still cameras that record video, you use a USB cable. Your device most likely came with a USB cable, but you can use any other USB cable as well. The USB cable should have at least one connector that plugs into your Mac and looks like the connector on the left (A, below). The other end of the USB cable, which plugs into your recording device, might look different (as shown in B, below).

    Image of USB cable connectors

  • FireWire device:  For most camcorders that record to tape, you use a FireWire cable, with a 6-pin connector that plugs into your Mac (A, below) on one end and a 4-pin connector that plugs into your camcorder (B, below) on the other end. Your device most likely came with a FireWire cable, but you can use any other FireWire cable as well.

    Image of FireWire cable connectors

Or you might have a FireWire 800 cable, with a different end that plugs into your camcorder:

Image of FireWire 800 connector

If your device didn’t come with a cable and you’re not sure what kind of device you have, you can check the logo near the cable ports on your device to see if it matches the FireWire or USB logo, both shown above. Otherwise, check the documentation that came with your device.

Note:  Not all Mac computers include a FireWire port. Check your system configuration to confirm that your Mac includes FireWire support before attempting to connect a standard (DV) or HDV camcorder.

If you’re unsure whether your camera is compatible with iMovie, go to the following support page:

iMovie ’11 Supported Cameras