I’ve written previously about a problem I’ve encountered recording video with the iSight camera on my MacBook Pro. I know that many people have experienced this problem, as I regularly get people doing a Google search for the solution landing on this post.
Last week I downloaded the latest version of QuickTime Player (ver 7.6 (472)) for my Macbook Pro running OS X 10.5.6. I was hoping it would resolve the problem of audio/video synchronization when recording in PhotoBooth or iMovie. Well, my unscientific tests reveal that the problem has not been resolved in PhotoBooth, but seems to be fine in iMovie. Take a look for yourself. First, the PhotoBooth video – FAIL!:
What did work well was File/Import from Camera in iMovie. This gives you the choice of capturing video and audio in either 16:9 mode (1024 x 576) or 4:3 mode (640 x 480) using the iSight cam and internal mic on your Macbook Pro. I captured the following video in iMovie in 640×480 mode, then Share/Export using QuickTime and selected the Movie to MPEG-4 format, setting the Options to H.264 and 320×240 resolution. This creates a good quality .MP4 file that is quite small in size, but still great quality for a webcam recording. The following short video was only 3MB in size, making for a quick upload to YouTube, even at my measly 3mb DSL speed that often runs very slow. The quality is there, the upload is fast, and the audio and video are definitely in sync. Hurray!
I also made a quick video using YouTube’s QuickCapture service. This avoids converting and uploading altogether. Check out the video quality compared to the above to see if the extra steps of recording with iMovie are really worth it. Again, this was captured using my relatively slow DSL connection. I think the quality is definitely acceptable once you get the volume control set properly.
So what do you think? Does the latest version of QuickTime underlying iMovie 8.0 fix the problem with audio and video sync so many MacBook users have experienced? I think it might. PhotoBooth still seems to be a problem, but iMovie does quite well. And I don’t think you should rule out Youtube’s QuickCapture service for recording webcam quality video.