Reader Sander Feinberg is the latest person to drop a message in my In Box asking how one imports video from a DVD created with iDVD (in other words, a non-commercial, unprotected disc) into iMovie.
There are several tools for doing this kind of thing, but many of them are complicated (and, as far as the entertainment industry is concerned, a little shady). Allow me to recommend one that's both easy to use and, because it won't extract material from copy-protected DVDs, pure as the driven snow -- the $25 DVDxDV (made, apparently, by the company of the same name). My colleague Dan Frakes ably describes the program this way in his May 2004 Mac Gems column:
Insert your DVD and then choose File: Open DVD. DVDxDV will display each track on the disc, and let you preview audio and video contents (though not at the same time). You then select a whole track or set in- and out-points, choose Extract: New Movie, and choose your export format -- iMovie/Final Cut (either NTSC or PAL) for DV, or Expert, which provides access to all your QuickTime codecs. Then sit back and watch DVDxDV restore the contents of your DVD.
Note that DVDxDV doesn't decrypt commercial DVDs and that you'll suffer a loss in quality when you transcode your video. However, this program may prove to be invaluable when you need to regain otherwise-lost footage. (An $80 Pro version, which offers a number of more-advanced features, is also available.)