Recently I found myself needing to record some old home videos from VHS to DVD. Ultimately I wanted to be able to go through and organize the recordings of different events onto a few DVDs, but only had time to put the videos onto DVD in a simple and disorganized fashion. I needed a way to get the DVD video onto my Macbook in order to organize video and write it to a new DVD. After messing around with Handbrake for a while and finding that the conversion time for each DVD was unbearable, I looked around online and found out a few bits of information that helped quite a bit. There are two methods of getting home video from DVDs into iMovie '09.
Open up Disk Manager and create an image of the DVD as an uncompressed read-only .dmg file or as a Master CD/DVD .cdr image file. Then mount the image. iMovie should automatically detect it and it will make fast work of importing the video.
Use Handbrake to import the DVD as .m4v or .mp4 format, but make sure that "Create chapter markers" under the Chapters tab is unchecked. If it is checked, iMovie will not see it as an importable file. Not only will the Handbrake conversion take some time, but the import into iMovie will as well.