Importing

Using footage from DV and non-DV sources:

iMovie is designed to work with the following video formats:

  • DV
  • DV Widescreen
  • HDV 1080i (25 and 30 fps)
  • HDV 720p (25 and 30 fps)
  • MPEG 4 Simple Profile
  • iSight

However, because iMovie uses QuickTime to process video and audio footage, you may be able to import footage from other sources or formats.

Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with video footage from alternative sources:

Camcorder Support:

iMovie ’09 is designed to work with a wide range of digital video devices and formats, including tape-based and the latest tapeless camcorders that record to flash memory, a hard disk drive, or DVD media.

The following information is provided for your general reference:

Import video from a camcorder or camera:

The enhanced import feature in iMovie ’08 allows for importing video footage to iMovie ’08 from various types of camcorders, including FireWire camcorders and USB camcorders or cameras. You can import video from USB camcorders that record to DVD or hard disk drive (HDD) storage media, or from flash-based devices, including digital still cameras that record video (although you must first import the video to iPhoto for the video to become accessible by iMovie).

Note: If you run into any issues importing your video, read Helpful Tips, Troubleshooting, and Additional Help in the Additional Information section at the end of this document.

The first step in importing video from a camcorder is to determine whether your camcorder connects to your computer with a USB or FireWire cable. Here’s how to determine which your camcorder uses:

FireWire:

If your camcorder has a FireWire connection, also called IEEE 1394 or i.LINK, the cable and connector that plug into your camcorder will look like this:

The cable and connector that plug into your computer will look like this:


USB Connection:

If your camcorder has a USB connection, the cable and connector that plug into your camcorder will look like this:


The cable and connector that plug into your computer will look like this:


Importing video from a FireWire camcorder:

1. Open iMovie ’08.
2. Connect your camcorder to your computer with a FireWire cable.
3. Make sure your camcorder is in the proper mode: PC, Computer or VTR. (If you’re not sure which mode to use, refer to the manual that came with your camcorder.)
4. iMovie will detect the camera and open the Import From window.

If this window doesn’t appear, click the camcorder icon in the iMovie window.

5. Click the Automatic switch (1) and then click Import All (2) to import all clips from the camcorder.

Note: If you want additional import options, select the Manual switch in the lower left of the Import From window.

The Import From window now shows the elapsed time and controls that allow you to rewind, fast forward, stop, and play your clip.

6. From the Save to menu, choose a save location and an iMovie Event for your footage.

  • Choose the hard disk where you want to save your video (if you have more than one hard disk).
  • Select the option to add the imported footage to an existing iMovie Event or to create a new Event.

7. Click OK.
8. After clicking OK, your movie begins to import.
9. Click Stop. You are returned to iMovie’s main window where you can see your imported video in iMovie’s Event Library. In this example, it’s called “African Safari”.

Importing video from a USB camcorder:

You can import video from USB camcorders that record to DVD or hard disk drive (HDD) storage media or from flash-based camcorders.

Follow these steps to import video from a USB camcorder:

1. Open iMovie ’08.
2. Connect your camcorder to your computer with a USB cable.
3. Make sure your camcorder is in the proper mode: PC, Computer or VTR. (If you’re not sure which mode to use, refer to the manual that came with your camcorder.)
4. If you are using a USB camcorder, iMovie will detect the camcorder and open the Import window.



Note: If you’re connecting a DVD camcorder, plugging it into your computer may cause the DVD Player to open. If that happens, you can simply close DVD Player.

5. Set the Automatic/Manual switch at the bottom-left of the import window to the Automatic position if you want all of your clips imported.

To begin the import process, click Import All.

6. If you want to choose which clips to import, set the Automatic/Manual switch to Manual.

7. In Manual mode, you can select a video clip (1) and play that clip in the window by clicking the Play button (2).

Note: This allows your clip to play. The clip is not imported.

8. The checkbox under each video clip determines whether that clip will be imported. If a checkbox is selected (1) the clip will be imported. If the checkbox is deselected (2) the clip will not be imported.

9. Click the Import Checked button to import your video clips.

10. From the Save to menu, you can choose a Save to location, add your clip to a new or existing iMovie Event, and select a size for your imported video clip.

  • Choose the hard disk where you want your video saved (if you have more than one hard disk).
  • Select the option to add your imported footage to an existing iMovie event or to create a new event.
  • Choose a size for your imported video.

11. Click OK.

12. iMovie lets you know when your import is complete.

Click OK to exit the import mode.

Your imported video appears in your Event Library. In this example it is “San Francisco Bay”.

Additional Information:

Helpful Tips:

  • Make sure your camcorder is compatible with iMovie. For a list of compatible camcorders, see “iMovie ’08 Camcorder Support.”
  • Make sure your camcorder is connected properly to your computer.
  • Make sure your camcorder is in the correct output mode. On some camcorders, this is called VTR mode. On some camcorders you must set the output to DV mode or HDV mode, depending on whether the content is standard (DV) or high definition (HDV). Some camcorders may use different terminology. Check the documentation that came with your camcorder.
  • If you’re connecting a tape-based camcorder to your computer, make sure you’re using a FireWire cable, also called IEEE 1394, or i.LINK (not a USB cable).
  • If you’re connecting to a device that records to flash memory, Hard Drive (HDD), or DVD media, make sure you’re using a USB cable (not a FireWire cable).
  • If you’re importing video from a camera or other flash memory device, make sure the the file format of your video is compatible with iMovie: MPEG-2 or MPEG-4.
  • If you’re importing from an AVCHD camcorder, make sure you’re using a Mac computer with an Intel processor.
  • If you’re importing from an AVCHD DVD camcorder, make sure you’ve installed the latest version of Mac OS X.
  • DVD camcorders require that you “finalize” the DVD disk before importing content into iMovie (unless the “finalize” function is not offered). Refer to the documentation that came with your DVD camcorder for details.
  • If you’ve enabled Fast User Switching, make sure no one else is trying to use the camcorder from a different account at the same time.

Troubleshooting:
If you still can’t import video after checking the items above, try the following:

  • Turn the camcorder off and on again.
  • Disconnect the cable from both the camcorder and the computer, and then reconnect it.
  • Quit and reopen iMovie.
  • Restart your computer.
  • Try using a different cable.
  • Try using a different computer with iMovie ’08 installed.

Additional Help:

For additional information on importing video, open iMovie and choose iMovie Help from the Help menu.

You can also see some great iMovie ’08 video tutorials.

Moving iMovie footage to another drive:

iMovie ’08 stores your project in two parts: the event video (Event files) and the projects (Project files).

Event Files:

  • The Event file contains all of the video from the camcorder.
  • This file is usually relatively large.
  • By default, these files are stored in ~/Movies/iMovie Events.

Figure Events folder:

Project Files:

  • The Project file contains instructions on how to assemble pieces of video from the Event, as well as any titles, transitions, or audio added to the project.
  • This file is usually relatively small.
  • By default, these files are stored in ~/Movies/iMovie Projects.

Figure Projects folder:

You can have multiple project files which reference the same Event video.

Storing Events:

If you begin to run out of hard disk space, you can capture Event video directly to an external drive:

  1. Connect an external hard disk via FireWire.
  2. Make sure the disk is formatted as Mac OS X Extended.
  3. When importing, select this disk as the destination from the pop-up menu in the import sheet.

Figure Import sheet:

Moving Events:

If you need to create space on your internal hard drive, you can move existing Events to the drive without breaking their connection to existing projects. Keep in mind that the external drive needs to be connected when working with a Project that uses this video.

To move Event video to another hard disk, use the iMovie interface (and not the Finder) as follows:

  1. Connect an external hard disk that is formatted as Mac OS X Extended via FireWire.
  2. From the View menu, select Events By Volume, or click the hard disk icon in the Events pane.
  3. Drag and drop the Event from the computer list in the Events pane to the external hard drive icon in the Events pane.

This moves the Event to the external hard disk while retaining the connection to any projects that use this video.

Figure Moving an Event:

Moving Projects:

If you need to move a Project to another computer, copy both the Project file and the Event to the secondary computer. Place them in the appropriate locations before launching iMovie:

  • ~/Movies/iMovie Events/
  • ~/Movies/iMovie Projects/

If there is not enough room for the Event video, move the Event to an external hard disk using the instructions in the Moving Events section above before moving the Project to the other computer. Connect the external hard disk to the computer before opening iMovie.

Warning: Moving Projects or Events to other folders, drives or computers without following the instructions in this article may result in an unusable Project or Event in iMovie.

Importing DVD camcorder movies:

ou can import movies from your DVD camcorder into iMovie ’08 by setting the recording format on your camcorder to “Standard” or “Video” mode.

When you insert a recordable disk into your DVD camcorder you may be prompted to choose either “Standard” (sometimes called “Video”) or “VR” formats. To import media into iMovie ’08, you should choose “Standard” or “Video” mode on your camcorder. If you select “VR” mode, the camcorder may mount in Finder as a DVD and not a hard disk, which means you may not be able to directly import your media into iMovie ’08.

You can choose your recording format with the following DVD camcorders:

  • Sony DCR-DVD 403
  • Sony DCR-DVD 505
  • Canon DC20
  • Panasonic VDR-D300

Additional Information:

You may find some camcorders will not allow you to choose a format if you use DVD+RW media. Consult your camcorder’s manual to determine other media options.

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.