Importing Files into iMovie '11

Importing from mini-DV, DVD, VHS

iMovie '11 is similar to iMovie '9 in that it will allow you to import video from a variety of different sources, including Mini-DV, VHS, DVD. You can import any of these formats, no matter who created them, but be aware of copyright laws when you are using footage that is not your own. Below is a quick tutorial on the process of importing video into iMovie.

Before you open iMovie, be sure you have the playback device (VHS, Mini-DV or DVD Player) connected to the computer. A Mini-DV player can connect directly to the computer using a firewire cable. VHS and DVD players need to be connected with a capture device like the Blackmagic Video Recorder which is availble for checkout at the Info@Burke desk .

First, launch the iMovie application and create a New Project.

To begin importing footage, go to the File menu and select Import From Camera. You can also use the keyboard shortcut cmd + i. Now, hit Play on the DV deck, DVD, or VHS player. If the device is recognized, you should see the video begin playing on the screen.

When you want to start importing footage, click the Import button in the bottom right of the preview screen.

Now you will be prompted with a new window asking you to name the file of the clip your importing, which will be referred to as the new Event. You will also be prompted to designate where you want it saved. It is a good idea to create a folder within the scratch disk when working with video and keep your related files in that folder, so you should set the Save to: field to that folder.

Once you have named your event and set the location correctly, click the Import button.

Now you will be taken back to the preview screen and your video will start playing, only this time it will be recorded. When you have captured your clip, click the Stop button in the bottom right. Your new clip will automatically be added to the Event Library.

NOTE: If you plan on working with this project on another computer you should reconsider the video editing software you are using. In iMovie  your project can be easily lost if instructions are not followed exactly. iMovie is only recommended to be used when a project is going to be started and completed in the same day, with the same computer.

Importing Files


If you wish to use movie files in iMovie rather than capture video from a mini-DV, VHS, or DVD you will have to follow a different but easier process than the one explained above. To start, go to the File menu and select Import -> Movies.

If this is your first time importing movies, a window may pop up asking you to set your default import size to Large or Full, and listing pros and cons for each type. Whatever you select, you can change the setting for each video when you import it, but you should keep the same size for all the clips in the same movie.

A finder window will open up allowing you to browse for the file you wish to import. Once you've found the file, set the Save to: field to the folder where your other project videos are located. Then you can name the new Event and select whether to optimize the video or import the original. This setting should be set to match what your current project video size is. Next, select whether you want to copy the movie file into the folder or move it, and when your satisfied with your choices, click the Import button.

NOTE: iMovie supports the DV, DV Widescreen, HDV 1080i, HDV 720p, MPEG 4 Simple Profile, and iSight video formats.

The imported movie will be added to your Event Library.



To insert a still image, you can click on the Photos Icon to pull up your iPhoto Library.


NOTE: This method only shows images within the iPhoto library.

Now as long as you have photos in your iPhoto library you will see something like the screen shown to the right. From here, you can drag your photos to the Project Viewer into the location you want them to appear.

If you would rather not use the iPhoto library, you can also drag image files right into your project from the desktop or a finder window. Simply drag the images into the Project Viewer the same way as with the iPhoto library.






To import an audio file, click on the Music icon located directly to the left of the Photos icon.

NOTE: Although many audio file formats can be imported into iMovie, we recommend .aiff.

Now you should see a few different folders and a list of audio tracks from selected Apple software. Navigate to the audio track you want and drag it into the Project Viewer.

Once again, if you want to import an audio file from somewhere else on your computer, that is also an option. Simply drag the file from a finder window or your desktop into the Project Viewer.

NOTE: Once the AIFF has been imported as an audio track, you can edit it as desired (crop, move, adjust volume).

Graphics files will show up as clips in the Project Viewer, video files will be added to the Events Library, and audio files will show up as track in the Timeline.


For instructions on exporting video from iMovie '11, refer to the Exporting Video from iMovie '11 documentation.


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