All Articles iMovie
Importing Videos into iMovie'11
Rounik Sethi on Thu, February 24th 8 comments
It's easy to gets your video clips and home movies into iMovie '11. You can capture directly from a Firewire video camera, an iSight camera, a tapeless video camera, or even import video files and old

It's easy to gets your video clips and home movies into iMovie '11. You can capture directly from a Firewire video camera, an iSight camera, a tapeless video camera, or even import video files and old iMovie HD projects from your Mac.

Which ever way you choose to import movies clips into iMovie you'll be asked whether you wish to add these to an existing Event or create a new Event. Think of Events as folders used to store and organize your clips. Once you become familiar with Events you'll find they are a very flexible way to easily manage your digital video clips.

For now, let's focus on getting your footage into iMovie!

Importing from a FireWire tape-based Camera

Connect the camera and iMovie will automatically recognize it. The Import window will appear. You can use the transport controls to rewind, fast forward, stop and play the contents of the camera. Click on Automatic to rewind the tape and capture the whole tape's contents into iMovie. Choosing Manual will allow you to select and record just the parts of video that you wish.

If you connected the camera before iMovie was open, you may need to tell iMovie which camera to use. check that the correct camera is selected in the Import window:

If the Import window does not open automatically, click on the Camera Import button as shown below 

or choose File > Import from Camera...

Importing from your Mac's built-in iSight

Most recent Mac's have a built in iSight camera. In fact, to date, only the Mac Pro and Mac Mini do not include an iSght camera (also called "FaceTime camera" on a MacBook Air). You can use this to easily record live video into iMovie.

  • Click on the Camera Import Button and select the Built-in iSight camera.
  • Click on the Capture button to begin recording and click Done when finished.
  • The clips appear in the iMovie Event area.

No Cuddly Toys or Animals were harmed in the making of this tutorial...

Importing Movie Files from your Computer

If you have already transferred movie files from a USB Camcorder to your Mac or you're working on movie files you didn't shoot, you can import Quicktime movie files into iMovie directly:
File > Import movies...

You can decide where to save the movie project to, whether to add it to an existing Event (similar to iPhoto's Events) or create a new Event.

Also, you can choose whether the movie files are imported at their original size or are optimized for smoother playback and better performance by importing them at a lower resolution of 960x540. You can choose to copy the movie or move the movie files to the iMovie project location.

Importing iMovie HD Archives into iMovie'11

For those of you jumping over to the world of iMovie'11 from an iMovie HD version (e.g. iMovie '06 HD), you can import your old projects! Simply choose: File > Import > iMovie HD Project...

Be aware that while this will allow you to continue working on your iMovie HD projects there are some elements of your legacy project that will not import:

  • Custom transitions will be replaced by Cross Dissolves
  • No Titles or Music will be imported
  • No Video effects will be imported

Fortunately, iMovie'11 makes working with effects, transitions and titles a breeze. All of these are applied in real-time, so there's no waiting for a rendering progress bar to finish before continuing to edit your movie! This should make editing your iMovie HD project in iMovie'11 a much quicker process than you're used to. Remember to make a backup of your old legacy projects regardless!

And that's all there is to it! Check out these iMovie 101 tutorials to get the know-how on all that iMovie'11 has to offer.

Related Videos
Comments (8)

You must be logged in to comment.

  • FannieJane
    How about the best settings for loading 4K video to iMovie?
    • 4 years ago
    • By: FannieJane
  • You haven't mentioned how to import videos that are in iPhoto, into iMovie '11. It will import the still photos, but won't import the movies.
    • 10 years ago
    • By:
  • Rounik Admin
    Hi Mac User. You can either directly import videos from your still camera into iMovie (by connecting the camera - if it's compatible)... or... In iMovie 11's Event Library you should see a heading called "iPhoto Videos". This is where your videos imported into iPhoto can be accessed - so there's no need to directly import them as they'll appear in the Event Browser area. Hope that helps R
    • 10 years ago
    • By: Rounik Admin
  • I have a macbook air software version 10.6.4 and I cannot connect to Sony GV-HD700/1 video recorder. The videos are on small magnetic video tape and I wish to import them to imovies.
    • 9 years ago
    • By:
  • Rounik Admin
    Sure. You need to turn your camera on in play mode, connect it to your Mac (via Firewire) and then launch iMovie. Click on the Import button and you should be able to control your camera from the iMovie interface and choose what footage to capture in real-time.
    • 9 years ago
    • By: Rounik Admin
  • But does Macbook Air have a firewire port.
    • 9 years ago
    • By:
  • Rounik Admin
    No. The current macBook Air models only have USB 2.0 connectivity. There are rumors that the next MacBook Air will feature the new Thunderbolt connection which will hopefully be able to convert from Firewire to Thunderbolt - when manufacturers create and release the connections to market. What connection does your Sony GV-HD700/1 have?
    • 9 years ago
    • By: Rounik Admin
  • S video jack,mini USB and firewire
    • 9 years ago
    • By:
RX 8 - The Video Manual
iZotope RX 8 101
Dream It. Do It.
Do you want to learn RX 8 - The Video Manual ?
Yes, I want to learn!
No Thanks, I just want to read the article.
Course Advisor
Don't Know Where To Start?
Ask A Course Advisor
Ask Us!
Copy the link below and paste it into an email, forum, or Facebook to share this with your friends.
Make money when you share our links
Become a Affiliate!
The current affiliate rate is: 50%
Classes Start Next Week!
Live 8-week Online Certification Classes for: