Import video from movie files

You can import movie files into iMovie that are stored on your computer or a connected hard disk. These movie files can be in a number of formats, including MPEG-4 and standard (DV) file formats and some .mov file formats.

iMovie imports AVCHD video files directly from the camcorder only. See the topics in this section about importing video from the type of camcorder you use.

To import video from a movie file:

  1. In iMovie, choose File > Import > Movies, and then find the file you want in the Finder window.

    The File menu appears in a light gray bar across the top of your computer screen.

  2. If the HD Import Setting dialog appears, select Large or Full, even if you aren’t importing high-definition (HD) video now, and then click OK.

  3. Choose the disk where you want to store the video from the “Save to” pop-up menu.

    You can choose any supported hard disk that’s connected to your computer. It takes 13 gigabytes (GB) of space to store about one hour of video in standard (DV) format and 40 GB for video in HD format, so make sure your disk has enough available storage space for the video you’re importing. The amount of free space on each available disk is shown in parentheses next to the disk’s name in the pop-up menu.

  4. Choose how you want to organize the imported video in your Event Library:

    • To add the imported video to an existing Event, select “Add to existing Event,” and then choose its name from the pop-up menu.

    • To create a new Event, type a name for it (for example, “Birthday Party”) in the “Create new Event” field.

  5. If you’re importing high-definition video, choose a size from the “Optimize video” pop-up menu.

    The option you choose overrides what you chose in the HD Import Setting dialog in step 2.

  6. Choose what to do with the original files:

    • To retain the original files intact after copying them into iMovie, select “Copy files.”

    • To delete the original files after copying them into iMovie, select “Move files.”

  7. Click Import.

    iMovie can take several minutes to more than an hour to import the video and generate thumbnail images of each clip, depending on how much video you have. The progress indicator in the Import window shows you how long it might take.