First iMovie steps: Importing video clips
Importing from an iOS device
If you’ve never attempted to import an iOS device’s video footage into iMovie, you’ll be pleased to know that the procedure works exactly as if you had attached a digital camcorder. Just as with the process I’ve described, when you physically connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your Mac with iMovie open, the Import window opens and displays any clips the device holds. Select those that you want to import, and click the appropriate Import button. You’ll see the same sheet I mentioned, with the same options. Click Import, and iMovie will do so, generate thumbnails, and place the clips within the selected event.
Importing from a point-and-shoot camera
With point-and-shoot camcorders and older pocket camcorders, importing video can happen in one of a couple of ways. Sometimes a direct connection works—you attach the device to your Mac, and iMovie’s Import window appears. But in other situations it doesn’t. For example, if your older point-and-shoot captures in the AVI format, iMovie won’t touch it.
In such cases you need to mount your camera’s media on the Mac. You may be able to do so via a cable connection. If that doesn’t work, extract the media card, insert it into a media card reader (the SD slot on your MacBook, for example), and copy the file to your Mac. Then use iMovie’s Import command to bring the clip into iMovie. I’ll discuss this procedure soon.
Live camera capture
As I’ve mentioned, iMovie can additionally capture video live from a compatible camera attached to your Mac. To make that possible, click the Camera icon that appears at the far left of iMovie’s toolbar. This action opens the Import window.
Once you’ve done this, click the Camera menu and choose your camera. To begin the process of recording what’s in front of it, just click the Capture button that appears to the right. Again, a sheet will appear where you can choose an event to add the footage to—an existing event or a new one. You can analyze the captured material for stabilization and people, too. Click Capture, and that’s what happens. iMovie will capture audio from the Input source currently configured in the Sound system preference. In the case of a Mac with a built-in camera, the source will be, by default, the Mac’s microphone.
Importing existing movies
Not all of the video you want is housed on a camera. As I explained earlier, sometimes you have to copy clips from a camera’s media card. Or you may have video you’ve pulled off the Internet, or a clip that a friend has shared with you via a social media site. In cases where the file format is compatible with iMovie, you can use these clips as well.
To import such movies, choose File > Import > Movies. A navigation sheet will appear. Use it to select the video files that you’d like to bring into iMovie. As with similar sheets we’ve seen before, you can choose to add this material to an existing or new event, and you can bring it into the program in full size or large size. Click the Import button, and the files will be imported, ready for you to include in your project.
Before we leave this subject, note that you might have movie clips on your Mac that you’re unaware of. To find these clips, in iMovie’s Event Library click the iPhoto Videos entry. In the course of importing pictures into iPhoto, you may have additionally sucked a few movies off of an old point-and-shoot camera. Any of those clips that reside in iPhoto are also available to you in iMovie, and you can access them just by choosing iPhoto Videos. You can use these items within your projects just as you can any other video clips.
Next week: Building an iMovie project