Creating chapters in iTunes-compatible movies

Brad Mogen’s recent missive about adding chapter markers to movies he’s ripped from commercial DVDs makes this Helpful Hint Thursday. Brad writes:

I want to extract my DVD material and do some simple editing in iMovie HD/other. This I can do with MacTheRipper or Handbrake. However, I need to add chapter markers for navigational purposes. Again, no problem in iMovie.

The problem comes when I want to export the movie as an iTunes compatible .m4v movie at 640 x 480 with the chapter markers intact. When I try this the chapter marks disappear. How in the world is this done?

Oddly enough, it’s done in a different iLife application—GarageBand. It’s like this:

If you insist on the movie being 640 x 480 rather than its native resolution you can make that happen by opening the movie in iMovie, selecting that resolution for your project, and exporting a copy in the format of your choosing. If you can live with the native resolution, leave it along and skip iMovie.

Now launch GarageBand and drag your movie into a new GarageBand music project. When you do, GarageBand adds a movie track.

Select that movie track in the timeline and a chapters area appears below. Move the playhead to a place where you’d like to add a chapter, click the Add Marker button at the bottom of the window, and in the Chapter column enter a name for the chapter—Opening, Pie Fight, or Rude Bit, for example. Don’t bother entering a URL title or URL.

When you’ve completely marked up your movie, choose Share -> Send Movie to iTunes. In the sheet that appears you’ll spy a Video Settings pop-up menu that makes it very easy to choose a destination format—Email, Web, Web Streaming, iPod, Apple TV, or Full Quality. Choose the one that’s appropriate—for you that’s likely to be Full Quality as you want to maintain the 640 x 480 dimensions—and click Share to start the export.

When you play the resulting movie in iTunes a Chapter menu will appear. That menu contains all the chapters you added in GarageBand.

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