Where to store your videos

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Reader Luis Ortiz seeks my opinion about media storage. He writes:

Where is the best place to import and store/organize video? iPhoto or iMovie? And what are the pros and cons to each? Or should I just store video in a separate folder?

In the interest of being vague rather than wrong, I’ll answer this with: It depends.

For example, when using a point-and-shoot camera or pocket camcorder such as a Flip MinoHD or Kodak Zi8, I allow iPhoto to import the videos from these cameras (as it will by default). The reason I do is because the Media Browser found in most iLife and iWork applications includes an iPhoto entry (these movies are found by selecting the iPhoto Videos entry in iMovie’s Event Library pane). Select that entry and you’ll find all the videos that you’ve imported into iPhoto.

It’s rare that I don’t use iMovie to edit something I’ve captured with a pocket camcorder and this makes it convenient to do so. If I put these clips in a different location, I’d have to use iMovie’s Import -> Movies command, which is less convenient.

But then there’s iMovie. iPhoto won’t import video from an HD camcorder or DV camcorder, whereas iMovie will. So, in the case of these larger camcorders, iMovie is the way to go. Once you do that, clips are available to the other iLife and iWork applications via the Movies entry in the Media Browser.

Then again, the Movies tab of the Media Browser also contains an entry for the Movies folder within your user folder. Select it and all the compatible movies within that folder are available to your iLife and iWork applications. The Movies folder as video storage area has an additional advantage. If you make a habit of always dumping your videos into the Movies folder, there’s little chance that you’ll forget where they are.

But then you can also add any folder full of movies you like to each application’s Media Browser simply by selecting the Movies tab and dragging the folder into the window. In this case, it doesn’t matter much where the original folder is stored.

Ah, but wait, don’t forget about iTunes. Using iTunes you can import compatible videos and then file them as Movies, TV Shows, or Music Videos. As a viewing application, iTunes is hard to beat.

So, to sum up my approach:

For importing and storing pocket camcorder and point-and-shoot videos: iPhoto.

For importing and storing HD and DV camcorder videos: iMovie.

For movies you’ve downloaded from the Web or exported from an application such as QuickTime Pro: Movies folder.

For viewing movies: iTunes.

Do you, dear reader, have a different scheme? Voice said scheme by clicking the Comments link.

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