iMovie Tips about iMovie Supported Formats, Import Videos, Problems and Related Software

Diana Joan

Jul 22, 2015 06:34 am / Posted by Diana Joan

iMovie is a free video editing software application for the Mac and iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iPod Touch). It imports video footage to the Mac using either the FireWire interface on most MiniDV format digital video cameras or the computer’s USB port. It can also import video and photo files from a hard drive. With iMovie, users can edit photos and video clips by adding titles, themes, music, effects with basic color correction, video enhancement and transition tools.

iMovie Tips

Although iMovie is simple to use, it has some great features such as dropping clips on a time line, cropping clips, adding transitions between clips, etc that are included in some professional video editing programs like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. Mac and OS users who want to make better video editing work with iMovie, it is very essential for you to get more tips about iMovie. The article below will give a detailed illustration about iMovie supported videos formats, iMovie video import steps, iMovie editing problems and iMovie beneficial software.

iMovie supported video formats

Import videos to iMovie

iMovie gets corrupted, no sound or audio out of sync problems

iMovie related conversion software

iMovie supported video formats:

QuickTime Movie (.mov)

This file format specifies a multimedia container file containing one or more tracks, each of which stores a particular type of data: audio, video, effects or text for subtitles.

MPEG-4 (.MP4)

Also known as MPEG-4 Part 14 or MP4, a digital multimedia format used to store video and audio, but also store subtitles and still images. If you want a smaller video file size, MPEG-4 will be the best video format for iMovie.


Also known as H.222/H.262 as defined by the ITU, it is the core of most digital television and DVD formats.


Short for Advanced Video Coding High Definition, it is a file-based format for the digital recording and playback of high-definition video.


The format is used for storing digital video recorded on camcorder. Since this format is not compressed, it will be the best video format for iMovie for the best quality.

Tips: The above are the listed common file formats supported by iMovie. However , different version of iMovie on different Mac OS has different capability to import and export file formats. For example, iMovie‘08 on Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 can only input and output MPEG-4 or QuickTime MOV format files, while iMovie‘09 on Mac OS X 10.5/10.6 can perfectly input standard MP4, MOV, DV and even the AVCHD/AVCHD Lite formats.

We can see that it will be a waste of time to find supported file formats for different iMovie version on different Mac operation system. To solve this problem, you can use a video conversion tool such as Pavtube iMedia Converter for Mac to convery any file formats such as AVI, WMV, MKV, MP4, MOV, FLV, MXF, H.265, DVD, Blu-ray, etc to iMovie editable MPEG-4 or QuickTime MOV formats.

Steps to import video files to iMovie

  1. Open iMovie, click “File” > “Import” > “Movie” and then find the file you want from the “Finder” Window.
  2. If a “HD Import Settings” dialog box appears, select the “large” or “full-size” option (Even if you do not import high-definition (HD) video) and then click the “OK” button.
  3. From the “Save to” pop-up menu, select the disk that you want to save your video.
  4. You can choose any supported hard disk connected to the computer. An hour of standard DV format video will take up 13 GB space while one hour of HD video will occupy 40 GB space. Make sure you disk has enough storage space to store the imported video. And free space on each available disk is shown in the pop-up menu in parentheses next to the disk image.
  5. Select the way that you want to organize the imported video in the event repository.
  6. If you want to import the video to an existing Event, select “Add to Existing Event” and then select its name from the pop-up menu.
  7. To create a new event, type event name in the “Create new Event” field.
  8. If your are going to import high definition video, select the file size from the pop-up “Optimized video”, this option will cover the content you have selected in the “HD Import Settings” dialogue box during step 2.
  9. Select how to deal with original files:

Select “Copy files” if you want to copy the original files to iMovie and keep them intact.

Select “Movie files” if you want to copy the original files to iMovie and then remove them.

10. Click “Import” and iMovie will start the video importing process. It will take minutes or hours for iMovie to finish the video importing and thumbnails of clips generating process.

iMovie video editing problems and solution

iMovie keeps crashing

iMovie keeps crashing can be caused by the following 3 main reasons: 1) File codec incompatible: Just download a Mac video conversion application to convert the video to iMovie editable formats such as MPEG-4 or QuickTime MOV. 2) iMovie Cache folder issue: Trash and Cache.plist. Register a new user-account and log into this. Then iMovie will create all pref. And cache files new and error free. 3) iMovie project files get corrupted: Trash corrupted files and add the right ones.

iMovie no sound problems

“iMovie no sound error” is also caused by many reasons such as incompatible file codec, project files are corrupted or incorrect preference settings. Make sure all the setting is right and solve the file corruption and video incompatible problems as the solutions mentioned above.

iMovie audio of sync

To solve audio out of sync problem in iMovie, it is ideal to adjust your video to 16-bit before editing in iMovie. Extract the audio from the video, open iMovie, click “Edit” > “Select All”, then in the right-click dropdown menu, select “detach audio” to sync audio with video manually.

iMovie software

Due to the limited video input support, we can not make full use of iMovie with all the video footage we wish to import and edit with iMovie. Therefore, a powerful iMovie conversion software will be necessary in your video editing workflow with iMovie. Fortunately, there are many iMovie related conversion software on the market, pick the best one by reading this article: Top 8 iMovie Converter for Mac.