Importing Video with iMovie

The guide consists of four sections. The first three are specific to the device being used to import the video footage: VCR, DVD, and video camera. Please follow the steps under the device type you are using, then go to the Common Steps section to finish the process. If you need help connecting or importing your media please ask a consultant at the Delp Desk, they will be happy to help you.
  • Choose the device you will use to Import Video

Using a Digital Video Camera (Camcorder)

  • Do not start iMovie program until camera has been properly connected.
  • Attach a charged battery and power cord to the digital camera.
  • After the camera is properly connected, turn it on and set it to VCR mode or Play/Edit Mode (this will depend on your camera), using the power switch on the right side of the camera:

  • Using a firewire (provided at Help Desk) connect the camera to the back of the computer.
  • Go to the Common Steps section.

Using VHS

  • Turn on the TV and make sure that it is on channel 3.
  • Turn on the DVD/VCR and set it to VCR mode by pressing the VCR button on the far right side (depending on the DVD/VCR model):

  • Go to the Common Steps section.

Using a DVD

  • Turn on the TV and make sure that it is on channel 3.
  • Turn on the DVD/VCR and set it to DVD mode by pressing the DVD button on the far right side (depending on the DVD/VCR model):

  • Move to the Common Steps section.

Common Steps

  • After you have set up the equipment depending on the type of material you are importing make sure the equipment is connected to the computer. (Via firewire, etc.)
  • Open iMovie by selecting the iMovie icon in the dock at the bottom of the screen:

  • Do not use the iMovie project that appears at the startup of the program. This is another person’s project! Please select either New Project (or Open Existing Project if you’ve already created one) from the File menu.
  • Make sure you save your new movie to the Data Drive:

  • Open the import window by choosing File > Import from camera or clicking on the Open Camera Import Window button
  • In the bottom left of the window, set the Automatic/Manual switch
  • The Automatic setting will automatically rewind the tape to the beginning and import all of the video on the tape.
  • The Manual setting will give you the rewind, play, stop, and fast forward controls so you can import only the sections of the tape you want.
  • A pop-up window will appear. In the Save to: box, choose the Data drive to save your video to. You can also choose to add the video footage to an existing project, or create a new one. Additionally, you have the option of selecting the After import analyze for: box and pick one of three options: Stabilization and People, Stabilization, and People:

  • Click the Import button.
    • If you chose the Automatic import setting previously, let iMovie import all of the video content.
    • If you chose the Manual import setting previously, click the stop button when the video reaches a point at which you would like to end the clip. You can repeat the process to import additional clips.
NOTE: The video import will take as long as the length of the video recording (if you have a one minute long recording, the import will take one minute, if you have an hour long recording, the import will take an hour, etc.)
  • After import is complete, edit your movie project as desired.
  • You are finished. Be sure to check out the other published Quick Start Guides to learn more multimedia skills.

Written and Published by
Information Technology: Academic Technology Services
Copyright 2011 Elmira College
File name: imovie_vhs_import.doc
Updated: 08-05-11